Pain Words

Pain is complex and words to describe pain are complex too. This page is a list of pain words and other medical words with links to the explanation of each one, so you can look up the meanings which I hope are clearly presented.

If you would like me to explain any particular pain words or phrases, let me know and I’ll add them!


Allodynia (alloh din yah)

Pain resulting from a non-painful stimulus. For example if you feel pain from a draught or from someone touching  you, a stimulus that would not normally be painful.

Central Sensitisation

An increased sensitivity of the nerves in the central nervous system, leading to increased pain levels being transmitted up to the brain. This can occur due to a severe injury or due to changes in the central nervous system from damage , injury or disease (e.g. shingles).


Away from the centre of the body. Usually in comparison with another part. The hand is distal to the elbow.


Inflammation at the bony prominences of the lower humerus (upper arm bone) at both sides of the elbow. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are the names of the conditions resulting from this.


An increased pain response beyond what would be normally expected, usually due to the area being pre-inflamed. An example might be banging your big toe if you have an infected ingrowing toenail already. It’s going to hurt much more than just banging your shoe against something which you don’t mostly even notice.


Away from the midline of the body. Your little toe is lateral to your big toe.


Towards the midline of the body. Your big toe is medial to your little toe.

Neuropathic Pain

Pain due to damage, injury or infection in the central nervous system. Typically this kind of pain is severe and difficult to treat, quite different from “normal pains” like back pain or ankle sprain pain.


Towards the centre of the body. Usually in comparison with another part. The shoulder is proximal to the elbow.


Degenerative changes occurring in the body of a tendon. This is typically related to age or overuse of the tendon from sport or a physical job.


A structure made up of collagen which attaches muscles to bone.


A single spinal bone, can be a cervical vertebra, thoracic vertebra, lumbar vertebra or sacral vertebra. They are the supporting column of the spine.