Glossary of terms

IASP: The International Association for the Study of Pain
Pain: An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.
Acute pain: Pain lasting less than 3 months
Subacute pain: Pain lasting between 6 weeks and 3 months.
Chronic pain: Pain lasting more than 3 months
Referred pain: Pain felt in a part of the body other than its actual source.
Nociception: The neural process of encoding noxious stimuli.
Nociceptor: A high-threshold sensory nerve which fires when exposed to noxious stimuli e.g. heat, extreme cold, changes in inflammatory mediators.
Peripheral sensitization: Increased responsiveness and reduced threshold of nociceptive neurons in the periphery to the stimulation of their receptive fields.
Central sensistization: Increased responsiveness of nociceptive neurons in the central nervous system to their normal or subthreshold afferent input.
Diagnoses: Plural of “diagnosis”
Lower Back Pain (LBP): Pain felt in anywhere from rib 12 down to the gluteal fold. It may be one-sided (unilateral) or on both sides (bilateral). It may or may not involve pain spreading into the lower extremity.
Nerve-compression Sciatica (NCS): Pain and/or pins and needles, with or without muscular weakness in the distribution of the sciatic nerve, related to compression/irritation of the sciatic nerve or one of its tributary spinal nerves.
Non-nerve-compression Sciatica (NNCS): Sciatic symptoms arising without evidence of compression/irritation of the sciatic nerve or one of its tributary spinal nerves.
NICE: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
Sciatica: Pain and/or pins and needles in the distribution of the sciatic nerve; this pain can be caused by referred pain mechanisms (NNCS) or by direct neural irritation (NCS) affecting the sciatic nerve itself, or one of the tributary nerves originating from the lumbosacral plexus of nerves – L4,L5, S1, S2 or S3.