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Medical Glossary - A

  • abnormal illness behaviour
    This has already achieved the acronym AIB and was first described by Powlowski in 1969 as the 'persistence of an inappropriate maladaptive mode of perceiving, evaluating, and acting in relation to one's state of health'. The physical signs were said to include wide spread non-anatomic tenderness and the patients concerned magnified their pain using emotive terms. The abnormal behaviour was thought to be related to the anticipation of financial gain or some form of compensation.

  • acromio-clavicular syndrome
    Injury to, or overuse of, the arm can cause persistent upward displacement of the lateral end of the clavicle with pain, worse during full elevation of the arm.

  • adverse neural tension
    Adverse Neural Tension This is a test often used by physiotherapists to differentiate between pain arising in the nerve roots from that arising in the soft tissues. Specifically it is used to differentiate between pain arising in the cervical nerve roots, and brachial plexus, and pain arising from the muscle bursae and joint capsule in the neck and shoulders.

  • algodystrophy
    See Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

  • algodystrophy
    See Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

  • allodynia
    This is the term given to the hypersensitivity reaction to touch and gentle palpation. The term Allopathia is sometimes used if the hypersensitivity is such as to lead to feelings of burning, electric shocks and excessive pins and needles.

  • anatomical orientation
    To help in the descriptions of an anatomical structure or region of the body certain terms are used that have an agreed interpretation. The Anatomical Position is one in which the person stands upright, feet together, eyes looking forward, arms straight along the side of the body with the palms of the hands directed forwards. The front of the body is called the anterior surface and the back is called the Posterior surface. Ventral and dorsal are also used to describe the front and the back. Higher structures are Superior and lower structures are Inferior. Median structures are in the midline of the body or a limb. Medial means nearer to the midline and Lateral means further away from the midline. A Sagittal plane passes vertically anteroposteriorly through the body and forward movements in this plane are called Flexion and backward movements are Extension. A vertical plane at right angles to the sagittal is called a Coronal plane and movements of joints in this plane are Abduction or away from, and Adduction towards the midline. Rotation can occur in certain joints along a longitudinal axis.

  • anterior interosseous syndrome
    This syndrome is due to pressure over the anterior interosseous nerve in the upper arm and leads to weakness of flexion of the terminal digit of the index finger and thumb demonstrated as loss of normal pinch.

  • arcade of frobse
    This is part of the tendinous/membranous origin of the supinator muscle at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (outer aspect of the elbow). The posterior interosseous nerve (a branch of the radial nerve) passes between the superficial and deep parts of the supinator muscle where it may be trapped causing pain. (See Radial Tunnel Syndrome).

  • arthroplasty
    Plastic surgery of a joint, or the formation of moveable joints.

  • arthroscopy
    Examination of the interior of a joint with an arthroscope.