Facebook Pixel

Pain Control Glossary

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
Rate This

Pain Control Glossary

Back to Table of Contents | ]]>Back to Cancer Center]]>

Acupuncture: Chinese practice of inserting needles into the skin at specific points of the body to relieve pain.

Addiction: psychological or emotional dependence on the effects of a drug.

Analgesics: medicines that are used to relieve pain.

Anesthesiologist: a doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents that prevent or relieve pain.

Antidepressant: a medicine used to treat depression.

Chemotherapy: treatment with anticancer drugs.

Cordotomy: surgery to cut some of the fibers of the spinal cord; used to relieve pain.

Distraction: a pain relief method that takes the attention away from the pain.

Dose: the amount of medicine taken.

Duration of action: the length of time that the effect of a medicine lasts.

Epidural: into the spinal column but outside of the spinal cord.

Frequency: how often medicine is taken.

Hypnosis: a trance-like state in which response to suggestions or commands is increased.

Imagery: a method of pain relief that uses mental images produced by memory or imagination.

Infusion: a method of giving pain medication into a vein or under the skin; unlike an injection, which is pushed in by a syringe, an infusion flows in by gravity. Some continuous infusions are given using a mechanical pump.

Intramuscular (IM): into a muscle.

Intrathecal (IC): into the spinal cord.

Intravenous (IV): into a vein.

Local anesthetic: a drug that blocks nerve conduction in the region where it is applied.

Metastasis: the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.

Narcotic : pain relieving drug related in action and structure to the opiates.

Nerve block: pain relief method in which an anesthetic is injected into a nerve.

Neurosurgeon: a doctor who specializes in operations on the brain, nerves, and spinal cord.

Nonprescription (over the counter) pain relievers: analgesics that can be bought without a doctor's order.

Oncologist: a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer.

Onset of action: the length of time it takes for a medicine to start to work.

Opiate: pain-killing drug chemically related to opium; also called a narcotic.

Pain threshold: the level of pain at which a person becomes aware of it.

Pediatric oncologist: a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer.

Physical therapy: the health profession that treats pain in muscles, nerves, joints, and bones with exercise, electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, and the use of massage, heat, cold, and electrical devices.

Prescription pain relievers: analgesics that can be bought only with a doctor's order.

Radiation therapy: treatment with high energy from x-rays or other sources to kill cancer cells.

Relaxation techniques: methods used to lessen tension, reduce anxiety, and manage pain.

Rhizotomy: incision of nerve roots within the spinal canal.

Side effect: an unintended symptom that results from using a drug.

Skin stimulation: the use of pressure, friction, temperature change, or chemical substances to excite the nerve endings in the skin.

Stage: the extent of disease.

Subcutaneous: under the skin.

Tolerance: decreasing effect of a drug with the same dose or the need to increase the dose to maintain the same effect.

Tranquilizer: a drug used to treat anxiety.


Adapted from National Cancer Institute, 2/00

Last reviewed February 2000 by ]]>EBSCO Publishing Editorial Staff]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.