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Medical Glossary - I

  • iatrogenesis
    'Iatrogenic' refers to the use of drugs and has come to mean that the drugs or treatments used have contributed not to the cure but to the continuing or worsening of the condition. In the 1980s Australian physicians coined the word 'iatrogenesis' believing that the principle cause of the 'epidemic' of 'RSI' in Australia was due to poor diagnosis on the part off the physicians compounded by the wrong treatment, and the perpetuation of the idea of an epidemic supported by ongoing litigation.

  • inappropriate pain syndrome
    This is a condition where the symptoms appear to be out of keeping with the physical findings and although the precipitating activity has stopped the pain persists. This pain is initially due to a physical cause - i.e. long periods of keyboard work - but later a secondary, psychological factor manifests itself there are often good reasons for this. The persons concerned may have lost their jobs, incomes are reduced, they are unable to carry out many mundane, social and domestic activities, and the quality of their life changes for the worse. It is therefore, understandable that under these circumstances psychological problems develop and it is very easy to attribute the individual's problems to psychological causes and to forget the precipitating factor. The inappropriate pain syndrome undoubtedly has a psychological element to it which is difficult to reverse and is the reason why conventional treatment often fails and why pain clinics which practice cognitive therapy, which is a different approach to pain relief, can he successful.

  • intersection syndromes
    This is also known as peritendinitis crepitus. It is often difficult to distinguish from de Quervain's tenovaginitis. It manifests itself as pain, crepitus and swelling in the forearm and tends to be work related in that it comes on when unaccustomed work is carried out, or following the return to work after a period of absence.

  • ischaemia
    Lacking in blood.