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Pain glossary

Acetaminophen:  See Paracetamol.

Active ingredient: Any component of a medicine that is responsible for the medicine’s effect.

Acupressure: The stimulation of points on the body using pressure to relax muscular tension and balance what are thought to be the negative (yin) and positive (yang) forces in the body. Acupressure is part of TCM.

Acupuncture: The stimulation of points on the body using thin metallic needles to relax muscular tension and balance what are thought to be the negative (yin) and positive (yang) forces in the body. Acupuncture is part of TCM.

Acute pain: Short-term pain. Acute pain most often results from disease, inflammation or injury to tissues. It is felt immediately, like after an accident or surgery.

Adjuvant analgesics: These include any medications originally used to treat conditions other than pain, but are now also used to help relieve specific pain problems. Examples include some antidepressantsand anticonvulsants. Some of these drugs have been shown to work well for specific types of pain.

Alternative medicine: Used in place of conventional medicine. For instance, a special diet may be considered as alternative medicine when it is used to treat a disease, instead of taking medicine from a conventional doctor.

Analgesic: Pain reliever or painkiller.

Anticonvulsants: Drugs primarily used for the treatment of seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, but are also used to reduce the severity of neuropathic pain.

Antidepressants: Medications used to treat depression but also being used for pain treatment. These drugs are particularly useful at doses lower than those used to treat depression.

Anxiolytics: Antianxiety medications. These are medications that help with feelings of anxiety and can also be used to manage pain by encouraging muscles to relax, thereby easing the pain.

Arthritis: A disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.

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