Dictionary

  1. Acute pain: Acute pain is pain related to injuries or illness. This pain serves as a warning signal for the body to stop the harm. Acute pain gets better and finally goes away when the injury heals, the illness resolves, or the symptoms of a chronic, long-standing disease become controlled.
  2. Chronic pain: Chronic pain is sometimes defined by how long the pain has been present, usually more than three months.  The main feature of chronic pain is that the pain continues even though an acute injury or illness to the body has healed. A chronic disease may be still present, but may not be solely responsible for the intensity of pain someone experiences anymore. Chronic pain is considered a disorder or illness itself when it causes a person to step back from daily life activities such as attending sports or school.
  3. Bio-psycho-social model of pain: The bio-psycho-social model explains the complex interactions between the physical part of our body, the mind, and the environment that influences someone’s pain experience. Biological (bio-) factors are an underlying disease such as arthritis, and factors that determine how the body deals with and processes pain. Psychological (psycho-) factors comprise mood and emotions. Social factors include relationships within someone’s family, with friends, major life events, or daily life stressors such as pressure at school. All factors can have positive or negative effects on pain development, persistence and experience, and pain will arise or become more intense when negative influences outweigh the positive ones.
  4. Family: On this website, please, define “family” as it pertains to one’s personal situation.
  5. Pain: Pain is a sensation that someone feels in a part or parts of the body related to an injury to the body. This sensation is unpleasant. Some people report pain even though they have not experienced an actual injury to their body. This sensation is still to be considered as pain. Because pain is an emotional experience, everybody feels pain differently. You can find further details about how to define pain here.
  6. Palliative Care: Palliative care is a special form of healthcare that becomes necessary when a child has an advanced illness or life-limiting condition. Palliative care and its goals has been defined by the World Health Organization; the definition can be found here.
  7. Procedural pain: Pain caused by procedures. Procedures are treatments or tests to make a diagnosis or treat a disease or injury. Procedural pain is a type of acute pain.
  8. Sensor: A sensor is a device that detects signals. Our body has sensors, also called receptors, that detect touch, pressure, temperature or pain. Pain sensors or receptors are called nociceptors.
  9. Stimulus or Stimuli (plural): A stimulus or trigger is something that causes parts of the body or the body to change activity and therefore to react. For example, you burn your finger on a hot stove. The heat is a stimulus to activate pain sensors. The pain sensors send signals to the spinal cord and the brain. Your body will react immediately: You will pull away your finger from the hot stove, and you will feel the pain.
  10. Terminal: A disease is called “terminal” when it is becomes clear that it will lead to death.
  11. Vital signs: Vital signs or short “vitals” are the key measurements that show the state of the body. There are 4 vital signs: pulse rate, temperature, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Last Updated: December 19, 2018