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pain an unpleasant sensation and an emotional response that alerts the body to harmful injury or inflammation
sensation heat, cold, pressure, or chemical stimulus applied to sensory receptors and nerve endings in the peripheral nervous system
peripheral nervous system a system made up of all nerves outside the brain and spinal cord which is responsible for bringing signals to the central nervous system for interpretation
inflammation the body's response to infection, irritation, or other injury causing redness and swelling
arachidonic acid an essential fatty acid that is necessary for human nutrition and is a precursor to prostaglandin production
cyclooxygenase an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid to prostaglandins
prostaglandin a hormone-like substance that is produced in response to various stimuli; produces pain in most of the body but is protective in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract
pyrogen substance that produces fever
pain receptor a sensory receptor that responds to pain
acute pain a brief and possibly severe attack of pain
physiological response an automatic reaction to a stimulus mediated by biologic processes and manifests in acute symptoms
chronic pain pain that lasts longer than three months and may not be associated with sympathetic manifestations such as acute pain
compensatory response a neutral or counter reaction to a stimulus
somatic pain pain that comes from injury to the body frame, such as to bones and muscles
visceral pain pain that comes from problems with internal organs, such as the kidneys or intestines
neuropathic pain pain that comes from damage to nerve tissue itself
pain cycle acute pain that is triggered by physical or emotional stress in a cyclic manner
sympathetically mediated pain pain associated with nerve overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system
phantom limb pain pain that a patient feels in a limb that is no longer there, such as an amputated leg
mild pain minor pain that can be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics
analgesic drugs that treat pain; pain relievers
moderate to severe pain intense pain that requires prescription medications, many of which are narcotics
narcotic analgesics natural or synthetic drugs that have morphine-like activity; risk of dependence and abuse is inherent
euphoric effect a feeling of well-being or happiness that mimics the natural endorphins the body makes
endorphin a chemical produced in response to pain and stress in order to help the body deal with pain
tolerance a process whereby the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of a drug over time
dependence a condition where the body has gotten used to drug effect, many drugs have this effect; undesirable effects occur upon withdrawl of the drug making stopping therapy difficult; facilitates further use and abuse
physiological dependence a type of dependence that occurs when the body becomes used to the effects of a drug over time and physically adjusts
withdrawal symptoms abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt discontinuation of a drug
psychological dependence a type of dependence related to the euphoric effects and relief that a patient feels when analgesia for legitimate pain occurs
tapering reducing drug doses slowly over time
addiction a compulsive behavioral disorder in which the patient becomes preoccupied with obtaining more drug (often controlled substances, especially opiates or narcotics) that affects normal daily functioning
synergistic drug therapy the cooperative action of two or more drugs
Reye’s syndrome a rare illness that can affect the blood, liver and brain of someone who recently had a viral infection
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) a class of drugs that block pain by inhibiting cyclooxygenase I (COX-1) and II (COX-2) which inhibits prostaglandin production throughout the body
cyclooxygenase-II (COX-2) inhibitors a class of drugs that block the COX-2 enzyme exclusively which inhibits prostaglandins in the perifery of the body, but less so in the GI lining
analgesia the inability to feel pain while still conscious; pain relief
mu and kappa opioid pain receptors receptors located in the brain and various organs that bind opiates or opioid substances
opioid analgesic pain relievers that act on the central nervous system by stimulating opioid receptors
tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) a class of drugs used to treat depression by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake into the presynaptic neuron
headache a pain in the head and sometimes neck and upper back
migraine headache a throbbing, unilateral pain in the head that impacts normal activity of life
aura vision disturbances, including seeing halos, flashing lights, floating spots, or areas of darkness or blurriness
prodrome an early symptom of disease
medication overuse headache a pain in the head that occurs when triptans are used more than six times a month and other analgesics are used three or more times a day for three to five days a week
selective serotonin receptor agonists (triptans) a class of drug used to treat migraines that work by stimulating sertonin receptors to produce vasoconstriction in blood vessels of the head
abortive drug therapy treatment used to stop adverse effects acutely; used to alleviate migraines as they occur or to stop anaphylactic allergic reactions
barbiturates a class of drugs that are considered sometimes to be sedatives/hypnotics or central nervous system depressants; controlled substances that are sometimes used for migraines
preventive drug therapy drugs that are taken daily or at regular intervals to prevent or reduce adverse effects or disease
anesthesia inhibiting sensation and pain during procedures such as surgery
local anesthesia anesthesia that affects only a select part of the body, causing loss of pain, tactile sensation, and temperature sensation
general anesthesia anesthesia that affects the entire body and loss of consciousness occurs
preanesthetic medication a drug used before administration of an anesthetic to reduce anxiety and enhance amnesia
inhaled anesthetic anesthetic medication stored in steel containers as compressed gas or liquid and then inhaled through a face mask
injectable anesthetic anesthetic medication administered via continuous infusion
general anesthetic an agent that produces loss of consciousness
local anesthetic an agent that produces loss of sensation in a defined area of the body
malignant hyperthermia a rare but life-threatening effect of certain general anesthetics where body temperature rises dangerously high
ester short-acting drug molecules metabolized by local tissue fluids
amide longer-acting drug molecules metabolized in the liver
capsaicin a chemical derived from cayenne peppers used as a topical treatment for pain
feverfew a plant product used orally for migraine pain


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