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Medical Glossary - S

  • selerotome
    This describes the segmental localisation of symptoms in the upper and lower limbs. It is used to distinguish the pattern of referred pain from the dermatome of nerve root stimulation. Both sclerotomes and dermatomes have segmental characteristics but sclerotomes are more diffuse and are not associated with the specific sensory and motor disturbances of dermatomes. It may be associated with sweating, pallor and nausea.

  • sensory phenomena
    This refers to sensory symptoms such as numbness and tingling. It is used in the evaluation and diagnosis of neurological disorders.

  • social latrogenesis
    A phrase used in Australia during the 1980s when there was a good deal of criticism of the diagnosis of 'RSI' and it was thought that the discussions in the press and the media generally led to a heightened awareness of the dangers of RSI which in itself led to more cases. It was described as 'propaganda in the pursuit of litigation.'

  • somatic dysfunction
    Some form of disturbance of the central nervous system which is not demonstrable by contemporary scientific investigative techniques. It is thought to be one of the causes of muscle tenderness in referred pain in the upper limbs.

  • speed's test
    A test for biceps tendinitis. Flexion of the elbow against resistance produces pain of the long head of the biceps tendon.

  • speed's test
    A test for biceps tendinitis. Flexing of the elbow against resistance produces pain of the long head of the biceps tendon.

  • sudeck's atrophy
    See: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

  • sudomotor

  • supraspinatus tendinitis
    Pain at the tip of the shoulder due to inflammation of the supraspinatus muscle or degeneration of the tendon fibres. There is often minimal pain when the arm is dependent, but during abduction there is shoulder pain at about 45 degrees which persists through the arch of movement until about 160 degrees at which point the pain lessens or disappears.

  • syndrome
    A group of signs and symptoms which when present together allow the description and naming of a particular disease process.

  • synovial fluid
    The synovial membrane produces a viscid fluid called synovial fluid (synovia) which acts as a lubricant allowing the free movement of the tendon within its sheath or the structures within a joint. Synovial fluid may help to nourish the articular cartilages and is capable of absorbing micro-organisms and the cartilaginous debris which results from ordinary wear and tear.

  • synovial membrane
    The lining of a joint tendon sheath, or bursae. When making a diagnosis of tenosynovitis care must he taken to ensure that this term is used only in the presence of synovium.