Glossary

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into specific body points to improve health and well-being. It originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. American practices of acupuncture use medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea and other countries. In the United States, the best-known type involves putting hair-thin, metallic needles in your skin. Research has shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy. It can also relieve pain. Researchers don't fully understand how acupuncture works. It might aid the activity of your body's pain-killing chemicals. It also might affect how you release chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.

 

Acute pain is pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time.

 

Chronic pain can be described as ongoing or recurrent pain, lasting beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury or more than 3 to 6 months, and which adversely affects the individual’s well-being. A simpler definition for chronic or persistent pain is pain that continues when it should not. (IASP 2004)

 

Comparative effectiveness research is the conduct and synthesis of systematic research comparing different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions. The purpose of this research is to inform patients, providers, and decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances. To provide this information, comparative effectiveness research must assess a comprehensive array of health-related outcomes for diverse patient populations. Defined interventions compared may include medications, procedures, medical and assistive devices and technologies, behavioral change strategies, and delivery system interventions. This research necessitates the development, expansion, and use of a variety of data sources and methods to assess comparative effectiveness.

 

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care. Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy and allied health professionals, such as registered nurses and physical therapists, practice. Alternative medicine means treatments that you use instead of standard ones. Complementary medicine means nonstandard treatments that you use along with standard ones. Examples of CAM therapies are acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicines. The claims that CAM treatment providers make about their benefits can sound promising. However, researchers do not know how safe many CAM treatments are or how well they work. Studies are underway to determine the safety and usefulness of many CAM practices.

 

Dependence (Physical) is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist. In the management of acute pain, physical dependence usually does not develop because of the limited duration of opioid use. Physical dependence is not addiction.

 

Ergonomics looks at what kind of work you do, what tools you use and your whole job environment. The aim is to find the best fit between you and your job conditions.

 

Evidence Based Healthcare is a combination of the best research evidence, clinical experience and the patient desires combined to make the final treatment decisions. 

“What is the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.”

Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality  in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health.   June 2007

 

Pain Medicine is the specialty of Pain Medicine, or Algiatry, is a discipline within the field of medicine that is concerned with the prevention of pain, and the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons in pain. Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy, or may be conditions in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches.  

 

Patient Rights: As a patient, you have certain rights. Some are guaranteed by federal law, such as the right to get a copy of your medical records, and the right to keep them private. Many states have additional laws protecting patients, and healthcare facilities often have a patient bill of rights.  An important patient right is informed consent. This means that if you need a treatment, your health care provider should give you the information you need to make a decision.

 

TENS - Acronym for "transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation". A TENS unit is a small battery powered device with wires that attach to electrodes pasted to the skin. Small electrical stimuli are applied to the skin in order to "tie up" nerve pathways that carry pain messages. This interferes with the transmission of pain messages to the brain, and can be helpful in certain chronic pain problems.(HealingWell.com) 

 

Tolerance is a phenomenon or adaptation of the body over a period of time in which one or more effects of a drug become less with repeated use at the same dose (many patients call this becoming “immune” to the drug). For example, a person might feel drugged after the first pain pill; but with continued use, a person might require several pills to feel anything. With analgesics, the concern is that the individual will build up tolerance to the drug and therefore require more medication to achieve results. Unfortunately, in many cases, increasing doses of medications may lead to increased or unacceptable side effects. Analgesic tolerance is not addiction.

 

Trigger Points knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body. (WebMD)

Development of this new ACPA web site was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Medtronic Foundation and Purdue Pharma.

Medtronic Foundation and Purdue have no influence on the editorial content of the site. Ongoing funding also comes from memberships/donations from a range of individual contributors.

Last Updated: 12/13/2016
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