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algesi-, alge-, alges-, algesio-, algo-, alg-, algio-, -algesia,
-algesic, -algetic, -algic, -algia, -algy
(Greek: pain, sense of pain; painful; hurting).

Used actively in medical terminology to denote “a condition of sensitivity to pain” as specified by the combining root.

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“Though familiar to us all, pain is mercifully difficult to remember once it has passed (if it were not, it has been observed, every family would have but one child). Doctors refer to the short-lived suffering of childbirth or surgery or even a toothache as ‘acute pain’; it is terrible at the time, but ultimately it passes. For untold millions, however, pain does not pass. It sings on through the night, month after month, overwhelming sleep, stifling pleasure, shrinking experience, until there is nothing but pain. This is chronic pain, and its sufferers are legion: there are more than 36 million arthritics in the U.S.; there are 70 million with agonizing back pain; about 20 million who suffer from blinding migraines; millions more who are racked by diseases like sciatica and gout. Most feared of all, the pain associated with cancer afflicts some 800,000 Americans and 18 million people world wide.”

“Pain, said Albert Schweitzer, ‘is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death himself.’ ”

—From the June 11, 1984, issue of Time in a cover-story article titled,
“Unlocking Pain’s Secrets”.

1. A throbbing and burning pain in the skin often caused by exertion or heat, affecting the hands and feet, accompanied by a dusky mottled redness of the parts with increased skin temperature.
2. A rare disorder of middle age, characterized by attacks of severe burning pain, reddening, hyperalgesia and sweating, involving one or more extremities, usually both feet; the attacks can be triggered by warmth, and are usually relieved by cold and limb elevation.
Painful inflammation of the bones of the hands and feet.
A glandular pain; a painful swelling in a gland.
A condition in which painful areas of subcutaneous fat develop.
1. Toothache experienced at lowered atmospheric pressures, as in aircraft flight or in a decompression chamber, caused by the expansion of air in the maxillary sinuses.
2. Dental pain caused by either increased or reduced atmospheric pressure.
algedonic, algedonia:
Characterized by or relating to pleasure and pain, or the agreeable and the disagreeable.
The sense of pain; sensitiveness to pain.
1. Painful; related to or causing pain.
2. Relating to hypersensitivity to pain; also, algetic.
An instrument for recording the time required for the perception of a painful stimulus.
An instrument used in measuring the sensitiveness to pain as produced by pricking with a sharp point or an apparatus for determining the sensitiveness of the skin.
The measurement of sensitiveness to pain.
Producing pain.
In physiology, a pain receptor, usually a bare nerve ending without any organized end organ. Also, nociceptor.
An instrument for measuring the degree of sensitivity to a painful stimulus; also, algesimeter, algometer, odynometer.
The sensibility to pain or the perception of pain; any painful sensation.
The perception of pain; any painful sensation.
Painful; causing or pertaining to pain.
Not related to Greek algein, “to feel pain”. It means “cold, chilly;” from Latin algere, “to be cold”.
Painful urination.
Producing painful movements, such as spasm or dysperistalsis.
Causing painful muscular movements.
algiovascular, algovascular:
Pertaining to vascular action resulting from painful stimulation.
A combination of pain and dystrophic changes in bone.
algogenesia, algogenesis:
The causation or production of pain.
Causing or producing pain.
algolagnia, algolagnistic:
1. The feeling of pleasure in causing or suffering pain.
2. Any psychosexual disorder in which physical or mental pain is an essential part; it may be active (sadism) or passive (masochism).
3. Any psychosexual disorder associated with the derivation of pleasure from experiencing or inflicting physical or psychological pain.
One who specializes in the study of pain (algology).
The discipline that deals with the study of pain.
algometer, algesimeter:
An instrument that purports to measure sensitiveness to pain in terms of amount of pressure exerted on the skin by a blunt instrument.
algometry, algometric:
The measurement of sensitivity to painful stimuli, as with an algometer.
algophily, algophilia:
1. A fondness for pain; synonymous with masochism (deriving sexual pleasure from being treated cruelly).
2. Deriving pleasure when suffering pain.
A morbid, exaggerated, irrational, or excessive fear of pain.
Painful spasm or cramp.
alveoalgia, alveolalgia:
A postoperative complication of tooth extraction in which the blood clot in the socket disintegrates, resulting in focal osteomyelitis and severe pain.
A technique by which all pain and memory of a potentially painful procedure are abolished, involving the use of drugs or, for minor procedures, hypnosis.
analgesia, alganesthesia:
1. Absence of the sensibility to pain; absence of pain even with noxious stimulation (hurtful, pernicious, not wholesome); designating particularly the relief of pain without loss of consciousness.
2. A neurologic or pharmacologic state in which painful stimuli are so moderated that, though still perceived, they are no longer painful.
analgesic, analgetic:
1. Relieving pain; an agent that alleviates pain without causing loss of consciousness.
2. A compound capable of producing analgesia, i.e., one that relieves pain by altering perception of pain stimuli without producing anesthesia or loss of consciousness; also, analgetic.
3. Characterized by reduced response to painful stimuli; also, antalgic.
A device for causing painful stimuli in order to measure pain under experimental conditions.
Absence of sensibility to pain.
Insensible to pain.
A rarely used term for lowering a previous elevation in pain threshold.
Pain assumed to be due to aneurysm or other pathologic conditions of the aorta.
1. Pain induced by objects having a symbolic meaning or significance.
2. A rare type of psychogenic pain disorder in which pain appears on contact with a substance that has some special significance for the subject; such as certain metals, liquids, or textures.
Wanderlust; longing to get away from home or to travel; a painful desire to get away. The opposite of nostalgia.
Obsolete term for pain in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen in the region of the vermiform appendix.
Severe pain in a joint, especially one not inflammatory in character; also, arthrodynia.
Use of music or sound delivered through earphones to mask pain during dental or surgical procedures.

Beyond the pleasures and assurances of touch, there is always the looming possibility of pain. As a survival mechanism, pain warns our brains of danger and tells us to act to correct or avoid the cause.

Pain receptors, free nerve endings, are spread over a larger area than any of the other sensory receptors. They completely ignore light contact, and only fire up if the stimuli threaten to damage the tissue. There are more pain receptors in the skin than other types of skin sensors, but they are not evenly distributed. For example, the neck and eyelids are densely covered, but there are few receptors on the sole of the feet and on the ball of the thumb, which is why the needle prick for a blood sample is often done on the thumb.

—Neil McAleer, The Body Almanac

Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other.
—Laurence Sterne

Sometimes pain doesn’t always warn us of danger. It comes too late for us to avoid a bad sunburn, and a tumor in the brain can grow unnoticed because the tissues within our skulls have no pain receptors.
—Neil McAleer in The Body Almanac
1. An uneasy or painful sensation in the anterior (front) chest or upper abdomen; heartburn; cardiodynia.
2. An obsolete term for pyrosis.
3. Pain in the chest in the region of the heart.
1. Persistent severe burning sensations, usually following partial injury of a peripheral nerve (especially median and tibial) or the brachial plexus, accompanied by trophic changes.
2. Sensation of burning pain in the distribution of a peripheral nerve, associated with glossy skin devoid of hair or wrinkles. Other associated changes include swelling, redness, sweating, and curling of the nails. Causalgia is usually due to irritation of a nerve by injury; the median or sciatic nerves are most commonly involved.
Rarely used term for pain in the abdominal muscles.
A headache.
A headache.
cheilalgia, chilalgia:
A pain in the lip.
cheirobrachialgia, chirobrachialgia:
Pain and paresthesia in the hand and arm; considered obsolete.
cheiropodalgia, chiropodalgia:
Pain in a hand or in both hands.
chondralgia, chondrodynia:
Pain in a cartilage.
Pain in a muscle when it is brought into action.
Pain in the clitoris.
coccyalgia, coccygalgia:
Pain in part of the spine. Also, coccygodynia.
Pain in the colon.
Pain in the ribs.
1. Pain in the hip .
2. Hip-joint disease.
Pain caused by cold; also, crymodynia.
Pain in a bladder, especially the urinary bladder.
Pain in a lacrimal gland.
Pain in the fingers. Also, dactylodynia.
A toothache.
Dentinal sensitivity or pain. Dentin is the hard portion of the tooth surrounding the pulp, covered by enamel on the crown and cementum of the root.
dermatalgia, dermalgia:
Localized pain, usually confined to the skin; also, dermatodynia.
A rarely used term for a pain in the diaphragm.
Pain in the upper back. Also, dorsodynia.
Analgesia induced by using an electric current.
A headache.
Severe abdominal pain accompanying spasm of the bowel; also, enterdynia, enterodynia.
Intestinal pain.
eparsalgia, epersalgia:
Pain and soreness from overuse or unaccustomed use of a part, as a joint or muscle.
Pain in an epicondyle of the humerus or in the tendons or muscles originating therefrom.
Pain in the epigastric region.
erythralgia, rodonalgia:
Painful redness of the skin; also, erythromelalgia.
erythromelalgia, erythermalgia:
1. Throbbing and burning pain in the skin often brought about by exertion or heat, affecting the hands and feet, accompanied by a mottled redness of the parts with increased skin temperature.
2. A rare disorder of middle age, characterized by paroxysmal attacks of severe burning pain, reddening, hyperalgesia and sweating, involving one or more extremities, usually both feet; the attacks can be triggered by heat, and are usually relieved by cold and limb elevation.
A disorder similar to erythromelalgia, but with the pain and redness occurring in the face.
A rarely used term for pain in the esophagus. Also, esophagodynia
Pain caused by elimination of large and hard fecal masses.
Stomach ache; neuralgia of the stomach.
Pain in the tongue; neuralgia of the tongue.
Pain in the knee.
1. Pain or an extremely disagreeable sensation caused by the merest touch.
2. Pain felt by the mere touching of something or by being touched lightly.
Pain affecting one entire half of the body.
Analgesia affecting one side of the body.
The unilateral headache characteristic of typical migraine; also, hemicrania.
Hypalgesia affecting one side of the body.
Pain in one eye, usually accompanied by hemicrania.
Pain caused by moisture or humid weather.
Decreased sensibility to pain; also, hypalgia, hypoalgesia.
hypalgesic, hypalgetic:
Relating to hypalgesia; having diminished sensitiveness to pain.
Decreased sensibility to pain.
Extreme sensitiveness to pain.
Extreme sensitiveness to painful stimuli; also, hyperalgia.
hyperalgesic, hyperalgetic:
Relating to hyperalgesia.
1. Extreme pain caused by cold.
2. An increased feeling of pain when exposed to cold.
Extreme sensitiveness to heat; thermalgia.
Pain occurring during sleep; also known as “dream pain”.
A decreased sensitivity to pain.
A decreased feeling of pain when exposed to cold.
Pain in the uterus; also, hysterodynia, metrodynia; neuralgia of the uterus.
Pain in the groin; also, inguinodynia.
Pain between the ribs.
1. Pain in the hip; specifically, the ischium; also, ischiodynia.
2. A rarely used term for sciatica; also known as: ischioneuralgia.
Pain caused by muscular movement; also, kinesialgia.
Pain in the breast.
Breast pain; also, mastodynia; neuralgia of the breast.
Opium withdrawal pains in an addict.
Very severe pain.
Pain in a limb or limbs; specifically, burning pain in the feet extending up the leg and even to the thigh.
Pain in the lower limbs.
Painful menstruation; also, dysmenorrhea.
Pain in the thigh; specifically, meralgia paresthetica.
Pain in the forefoot in the region of the heads of the metatarsals.
Pain along the course of one nerve.
myalgia, myalgic:
1. A morbid condition of a muscle, characterized by pain and tenderness; muscular rheumatism.
2. Muscular pain; also, myodynia, myoneuralgia, myosalgia.

The prevalence of pain disorder is twice as high in women as in men; peak of onset is in the fourth and fifth decades.

The most common sites of pain are the low back, head, face, and pelvis. It is estimated that low back pain disables seven million Americans and accounts for more than eight million physician office visits each year.

—Robert J. Campbell, Psychiatric Dictionary
Seventh Edition, Oxford University Press, 1996

Man endures pain as an undeserved punishment; woman accepts it as a natural heritage.

Nothing begins, and nothing ends,
That is not paid with moan;
For we are born in others’ pain,
And perish in our own.
—Francis Thompson

The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body.

Painful coitus of newlyweds, especially of the female partner.
Pain in the kidneys.
Pain of a severe, throbbing, or stabbing character in the course or distribution of one or more nerves (especially of the head or face); also, neurodynia.
nostalgia, nostalgic:
The pain of longing to return home, to a former time in one’s life, or to familiar people and surroundings; severe home sickness.
Pain in the back without inflammatory symptoms; also, dorsalgia.
1. Denoting especially the pains of syphilis that occur at night; also known as, “night pain”.
2. Pain occurring mainly at night or during sleep.
An aching tooth; toothache.
Facial neuralgia caused by a carious tooth.
Pain in the shoulder; usually, rheumatism in the shoulder.
Pain in the shoulder joint.
Pain felt during rainy weather.
Pain in the finger and/or toe nails.
Pain in the ovaries.
Pain in the eye or eyes; also, oculodynia.
Pain in the testis; also, orchiodynia, orchioneuralgia, and testalgia.
Pain in the testis; also, orchialgia.
ostealgia, ostalgia, ostalgy:
Pain in a bone or in the bones; also, osteodynia.
An earache; neuralgic pain in the ear.
Earache of neuralgic origin, not caused by inflammation.
ovarialgia, ovaralgia:
Pain in an ovary; also, oophoralgia.
Pain involving the entire body.
Any disorder or abnormality of the sense of pain.
Abnormal or unusual pain.
Analgesia of the lower half of the body.
A painful condition involving the patella (a bone at the front of the knee).
Pain in the chest.
Pain in the foot or feet.
Neuralgic pain in the foot or neuralgia in the sole of the foot.
Pain in the sole of the foot or feet.
perialgia, perialgy, perialgic:
Excessive pain.
phallalgia, phallalgic:
Pain in the penis. Also phallodynia.
pharyngalgia, pharyngalgy, pharyngalgic:
Pain in the pharynx (throat).
Pain originating in a vein.
Light-induced pain, especially of the eyes; also, photodynia.
1. An acute mental distress; psychalgia, melancholia.
2. Pain in the diaphragm.
A painful condition of the sole of the foot.
pleuralgia, pleuralgic:
Pain in the pleura (membrane of the lungs and thoracic cavity) or in the side. Also, pleurodynia.
Pain in the lungs.
podalgia, pedionalgia, pedioneuralgia:
Pain in the foot; also, pododynia, tarsalgia. Such foot pains may be a result of gout or rheumtism, among other causes.
Pain in several muscle groups simultaneously.
Neuralgia of several nerves simultaneously.
Pain at the anus, or in the rectum; also, proctodynia, rectalgia.
prosopalgia, prosopalgic, prosoponeuralgia:
Trigeminal neuralgia (cranial nerve).
Pain in the area of the prostrate gland.
1. Distress attending a mental effort, noted especially in melancholia; also, algopsychalia, mind pain; and phrenalgia, psychalgalia, soul pain.
2. Discomfort or pain, usually in the head, which accompanies mental activity (obsessions, hallucinations, etc.), and is recognized by the patient as being emotional in origin. Psychalgia is also used to refer to any psychogenic pain disorder.
psychroalgia, psychralgie:
1. A painful subjective sensation of cold.
2. A morbid state characterized by painful subjective sensations of cold.
Pain in the heel.
Pain caused by or resulting from some emotional origin.
Pain arising from dental pulp.
Pain in the buttocks.
Pain in the vertebral column or spine.
Neuralgia due to irritation of the sensory root of a spinal nerve.
Rheumatic pain.
Pain in the nose; also, rhinodynia.
Pain in the sacrum (triangular bone just below the lumbar vertebrae).
Pain in the scapular region (the flat, triangular bone in the back of the shoulder; shoulder blade).
scelalgia, skelalgia, scelalgy:
Pain in the leg; neuralgia in the leg.
1. Pain in the body or bodily pain or suffering.
2. Pain due to organic causes, as opposed to psychogenic pain or pain due to psychical causes.
Pain in a vertebra of the spine.
Pain in a sphincter muscle, as of the anus. A sphincter is to a ringlike band of muscle fibers that constricts a passage or closes a natural orifice.
Neuralgic pain in the spleen.
Pain in the spine.
1. Pain in the sternum (bones in the front part of the chest).
2. Angina pectoris.
Pain in the chest.
Stomach ache.
Pain in the mouth; also, stomatodynia.
Pain in the subcostal region (beneath a rib).
synalgia, synalgic:
1. Pain experienced in one place as the result of a lesion in another part of the body.
2. Sympathetic pain in one part of the body caused by injury in another part.
A condition in which a stimulus produces pain on the affected side but no sensation, not even a pleasant one, on the normal side of the body.
Pain in the ankle.
Pain in the tarsus or in the instep of the foot, or the ankle and the foot.
Referred pain: pain from deep structures perceived as arising from a surface area remote from its actual origin.
Pain referred to a tendon; also, tenodynia, tenontodynia.
Pain in the testes.
High sensibility to heat; pain caused by a slight degree of heat; also, thermoalgesia.
Burning pain; also, causalgia.
Loss of temperature sense or of the ability to distinguish between heat and cold; insensibility to heat or to temperature changes.
Pain caused by a slight degree of heat.
Insensibility to heat or to temperature changes.
1. Diminished pain to heat stimuli including high temeratures.
2. A decreased feeling of pain when exposed to heat.
An excessive sensitivity to the slightest degree of heat; also, thermalgesia.
Pain in the chest.
Pain in the shin.
1. Pain localized in one spot; a symptom occurring in neuroses whereby localized pain, without evident organic basis, is experienced.
2. Localized pain occurring in neurotic subjects.
Pain in the trachea.
Pain produced when hair is touched; also, trichodynia.
Pain in the gums (gingiva) or in the mucous membrane, with the supporting fibrous tissue, that overlies the crowns of normal teeth and holds the teeth in place. Also, gingivalgia.
Pain in the ureter (the tube that conveys the urine from the kidney to the bladder).
Pain in the urethra (the canal that conveys urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body); also, urethrodynia.
Pain in the viscera or in any bodily organ. The viscera is any large interior organ in any one of the three great cavities of the body, especially in the abdomen.
Pain of a neuralgic character, in the region of the xiphoid cartilage (the cartilage at the lower end of the sternum); also, xiphodynia.

The greatest of all perplexities in theology has been to reconcile the infinite goodness of God with his omnipotence. Nothing puts a greater strain upon the faith of the common man than the existence of utterly irrational suffering in the universe.

—Walter Lippmann

As a fever indicates that the body is fighting infection, pain has its purpose in reporting injury or internal problems. Unfortunately, pain is not a reliable indicator, and it is of limited help to a physician in forming an accurate diagnosis.

The perception of a pain’s very source may be incorrect. The tooth that one points out as the one that hurts may not be the one that’s abscessed. That pain in a person’s arm may not be caused by a strain or injury to that area but could be the result of a problem in his/her heart or other organ. These are examples of a phenomenon known as referred pain.

—Neil McAleer in The Body Almanac;
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1985; page 92.

A standard test of pain response involves applying heat to the skin, and most of us perceive pain when the skin reaches an average critical temperature of 113 degrees F (45 degrees C), and everyone, with the exception of people with serious sensory dysfunction, perceives pain before his or her skin reaches a temperature of 116.6 degrees F (47 degrees C).

Even though there are three to four times fewer heat receptors than cold receptors in the human skin, freezing cold and burning hot sensation are both experienced exactly the same. Indeed, at 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) both the cold and heat pain nerve endings are stimulated, and after a point, there is no reason to make fine distinctions—all the brain has to know is that it is very painful!

—Neil McAleer in The Body Almanac;
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1985; page 60.


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