Glossary C


C fibers

Unmyelinated nociceptor neurons that are associated with a prolonged burning sensation and dull aching pain. They are responsible for the secondary pain sensation that follows brief, intense heat stimulation to the skin.

Central pain

Pain caused by lesions or dysfunction of the central nervous system, within the spinal cord or brain, and commonly described as burning, aching, darting, piercing, pricking, lacerating or pressing. Central pain can occur after cerebral vascular accidents and is also seen in association with traumatic spinal cord and brain injury, and multiple sclerosis.

Chronic pain

Pain associated with a demonstrable progressive pathologic process, such as rheumatoid arthritis or malignancy, or pain that is present long after an injury has healed. Pain can be described as chronic when it exists for longer than 3 to 6 months.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

An approach to the management of chronic pain that considers how the person relates to their pain and addresses the patient’s understanding of their painful condition. The treatment focuses on understanding the person’s thoughts about their condition and modifying any abnormal beliefs and misconceptions.

Complementary medicine

Treatments that fall outside the standard medical approaches; those applied for pain management may include acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic care, tai chi and yoga.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

CRPS encompasses a range of painful conditions, which usually occur after injury. It is usually confined to the extremities, although may occur in low back pain. The magnitude and duration of symptoms appear to be out of proportion to the event that caused the injury, and range from mild swelling with trophic changes in the skin, to gross swelling and deformity necessitating amputation.