Jonathan Aarons M.D.

Tired of Chronic Pain?

Pain Management Glossary


  • Addiction – A compulsive use of a substance, even though the substance does harm
  • Allodynia – Pain that occurs after a stimulus that is usually not painful, such as touching of the skin lightly.
  • Chronic Pain – Pain that lasts beyond the expected time of healing to occur after an injury.
  • Coccydynia – Pain in and around the tailbone. This is usually precipitated by an injury to the area. It can be treated by conservative modalities including heat, physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Refractory pain can be treated by fluoroscopically targeted injections
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or RSD – A chronic, painful syndrome that includes a constellation of symptoms which may occur after an injury. These symptoms include: burning pain, swelling, sensitivity of the skin, limitation of motion, changes in temperature of skin, alterations in hair or nail growth. Treatment may include medications, physical therapy and sympathetic nerve blocks.
  • Dependence – A condition where the withdrawal of a medication causes an adverse effect
  • Dysesthesia – An abnormally unpleasant sensation
  • Entrapment Neuropathy – A syndrome of pain, tingling, numbness and abnormal sensation caused by compression of a nerve. This may occur 1) after surgery, due to scarring, 2) naturally as a consequence of disease (i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome, etc), 3) as a consequence of positioning or tight-fitting clothes.
  • Epidural Steroid Injection – An injection of a potent anti-inflammatory (steroid) adjacent to the covering of the spinal cord to allow the medication to access the nerve root. This is useful in cases of back pain due to spinal stenosis, herniated and bulging discs and other causes of lumbar radiculopathy. These injections are usually done by pain management professionals under fluoroscopic guidance.
  • Facet Injections – An injection into the joints that connect one vertebral body to another. These joints can be a source of neck pain and back pain aside from herniated and bulging discs.
  • Herniated or Bulging Disc – An intervertebral disc is a circular cushion that sits in between bony vertebral bodies in the spine. Over time, these discs can bulge and cause compression or inflammation of spinal nerves leading to pain.
  • Hyperalgesia – Excessive sensitivity to pain
  • Hyperpathia – An exaggerated response to a painful stimulus
  • Interventional Pain Management – The use of targeted injections of therapeutic medications to control pain at the source. This usually involves nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, facet blocks and sympathetic blocks to reduce inflammation and swelling at the site of injury.
  • Myofascial Pain – A painful syndrome of abnormally painful and tight muscles. This pain can occur anywhere in the body. It is characterized by trigger points, in which pressure over the muscles may be referred to sites distal to the original site of injury. Myofascial pain is treated by a combination of medications, physical therapy and injections.
  • Narcotic – A pain relieving substance derived from opium
  • Neuropathic Pain – Pain caused by injury to a nerve.
  • NSAID – A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, usually obtainable over the counter, which is used to relieve pain. These drugs include motrin (ibuprofen), naprosyn (naproxen) and other. Side effects include gastric irritation, increased risk of bleeding and kidney dysfunction.
  • Opioid – A synthetic compound that has pain relieving properties similar to morphine and opium but not derived from opium
  • Pain Management – The use of multiple modalities to treat chronic pain. This may include medications, injections, nerve blocks, physical therapy and psychological techniques.
  • Tolerance – A condition where the body becomes less responsive to the effect of a medication over time