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Glossary of Terms

Fibromyalgia: A syndrome in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in their joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.

Herniated Disc: When a disc between the vertebrae of the spine becomes damaged, bulged or breaks open.

Ischemic Limb Disease: A restriction of the blood supply to the extremities that generally results in damage of the tissue.

Neuropathy, Neuropathic Pain: Pain initiated or caused by a lesion or dysfunction of the nervous system. It is often characterized by numbness, burning, or a “pins and needles” sensation.

Persistent Pain: A painful experience that continues for a long period of time. It may or may not be associated with a recognizable disease process.

Post-herpetic Neuralgia: (PHN) is a painful condition that affects nerve fibers and skin. It often results as a complication from Shingles.

Radiculopathy: A problem in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly causing pain, weakness, or numbness.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:  A painful nerve problem that often occurs in a hand or foot that has been injured. Also known as Reflex Sympathetic Syndrome (RSD).

Reynaud Syndrome: A disorder causing discoloration of the toes, fingers and sometimes other areas of the body. It is believed to be the result of blood vessel spasms that cause decreased blood supply to the respective regions. Emotional stress and cold are classic triggers of this syndrome.

Sacroiliitis: An inflammation of the sacroiliac joint (a joint in the pelvis).

Spinal Stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column.

Addiction:  A compulsive desire to use a drug or substance despite continued harm.

Tolerance:  The loss of effect of a pharmacologic agent after a prolonged period of use, or the need to increase the dose of an agent to maintain the same effect.

Advanced Practice Nurse: An RN with a minimum of a masters degree who practices at an advanced level.  His or her role may include but is not limited to completing an assessment, ordering diagnostic tests, and ordering and evlauating medications and their effectiveness.  Advanced practice nurses work under the direction of a collaborating physician.