Answers FAQ

Pain FAQs

Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

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Q:Medically speaking, the term "myalgia" refers to what type of pain?

A:Muscle pain. The term "myalgia" refers to muscle pain.

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Q:Pain in an area where a limb has been amputated is referred to as what?

A:Phantom pain. Phantom limb pain is mild to extreme pain felt in the area where a limb has been amputated. Nerve endings at the site of the amputation continue to send pain signals to the brain, causing the brain to react to the pain as though the limb is still attached.

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Q:Pain relievers work by calming irritated nerves. True or False?

A:False. Pain relievers interfere with brain's processing of pain by affecting the way it transmits pain messages.

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Q:What causes us to feel pain?

A:Nerve endings and The brain. Within the body, the brain and nerves constantly communicate with each other. Nerves and the brain communicate everything about what's happening inside the body such as hunger, involuntary functions such as breathing, and involuntary responses such as pain. When your body is in pain, nerves and the brain communicate details of the pain such as where the pain is located and how much it hurts. The pain we feel is the result of such a communication exchange between our brains and nerves.

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Q:The terms "arthralgia" and "neuralgia" refer to pain located where?

A:Joints and nerves. The terms "arthralgia" and "neuralgia" refer to pain located in the joints and nerves respectively.

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Q:Does the brain feel pain?

A:No. Although your nerve endings can sense pain and send signals to your brain to tell you that something may be wrong, your brain itself cannot feel pain.

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Q:The shoulder is the most common site of joint pain. True or False?

A:False. Knees top the joint pain list, followed by the shoulder, fingers, and hips!

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Q:The kind of pain that is resistant to medical treatments is called what?

A:Chronic. Chronic pain describes pain that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.

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Q:The word "pain" comes from the Latin "poena" meaning what?

A:Penalty. The word "pain" comes from the Latin "poena" meaning a fine, a penalty.

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Q:The medical community measures pain on a scale of what?

A:Zero to 10. The medical community measures pain on a scale of zero to 10. Using this scale helps health care providers assess and treat pain. On this scale, zero means no pain is felt at all, while 10 on the scale indicates that the patient is in the worst possible pain. This scale is used both before and after treatment so that health care providers can administer the most effective pain relief

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Q:The pain reliever morphine is derived from which substance?

A:Opium. Morphine, a highly effective pain reliever, is the main alkaloid found in opium, which is derived from the poppy plant. The name "morphine" is derived from the name "Morpheus," who was the mythological son of sleep and god of dreams. The street drug heroin is derived from morphine and also affects the area of the brain that perceives pain.

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Q:Narcotic medications are used to induce stupor. True or False?

A:True. The term "narcotic" is derived from the Greek word narkotikon, which means "to make numb." Medically speaking, narcotics refer to a variety of substances that seek to alleviate pain by dulling the senses. In addition to their pain-relieving qualities, narcotics are also used as cough suppressants, anti-diarrheal medications, and to induce anesthesia. Unfortunately, a person can become physiologically dependent on narcotics, which may lead to narcotic addiction.

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Q:If you are in a state of analgesia, you are what?

A:Unable to feel pain. Analgesia describes the inability of a person to feel pain while in an awakened state. Analgesia is derived from the Greek language an-, without + algesis, sense of pain.

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