Pain Research Glossary


Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST)

Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) is used in clinical trials and research to diagnoe peripheral nervous system disorders, including: chronic pain and pain related to various diseases, such as Diabetes and CRPS.
QST measures the sensation and pain thresholds for cold and warm temperatures, and the vibration sensation threshold by stimulating the skin and comparing the results to normative values.

Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM)

Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM) is used to study the pain inhibition ability of the subject. The purpose is not to inhibit pain per se by applying another pain, but to learn about the inhibition ability. CPM is used to answer the questions “Why does the same disease or injurry cause different levels of pain in differen people?”

Nerve Conduction Test

A Nerve Conduction Test, or Nerve Conduction Study (NCS), measures the speed in which electrical impulses travel through the nerves. It is used to diagnose nerve damage caused by diseases such as Diabetic Neuropathy (See below).

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that is caused by diabetes. This nerve damage can cause debilitating pain in diabetes patients.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy is nerve damage, caused by diabetes and renal disease, that primarily effects the peripheral areas of the body, such as the hands and feet. However, it can effect other areas of the body.

Metabolic Neuropathy

Metabolic Neuopathy is a broad category term for the various types of peripheral neuropathies caused by metabolic diseases, including: diabetes, hypoglycemia, uremia, hypothyroidism, hepatic failure, etc.

Evoked Potentials (EP) Test

The Evoked Potentials (EP) Test is used to diagnose central nervous system disorders through the registration of electrical responses of active brain cells

Cold Evoked Potentials (CEP)

Coled Evoked Potentials (CEP) is a painless and non-invasive testing technique to  assess the loss and recovery of A-delta function.

Functional MRI (fMRI)

Functional MRI (fMRI) is used to measure and produce images of the brain’s responses to diseases, stimulation and injury.

Temporal Summation/Windup

Temporal Summation/Windup is a Central Nervous System (CNS) disorder that causes an increased perception of pain.


CNS stands for Central Nervous System. In the human body the CNS is comprised of the brain and spinal cord.

Central Nervous System Impairment

Central Nervous System (CNS) Impairment is a range of neurological impairments that can indicate the existence of peripheral nerve disease or damage due to injury, illness or toxic exposure.

Contact Heat-Evoked Potential Stimulator (CHEPS)

The Contact Heat-Evoked Potential Stimulator (CHEPS) uses heat to conduct Evoked Potentials (EP) testing for the diagnosis of nervous system disorders.

Algometry Test

An algometry test is used to measure pain. In these tests an Algometer is used to ensure the continuous and even pressure is placed on the testing area.

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain is pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks without diminishing. Chronic pain can be caused by injury, illness, neuropathies, central nervous system disorders, etc.

Thermal Testing

Thermal Testing uses heat stimuli to diagnoe peripheral nerve disease or nerve damage due to injury, illness or toxic exposure.


A Thermode is a device that is attached to the skin to heat or coolk the area for the purpose of measuring nerve response.

Small Fiber

Small fibers refer to small nerve fibers in the body that can become damaged due to various neuropathies and cause pain.

Pain Threshold

An individual’s pain threshold is the limit of their pain tolerance. This is different for every person and involves a number of factors.

Pain Stimulator Systems

Pain Stimulator Systems use heat and cold to evoke pain responses in the nerves in order to measure nerve system responses.

A-Delta & C-Fibers

A-Delta and C-Fibers are small nerve fibers that can be damaged by neuropathies and cause pain.