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Pain glossary

Neuropathic pain: A type of pain that can result from injury to nerves. Neuropathic pain can occur in any part of the body and is frequently described as a hot, burning sensation. It can result from diseases that affect nerves (such as diabetes), from trauma or from the effects of cancer treatment. Examples of neuropathic pain conditions include diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage from problems that occur with diabetes), phantom limb and postherpetic neuralgia (which can occur after an outbreak of shingles).

Neurotransmitter: A chemical produced by nerve cells and used to communicate with other cells, including other nerve cells and muscle cells.

Nociceptive pain: Pain felt as a result of injurious or noxious stimuli. Nociceptive pain serves as an early warning, detecting and protecting the body from damaging or toxic elements. This is the kind of pain felt after touching something too hot, cold or sharp.

Nociceptor: A type of receptor that responds to painful stimuli. Nociceptors are thin nerve fibers in the skin, muscle, and other body tissues, that, when stimulated, carry pain signals to the spinal cord and brain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): A family of pain relievers that lessen the sensation of pain and reduce inflammation. NSAIDs are widely prescribed and sometimes called non-narcotic or non-opioid analgesics. NSAIDs are effective against mild to moderate pain, and are important for the management of both acute and chronic pain. Many of these drugs irritate the stomach and for that reason are usually taken with food. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib.