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Massage Therapy Terminology & Glossary



P

 

  Info Link
PA-PAQ
 
Pachy-
Heavy; thick  
Packaging
Preparing the victim for transfer from the vehicle to the ambulance.  
Paging
The use of a radio signal and a voice or digital message that is transmitted to pagers ("beepers") or desktop monitor radios.  
-Pagus
Conjoined twins  
Pain
An unpleasant sensation. Pain is a complex, private experience with physiologic, psychologic, and social aspects. Because pain is subjective, it is often difficult to explain or describe.  
Palat/o
Palate  
Palate
Roof of the mouth.  
Pale/o
Old  
Pali-
Recurrence, repetition  
Palliat/o
To soothe; relieve  
Palmar
Toward the palm; the forward facing part of the hand in the anatomic position.  
Palmar grasp
An infant reflex that occurs when something is placed in the infant's palm; the infant grasps the object.  
Palpable
Touchable, accessible.  
Palp/o, Palpat/o
To touch gently  
Palpate
To examine or explore by touching (organ or area of the body), usually as a diagnostic aid; to examine by touch.  
Palpation
Examination by touch.  
Palpebr/o
Eyelid  
Palpit/o
Flutter; throbbing  
Pan-
All  
Panadol (Rx)
Brand names; Anacin, Feverall, Panadol, and Tylenol. Generic name; Acetaminophen. Classified as a Nonopioid pain reliever. It reduces fever and is a mild analgesic used in the treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), frozen shoulder, migraine headache, tension headache, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains and strains, tendinosis, and transmandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD). It works by elevating the body's overall pain threshold so you feel less pain. It also eliminates excess heat for fever reducing. Clients who take Anacin, Feverall, Panadol, and Tylenol may experience liver damage from prolonged use. It is best to use deep massage with caution and be aware of decreased pain perception.
Pancreas
Gland posterior to the stomach, between the spleen and the duodenum; produces both endocrine and exocrine secretions; a flat, solid organ that lies below the liver and the stomach; it is a major source of digestive enzymes and produces the hormone insulin.  
Pancreat/o
Pancreas  
Pancreatic juice
A secretion of the pancreas containing enzymes for digestion of all food categories.  
Pancreatitis
Inflammation of the pancreas.  
Pandemic
An outbreak that occurs on a global scale.  
Pant/o
All; whole  
Papill/o
Nipple-like; optic disc  
Papilla
Small nipplelike projection.  
Papillary muscles
Cone-shaped muscles found in the heart ventricles.  
Papul/o
Papule; pimple  
PAR
 
Par-
Other than; abnormal  
Para-
Near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along side of  
-Para
To bear; bring forth (live births)  
Paradoxical motion
The motion of the portion of the chest wall that is detached in a flail chest; the motion- in during inhalation, out during exhalation- is exactly the opposite of normal chest wall motion during breathing.  
Paralysis
The loss of muscle function.  
Paramedic
An individual who has extensive training in advanced life support, including endotracheal intubation, emergancy pharmacology, cardiac monitoring, and other advanced assessment and treatment skills.  
Paraplegia
Paralysis of the lower portion of the body and of both legs.  
Parasit/o
Parasite  
Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
The energy conservation and restorative system associated with what commonly is called the relaxation or rest and digest response of the autonomic nervous system (ANS); it is opposite of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) fight-or-flight response that activates and constricts the functions of the body when under stress; a division of the autonomic nervous system; also referred to as the craniosacral division; a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), involved in control of involuntary, vegetative functions, mediated largely by the vagus nerve through the chemical acetylcholine.  
Parathyroid/o
Parathyroid glands  
Parathyroid glands
Small endocrine glands located on the posterior aspect of the thyroid gland; produce the parathyroid hormone (PTH); controls the amount of calcium in the blood and within the bones.  
Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
Hormone released by the parathyroid glands that regulates blood calcium level.  
Paravertebrals
Alongside or near the vertebral column.  
Parenteral medications
Medications that enter the body by a route other than the digestive tract, skin, or mucous membranes.  
-Paresis
Weakness  
-Pareunia
Sexual intercourse  
Parietal
Pertaining to the walls of a cavity.  
Parietal pleura
Thin membrane that lines the chest cavity.  
Parietal regions
The areas between the temporal and occipital regions of the cranium.  
Parotid
Located near the ear.  
-Parous
To bear; bring forth  
Paroxetine hydrochloride (Rx)
Brand name; Paxil. Generic name; Paroxetine hydrochloride. Classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). It is an Antidepressant, relieves obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and is used for treatment of Fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It works by effecting chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced. Clients who take Paxil may experience abdominal pain, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and sexual dysfunction. It is best to perform an abdominal massage to help relieve constipation, keep client awake to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.
Partial pressure
The term used to describe the amount of gas in air or dissolved in fluid, such as blood.  
Partial seizure
A seizure affecting a limited portion of the brain.  
Partial-thickness (second-degree) burns
Burns affecting the epidermis and some portion of the dermis but not the subcutaneous tissue; characterized by blisters and skin that is white to red, moist, and mottled.  
Partnership
A legal relationship between two or more persons in which each agrees to furnish a part of the capital and labor for a business enterprise, and by which each shares a fixed proportion of profits and losses.  
-Partum
Birth; labor  
PAS-PD
 
Passive immunity
Short-lived immunity resulting from the introduction of "borrowed antibodies" obtained from an immune animal or human donor; immunological memory is not established.  
Passive language
Communicates a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem. The tone of voice may be whiny, hesitant, or self-deprecating. Passive statements are generally ambiguous, failing to clearly specify what the practitioner wants or expects to have happen and what the consequences will be if the client does not comply.  
Passive transport
Transportation of a substance across the cell membrane without the use of energy; membrane transport processes that do not require cellular energy (ATP); e.g., diffusion, which is drivin by kinetic energy.  
Past medical history
Significant past medical illnesses or traumatic injury that the patient has experienced.  
Patell/a
Petella  
Patell/o
Patella  
Petella
The kneecap; a specialized bone that lies within the tendon of the quadriceps muscle.  
Patent
Open, clear of obstruction.  
Patent airway
An open, unblocked airway.  
Path/o
Disease  
Pathogen
Disease-causing microorganism; e.g., some bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.; microorganisms capable of producing disease in a susceptible host.  
Pathogenesis
The development of a disease.  
Pathogenicity
The ability of the infectious agent to cause disease in a susceptible host.  
Pathogens
Microorganisms capable of producing disease.  
Pathologic range of motion
The amount of motion at a joint that fails to reach the normal physiologic range or exceeds normal anatomic limits or motion of that joint.  
Pathology
The study of disease as observed in the structure and function of the body.  
Pathophysiology
The study of how normal physiologic processes are affected by disease.  
-Pathy
Disease; emotion  
Patient autonomy
The right of a patient to make informed choices regarding his or her health care.  
Patient care report (PCR)
The legal document used to record all patient care activities. This report has direct patient care functions but also administrative and quality control functions. PCRs are also known as prehospital care reports.  
Patient-assisted medication
When the EMT assists the patient with the administration of his or her own medication.  
Paxil (Rx)
Brand name; Paxil. Generic name; Paroxetine hydrochloride. Classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). It is an Antidepressant, relieves obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and is used for treatment of Fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It works by effecting chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced. Clients who take Paxil may experience abdominal pain, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and sexual dysfunction. It is best to perform an abdominal massage to help relieve constipation, keep client awake to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.
Payer discrimination
Charging insurance companies higher rates than clients who do not utilize insurance coverage.  
PE-PEQ
 
Pector/o
Chest  
Pectoral
Pertaining to the chest.  
Pectoral girdle
Composite of two bones, scapula and clavicle, that attach the upper limb to the axial skeleton; also called shoulder girdle.  
Ped/o
Child; foot  
Pediatric Assessment Triangle (PAT)
A structured assessment tool that allows you to rapidly form a general impression of the infant or child without touching him or her; consists of assessing appearance, work of breathing, and circulation to the skin.  
Pediatric resuscitation tape measure
A tape used to estimate an infant or child's weight on the basis of length; appropriate drug doses and equipment sizes are listed on the tape.  
Pediatrics
A specialized medical practice devoted to the care of the young.  
Pedicul/o
Louse  
Peduncle
A stalk of fibers that connect the cerebellum to the pons, midbrain, and medulla oblongata.  
Peer-assisted medication
When the EMT adminsters medication to him or herself or to a partner.  
Peer group
A group of colleagues who meet regularly to discuss common issues related to their professional lives, to share information and strategies, and to receive emotional support.  
Peer support groups
The process of working with a group of practitioners whose main goal is to listen to each other in a way that provides support for the many challenges that arise during the course of dealing with clients.  
Pelvic binders
Used to splint the bony pelvis to reduce hemorrhage from bone ends, venous disruption, and pain.  
Pelvic girdle
The two hip bones; incomplete bony basin formed by two coxal bones that secures the lower limbs to the sacrum of the axial skeleton.  
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
An infection of the fallopian tubes and the surrounding tissues of the pelvis.  
Pelv/i
Pelvis; hip region  
Pelv/o
Pelvis; hip region  
Pelvic tilt
An anterior (forward), a posterior (backward) or a lateral (vertical) tilt of the pelvis from neutral position.  
Pelvis
Composed of the two hip bones, sacrum and coccyx; a basin-shaped structure; lower portion of the skeleton of the body trunk.  
Pend/o
To hang  
Penetrating trauma
Injury caused by objects, such as knives and bullets, that pierce the surface of the body and damage internal tissues and organs.  
Penetrating wound
An injury resulting from a sharp, pointed object.  
-Penia
Dificiency  
Penis
The male organ of copulation and urination.  
-Pepsia
Digestion  
Pepsin
An enzyme capable of digesting proteins in an acid pH.  
Peptic ulcer disease
An abrasion of the stomach or small intestine.  
PER-PG
 
Per/o
Deformed; maimed  
Per-
Through  
Percuss/o
To tap  
Peri-
Surrounding  
Perine/o
Perineum  
Peritone/o
Peritoneum  
Perone/o
Fibula  
Per os (PO)
Through the mouth; a medication delivery route; same as oral.  
Per rectum (PR)
Through the rectum; a medication delivery route.  
Perfusion
State of adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues; ability of the circulatory system to distribute blood containing nutrients and oxygen to the tissues; circulation of blood within an organ or tissue in adequate amounts to meet the current needs of the cells.  
Pericardium
A double membranous, serous sac surrounding the heart. The pericardium secrets a lubricating fluid to prevent friction from the movement of the heart; the membranous sac enveloping the heart; the fibrous sac that surrounds the heart.  
Perimysium
The connective tissue enveloping bundles of muscle fibers.  
Perineum
That region of the body extending from the anus to the scrotum in males and from the anus to the vulva in females; the area of skin between the vagina and the anus.  
Perineurium
Course connective tissue wrapping that binds groups of fibers in a nerve, forming fascicles, or fiber bundles.  
Periosteum
The thin fibrous membrane of connective tissue which surrounds the surface of the bones except at articulations; double-layered connective tissue that covers and nourishes the bone.  
Peripheral nervous system (PNS)
The system of somatic and autonomic neurons outside the central nervous system (CNS); the peripheral nervous system comprises the Afferent (sensory) division and the Efferent (motor) division; a system of nerves that connects the outlying parts of the body with the central nervous system (CNS); the part of the nervous system that consists of 31 pairs of spinal nerves and 12 pairs of cranial nerves; peripheral nerves may be sensory, motor, or connecting nerves.  
Peripheral resistance
The resistance to blood flow offered by the systemic blood vessels; a measure of the amount of friction encountered by blood.  
Peristalsis
Rhythmic contraction of smooth muscles that propel products of digestion along the tract from the esophagus to the anus; the waves of contraction seen in tubelike organs; propels substances along the tract; the wavelike contraction of smooth muscle by which the ureters or other tubular organs propel their contents.  
Peritoneal cavity
The abdominal cavity.  
Peritoneum
The mucous membrane that lines the abdominal cavity to prevent friction from the organs; the serous membrane lining the interior of the abdominal cavity and covering the surfaces of the abdominal organs; the membrane lining the abdominal cavity (parietal peritoneum) and covering the abdominal organs (visceral peritoneum).  
Peritonitis
An inflammation of the peritoneum.  
Permeability
That property of membranes that permits passage of molecules and ions.  
Permeable boundary
A permeable boundary allows information and feelings to flow easily in and out without barriers.  
Peroneal
Pertaining to the lateral aspect of the leg.  
Persistency
Term used to describe how long a chemical agent will stay on a surface before it evaporates.  
Personal boundary model
The theory that views the nature of boundaries as a continuum of permeable to ridgid. The degree of permeability also represents vulnerability.  
Personal profile
Personal information used to register on social media websites.  
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Clothing or specialized equipment that provides protection to the wearer.  
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) levels
Measures of the amount and type of protective equipment that an individual needs to avoid injury during contact with a hazardous material.  
Perspir/o
Breathe through  
Pertinent negative
Absence of a sign or symptom that helps substantiate or identify a patient's condition; negative findings that warrant no care or intervention.  
Pertinent positive
Presence of a sign or symptom that helps substantiate or identify a patient's condition.  
Pertussis (whooping cough)
An airborne bacterial infection that affects mostly children younger than 6 years. Patients will be feverish and exhibits a "whoop" sound on inspiration after a coughing attack; highly contagious through droplet infection.  
Petrissage
From the French word "Petrir" meaning to knead; this massage technique is used after the tissue is warmed, because of the focused work; includes muscle (mm) squeezing, mm stripping, wringing, picking up, skin rolling, and a veriety of kneading techniques.  
Petr/o
Stone; petrous region of temporal bone  
-Pexy
Fixation; to put in place  
PH
 
pH
The symbol for hydrogen ion concentration; a measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution.  
Phac/o
Lens of eye  
Phag/o
Eat; swallow  
-Phage
Eat; swallow  
-Phagia
Eating; swallowing  
Phagocyte
A cell capable of engulfing and digesting particles or cells harmful to the body.  
Phagocytosis
The process of endocytosis followed by digestion of the vesicle contents by enzymes present in the cytoplasm; the ingestion of solid particles by cells.  
Phak/o
Lens of eye  
Phalang/o
Phalanges  
Phalanges
The bones of the fingers or toes.  
Phall/o
Penis  
Phaner/o
Visible; apparent  
Phantom pain
A form of pain or other sensation experienced in the missing extremity after a limb amputation.  
Pharmac/o
Drug  
Pharmaceut/o
Drug  
Pharmacodynamics
The process by which a medication works on the body.  
Pharmacology
The study of the properties and effects of medications.  
Pharyng/o
Throat  
Pharyngeotracheal lumen airway
A multilumen airway that consists of two tubes, two masks, and a bite block.  
Pharyngotympanic (auditory) tube
Tube that connects the middle ear and the pharynx; allows pressure to be equalized on both sides of the ear drum; also called the Eustachian tube.  
Pharynx
The throat; the muscular tube extending from the posterior of the nasal cavities to the esophagus.  
Phas/o
Speech  
-Phasia
Speech  
Phe/o
Dusky; dark  
-Pheresis
Removal  
Phil/o
Like; love; attraction to  
-Phil
Attraction for  
-Philia
Attraction for  
Phim/o
Muzzle  
Phleb/o
Vein  
Phlebitis
Inflammation of a vein; often associated with a clot in the vein.  
Phob/o
Fear  
-Phobia
Fear  
Phon/o
Voice; sound  
-Phonia
Voice; sound  
Phor/o
To bear  
-Phoresis
Carrying; transmission  
-Phoria
To bear; carry; feeling- mental state  
Phosgene
A pulmonary agent that is a product of combustion, such as might be produced in a fire at a textile factory or house or from metalwork or burning Freon; a very potent agent that has a delayed onset of symptoms, usually hours.  
Phosgene Oxime (CX)
A blistering agent that has a rapid onset of symptoms and produces immediate, intense pain and discomfort on contact.  
Phosphat/o
Phosphate  
Phospholipid
A modified triglyceride containing phosphorus.  
Phospholipid bilayer
Cell membrane made up of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins.  
Phot/o
Light  
Photoreceptors
Specialized receptor cells that respond to light energy.  
Phren/o
Diaphragm; mind  
Phrenic nerve
Nerve that innervates the diaphragm; necessary for adequate breathing to occur.  
-Phthisis
Wasting away  
-Phylaxis
Protection  
Phyl/o
Race; species; type  
Physiologic range of motion
The amount of motion available to a joint determined by the nervous system from information provided by joint sensory receptors. This information usually prevents a joint from being positioned so that injury could occur.  
Physi/o
Nature; function  
Physic/o
Physical; natural  
Physiology
The study of the processes and functions of the body involved in supporting life; the science of the functioning of living organisms.  
-Physis
To grow  
Phys/o
Air; gas  
Phyt/o
Plant  
-Phyte
Plant  
PI-PK
 
Picr/o
Bitter  
Piercing spike
The hard, sharpened plastic spike on the end of the administration set designed to pierce the sterile membrane of the intravenous bag.  
Pies/i, -Piesis
Pressure  
Piezoelectric
The quality of bones that allows them to deform slightly and vibrate when electrical currents pass through them. Bone formation patterns follow lines of stress load directed by the piezoelectric currents.  
Pil/o
Hair  
Pimel/o
Fat; fatty  
Pin/o
To drink  
Pin
Common term used to describe posts on the social media site Pinterest - www.pinterest.com  
Pineal/o
Pineal gland  
Pin-indexing system
A system established for portable cylinders to ensure that a regulator is not connected to a cylinder containing the wrong type of gas.  
Pinna
The external, visible part of the ear.  
Pinocytosis
The engulfing of extracellular fluid by cells.  
Pituitar/o
Pituitary Gland  
Pituitary gland
The neuroendocrine gland located beneath the brain that serves a variety of functions including regulation of the gonads, thyroid, adrenal cortex, water balance, and lactation.  
Pivot joint
A bony projection from one bone fits into a "ring" formed by another bone and ligament structure to allow rotation around its own axis.  
PL-PM
 
Placards
Signage required to be placed on all four sides of highway transport vehicles, railroad tank cars, and other forms of hazardous materials transportation; the sign identifies the hazardous contents of the vehicle, using a standardization system with 10 3/4-inch diamond-shaped indicators.  
Placenta
The temporary organ that provides nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus, carries away wastes, and produces the hormones of pregnancy; the tissue attached to the uterine wall that nourishes the fetus through the umbilical cord.  
Placenta previa
A condition in which the placenta develops over and covers the cervix.  
-Plakia
Plaque  
Plan/o
Flat; level; wandering  
Planes of Movement
With the body in the standard anatomical posistion, standing erect with palms facing forward, it can be divided into three imaginary planes that can clarify and specify movements. The three planes are the Sagittal Plane, Frontal or Coronal Plane, and the Transverse Plane.
Planning
In incident command, the position that ultimately produces a plan to resolve any incedent.  
Plant/o
Sole of foot  
Plantar
Pertaining to the sole of the foot; the bottom surface of the foot.  
Plantar flexion
An extension movement of the ankle that results in the foot and toes moving away from the body.  
Plaquenil (Rx)
Brand name; Plaquenil. Generic name; Hydroxychloroquine sulfate. Classified as an Antimalarial and Anti-inflammatory. It reduces inflammation and is used for treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis (auto-immune disease). No explanation as to how it works. Clients who take Plaquenil may experience irritability, fatigue, anorexia, and abdominal cramps. It is best to be patient with mood swings.
Plas/o
Development; formation  
-Plasia
Development; formation  
-Plasm
Formation; structure  
Plasma
A thick, straw-colored fluid that makes up about 55% of the blood; the fluid portion of the blood; a sticky, yellow fluid that carries the blood cells and nutrients and transports cellular waste material to the organs of excretion.  
Plasma cell
Member of a B cell clone; specialized to produce and release antibodies.  
Plasma membrane
Membrane that encloses cell contents; outer limiting membrane.  
-Plastic
Pertaining to formation  
Plastic range
The range of movement of connective tissue that is taken beyond the elastic limits. In this range the tissue permanently deforms and connot return to its original state.  
-Plasty
Surgical repair  
Platelets
Tiny, disk-shaped elements that are much smaller than the cells; they are essential in the initial formation of a blood clot, the mechanism that stops bleeding; one of the irregular cell fragments of blood; involved in clotting.  
Platy-
Broad; flat  
Ple/o
More; many  
-Plegia
Paralysis; palsy  
-Plegic
Paralysis; palsy  
Pleur/o
Pleura  
Pleura
The serous membrane covering the lungs and lining the thoracic cavity, completely enclosing a potential space known as the pleural space.  
Pleural effusion
A collection of fluid between the lung and chest wall that may compress the lung.  
Pleural space
The potential space between the parietal pleura and the visceral pleura. It is described as "potential" because under normal conditions, the space does not exist.  
Pleurisy
Inflammation of the pleurae, making breathing painful.  
Pleuritic chest pain
Sharp, stabbing pain in the chest that is worsened by a deep breath or other chest wall movement; often caused by inflammation or irritation of the pleura.  
Plex/o
Plexus; network  
Plexus
A network of intertwinning nerves that innervates a particular region of the body; a network of interlacing nerves, blood vessels, or lymphatics.  
Plica
A fold.  
-Pnea
Breathing  
Pneum/o
Lung; air; gas  
Pneumon/o
Lung; air; gas  
Pneumonia
An inflammation/infection of the lung from a bacterial, viral, or fungal cause.  
Pneumonic plague
A lung infection, also known as plague pneumonia, that is the result of inhalation of plague-causing bacteria.  
Pneumonitis
Inflammation of the lung.  
Pneumotaxic (pontine) center
A portion of the pons that assists in creating shorter, faster respirations.  
Pneumothorax
The presence of air or gas in a pleural cavity; a partial or complete accumulation of air in the pleural space.  
PO-PQ
 
Pod/o
Foot  
-Poiesis
Formation  
-Poietin
Substance that forms  
Poikil/o
Varied; irregular  
Point tenderness
Tenderness that is sharply localized at the site of the injury, found by gently palpating along the bone with the tip of one finger.  
Point of Distribution (PODs)
Existing facilities that are established in a time of need for the mass distribution of antibiotics, antidotes, vaccinations, and other medications and supplies.  
Poison
A substance whose chemical action could damage structures or impair function when introduced into the body.  
Pol/o
Extreme  
Polar body
A minute cell produced during meiosis in the ovary.  
Polar molecules
Nonsymmetrical molecules that contain electrically unbalanced atoms.  
Polarity Therapy
In the bodywork part of this therapy, the practitioner works with the client's energy field- electromagnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional, and physical experience- to facilitate greater health. Developed by Dr. Randolph Stone.
Polarized
The state of an unstimulated neuron or muscle cell in which the inside of the cell is relatively negative in comparison to the outside; the resting state.  
Policy
A statement of intent that defines expectations and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.  
Polio-
Grey matter  
Polio (poliomyelitis)
A viral infection that affects the nerves that control skeletal movement.  
Poly-
Many; much  
Polycythemia
Presence of an abnormally large number of erythrocytes in the blood.  
Polydipsia
Excessive thirst that persists for long periods, despite reasonable fluid intake; often the result of excessive urination.  
Polyp/o
Polyp; small growth  
Polypeptide
A chain of amino acids.  
Polyphagia
Excessive eating; in diabetes, the inability to use glucose properly can cause a sense of hunger.  
Polypharmacy
The simultaneous use of multiple medications as typically seen in elderly people.  
Polysaccharide
Literally, many sugars; a polymer of linked monosaccharides; examples include starch and glycogen.  
Polyuria
The passage of an unusually large volume of urine in a given period; in diabetes, this can result from the wasting of glucose in the urine.  
Pons
Any bridgelike structure or part; the brain area connecting the medulla with the midbrain, providing linkage between upper and lower levels of the central nervous system (CNS); an organ that lies below the midbrain and above the medulla and contains numerous important nerve fibers, including those for sleep, respiration, and the medullary respiratory center.  
Pont/o
Pons  
Poor air exchange
A term used to describe the degree of distress in a patient with a mild airway obstruction. With poor air exchange, the patient often has a weak, ineffective cough, increased difficulty breathing, or possible cyanosis and may produce a high-pitched noise during inhalation (stridor).  
Por/o, -Pore
Opening; passageway  
-Porosis
Condition of pores or spaces  
Portable stretcher
A stretcher with a strong rectangular tubular metal frame and rigid fabric stretched across it.  
-Posia
Drinking  
Posit/o
Arrangement; place  
Position of function
A hand position in which the wrist is slightly dorsiflexed and all finger joints are moderately flexed.  
Positive feedback
Feedback that tends to cause a variable to change in the same direction as the initial change; enhances the stimulus.  
Positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP)
Mechanical maintenance of pressure in the airway at the end of expiration to increase the volume of gas remaining in the lungs.  
Post-
After; behind  
Post
A public display or notice, can also commonly be referred to as status updates when sharing information on the internet.  
Postconventional reasoning
A type of reasoning in which a child bases decisions on his or her conscience.  
Poster/o
Back; behind  
Posterior
Toward the back or dorsal surface; in anatomy, the back surface of the body; the side away from you in the standard anatomic position.  
Posterior pelvic rotation
Posterior movement of the upper pelvis; the iliac crest tilts backward in a sagittal plane.  
Posterior tibial artery
The artery just behind the medial malleolus; supplies blood to the foot.  
Posterior tilt of pelvis
Tilt in which the vertical plane through the anterior superior iliac spines (ASIS's) are posterior to the vertical plane through the pubic symphysis.  
Postganglionic (postsynaptic) neuron
A neuron of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) having its cell body in a ganglion and its axon extending to an organ or tissue.  
Postical state
A period following a seizure that lasts between 5 and 30 minutes; characterized by labored respirations and some degree of altered mental status.  
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A delayed stress reaction to a prior incident, this delayed reaction is often the result of one or more unresolved issues concerning the incident. A type of anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a very traumatic or life-threatening event. It can cause flashbacks; sleep problems; nightmares; hypervigilance; feelings of isolation, guilt, and paranoia; and sometimes panic attacks.  
Potential energy
The product of mass, gravity, and height, which is converted into kinetic energy and results in injury, such as from a fall.  
Power differential
The role difference between a practitioner and client, in which the client is vulnerable and the practitioner has more power by virtue of training and experience.  
Power grip
A technique in which the litter or backboard is gripped by inserting each hand under the handle with the palm facing up and the thumb extended, fully supporting the underside of the handle on the curved palm with the fingers and thumb.  
Power lift
A lifting technique in which the EMT's back is held upright, with legs bent, and the patient is lifted when the EMT straightens the legs to raise the upper body and arms.  
PR
 
-Prandial
Meal  
-Praxia
Action  
Pre-
Before; in front of  
Precedence
Basing current action on lessons, rules, or guidelines derived from previous similar experiences.  
Precipitation
Formation of insoluble complexes that settle out of solution.  
Preconventional reasoning
A type of reasoning in which a child acts almost purely to avoid punishment to get what he or she wants.  
Preeclampsia
A condition of late pregnancy that involves headache, visual changes, and swelling of the hands and feet; also called pregnancy-induced hypertension.  
Prefix
A word element added to the beginning of a root to change the meaning of the word.  
Pregabalin (Rx)
Brand name; Lyrica. Generic name; Pregabalin. Classified as an Anticonvulsant. It decreases neuropathic pain and is used for treatment of Fibromyalgia, and neuropathy. It works by calming the damaged or overactive nerves that cause pain. Clients who take Lyrica may experience dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness, and easy bruising. It is best to perform light treatment work, help client on/off the table, and elevate head when needed.
Preganglionic (presynaptic) neuron
A neuron of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) having its cell body in the brain or spinal cord and its axon terminating in a ganglion.  
Pregnancy-induced hypertension
A condition of late pregnancy that involves headache, visual changes, and swelling of the hands and feet; also called preeclampsia.  
Prehospital Care Report (PCR)
Official or formal documentation of the physical assessment and care provided to a particular patient; may either be in a written or computer-based format.  
Prejudice
An adverse, preconceived judgment or opinion formed without sufficient knowledge or examination of the facts. It is usually not based on reason or actual experience.  
Preload
The precontraction pressure in the heart as the volume of blood builds up.  
Presby/o
Old age  
Presbycusis
An age-related condition of the ear that produces progressive bilateral hearing loss that is most noted at higher frequencies.  
Preschoolers
Persons who are 3 to 6 years of age.  
Prescription medications
Medications that are distributed to patients only by pharmacists according to a physician's order.  
Presentation
The position in which an infant is born; the part of the infant that appears first.  
Pressoreceptor
A nerve ending in the wall of the carotid sinus and aortic arch sensitive to vessel stretching.  
Pressure
The amount of force on a specific area.  
Pressure gradient
Difference in hydrostatic (fluid) pressure that drives filtration.  
Pressure point
A point where a blood vessel lies near a bone.  
Primary assessment
A step within the patient assessment process that identifies and initiates treatment of immediate and potential life threats.  
Primary blast injury
Injuries caused by an explosive pressure wave on the hollow organs of the body.  
Primary (direct) injury
An injury to the brain and its associated structures that is a direct result of impact to the head.  
Primary (immune) response
The initial response of the immune system to an antigen; involves clonal selection and establishes immunological memory.  
Primary prevention
Efforts to prevent an injury or illness from ever occurring.  
Primary Service Area (PSA)
The designated area in which the EMS service is responsible for the provision of prehospital emergency care and transportation to the hospital.  
Primary triage
A type of patient sorting used to rapidly categorize patients; the focus is on speed in locating all patients and determining an initial priority as their conditions warrant.  
Prime mover
A muscle that carries out an action; muscle whose contractions are primarily responsible for a particular movement; agonist.  
Primi-
First  
Primigravida
A woman who is experiencing her first pregnancy.  
Principles
An individual's rules or laws of behavior that enables them to behave with integrity.  
Privacy
The expectation that the collection and sharing of personal data is safeguarded.  
Pro-
Before; forward  
Pro Bono
A Latin phrase meaning work done without compensation for the public good.  
Proactive discussions
Conversations where boundaries are set in the initial phases of working with clients, with the objective of preventing boundary crossings and violations from occurring.  
Process
A outgrowth, or prominent bony growth that projects out from a bone; a prominence or projection; a series of actions for a specific purpose.  
Prochlorperazine (Rx)
Brand name; Compazine. Generic name; Prochlorperazine. Classified as an Antipsychotic, Antiemetic, and anxiolytic. It relieves signs and symptoms of psychosis, reduces anxiety, and relieves nausea and vomiting. Is also used for treatment of Migraine headache, and headaches. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain. Clients who take Compazine may experience constipation and dry mouth. It is best to offer water. Abdominal massage may help with constipation.
Proct/o
Anus; rectum  
Professionalism
The behaviors and qualities that mark an individual as a reliable, competent, trustworthy, and polished professional person.  
Professional therapeutic relationship
A relationship between client and practitioner that is focused on the well-being of the client and is contractual.  
Projectile
Any object propelled by force, such as a bullet by a weapon.  
Projection
A defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes, thoughts, or feelings by ascribing them to objects or other people.  
Prolapse of the umbilical cord
A situation in which the umbilical cord comes out of the vagina befor the infant.  
Pronation
Internal rotary movement of the radius on the ulna that results in the hand moving from the palm-up to the palm-down postion; the inward rotation of the forearm causing the radius to cross diagonally over the ulna; palms face posteriorly.  
Prone
Lying horizontal with the face down.  
Proprioceptors
Sensory receptors that provide the body with information about position, movement, muscle tension, joint activity, and equilibrium; a receptor located in a muscle or tendon; concerned with locomotion, pressure, and muscle tone.  
Pros-
Before; forward  
Pros/o
Forward; anterior  
Prosop/o
Face  
Prostat/o
Prostate gland  
Prostate gland
A small gland that surrounds the male urethra where it emerges from the urinary bladder; it secretes a fluid that is part of the ejaculatory fluid.  
Prot/o
First  
Prote/o
Protein  
Protected Health Information (PHI)
Any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to a specific individual. This is interpreted rather broadly and includes any part of a patient's medical record or payment history. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  
Proteins
Substances formed from amino acids; a complex nitrogenous substance; the main building material of cells.  
Proteinuria
The passage of proteins in the urine.  
Protraction
Forward movement remaining in a horizontal plane.  
Protocol
A detailed plan of a therapeutic treatment or procedure.  
Protocols
Written or printed instructions or plans for carrying out an activity; in EMS, a protocol is a document that describes, usually in a step-by-step manner, the method that is used to deal with a particular set of symptoms or conditions; written documents, signed by the EMS system's medical director, that outline specific directions, permissions, and sometimes prohibitions regarding patient care; also called standing orders.  
Proton
Subatomic particle that bears a positive charge; located in the atomic nucleus.  
Proxemics
The study of space between people and its effects on communication.  
Proxim/o
Near  
Proximal
Nearer to the center or midline of the body; located toward the center of the body; situated next to or near the point of attachment or origin or a central point; toward the attached end of a limb or the origin of a structure; closer to the trunk.  
Proximal tibia
Anatomic location for intraosseous catheter insertion; the wide portion of the tibia located directly below knee.  
Proximate causation
When a person who has a duty abuses it, and causes harm to another individual; the EMT, the agency, and/or the medical director may be sued for negligence.  
Prozac (Rx)
Brand name; Prozac. Generic name; Fluoxetine hydrochloride. Classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). It relieves obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and is an antidepressant used for treatment of Fibromyalgia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It works by affecting chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Clients who take Prozac may experience insomnia, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. It is best to use abdominal massage to help constipation. Help client on/off the table, and do not let client fall asleep (may disrupt sleep patterns).
Prurit/o
Itching  
PS-PZ
 
Psamm/o
Sand; sand-like material  
Pseudo-
False  
Psor/o
Itching  
Psoriasis
A common, chronic skin disease characterized by reddened skin covered by dry, silvery scales. Psoriasis most often is found on the scalp, elbows, knees, back, or buttocks.  
Psych/o
Mind  
Psychiatric disorder
An illness with psychological or behavioral symptoms and/or impairment in functioning caused by a social, psychological, genetic, physical, chemical, or biologic disturbance.  
Psychiatric emergency
An emergency in which abnormal behavior threatens a person's own health and safety or the health and safety of another person, for example when a person becomes suicidal, homicidal, or has a psychotic episode.  
Psychogenic shock
Shock caused by a sudden, temporary reduction in blood supply to the brain that causes fainting (syncope).  
Psychosexual
The mental, emotional, and behavioral aspects of sexual development.  
Psychosis
A mental disorder characterized by the loss of contact with reality.  
Psychosocial
Involving both psychological and social environment aspects.  
Psychotherapy
The treatment of mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders by psychological methods.  
Psychr/o
Cold  
-Pterygium
Abnormality of the conjunctivia  
-Ptosis
Droop; sag; prolapse; protrude  
Ptyal/o
Saliva  
-Ptysis
Spitting  
Pub/o
Pubis  
Puberty
The period at which reproductive organs become functional.  
Pubic
Pertaining to the genital region.  
Pubic symphysis
A hard bony prominence that is found in the midline in the lower most portion of the abdomen.  
Pubis
One of three bones that fuse to form the pelvic ring.  
Public health
Focused on examining the health needs of entire populations with the goal of preventing health problems.  
Public Information Officer (PIO)
In incident command, the person who keeps the public informaed and relates any information to the press.  
Public safety access point
A call center, staffed by trained personnel who are responsible for managing requests for police, firefighting, and ambulance services.  
Pulmon/o
Lung  
Pulmonary
Pertaining to the lungs.  
Pulmonary artery
The major artery leading from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs; it carries oxygen-poor blood.  
Pulmonary blast injuries
Pulmonary trauma resulting from shortrange exposure to the detonation of explosives.  
Pulmonary circulation
System of blood vessels that carry blood to and from the lungs for gas exchange; the flow of blood from the right ventricle through the pulmonary arteries and all of their branches and capillaries in the lungs and back to the left atrium through the venules and pulmonary veins; also called the lesser circulation.  
Pulmonary contusion
Injury or bruising of lung tissue that results in hemorrhage.  
Pulmonary edema
A leakage of fluid into the air sacs and tissue of the lungs; a buildup of fluid in the lungs, usually as a result of congestive heart failure.  
Pulmonary embolism
Obstruction of blood flow to the lungs caused by a clot that has traveled from a deep leg vein to a branch of the pulmonary arteries; can cause acute dyspnea (difficulty breathing), hypoxia (lack of oxygen), and / or sudden death; A blood clot that breaks off from a large vein and travels to the blood vessels of the lung, causing obstruction of blood flow.  
Pulmonary trunk
The large artery that carries blood to the lungs to release carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.  
Pulmonary veins
The four veins from the lungs that bring oxygen-rich blood to the left atrium.; the four veins that return oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.  
Pulmonary ventilation
Breathing; consists of inspiration and expiration.  
Puls/o, Pulsat/o
To beat; beating  
Pulse
The rhythmic expansion and recoil of arteries resulting from heart contraction; can be felt from the outside of the body; the pressure wave that occurs as each heartbeat causes a surge in the blood circulating through the arteries.  
Pulse oximetry
An assessment tool that measures oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in the capillary beds.  
Pulseless Electrical Activity (PEA)
A condition where there is a rhythm noted on the monitor that should result in adequate perfusion, but the patient is pulseless and apneic.  
Punitive damages
Damages that are sometimes awarded in a civil suit when the conduct of the defendant was intentional or constituted a reckless disregard for the safety of the public.  
-Puncture
To pierce a surface  
Pupill/o
Pupil  
Pupil
An opening in the center of the iris through which light enters the eye; The circular opening in the middle of the iris that admits light to the back of the eye.  
Purkinje fibers
The modified cardiac muscle fibers of the conduction system of the heart.  
PurPur/i
Purple  
Purul/o
Pus  
Pus
The fluid product of inflammation composed of white blood cells, the debris of dead cells, and a thin fluid.  
Putrefacation
Decomposition of body tissues.  
Py/o
Pus  
Pycn/o
Thick; dense  
Pyel/o
Renal pelvis  
Pyelonephritis
An inflammation of the kidney pelvis and surrounding kidney tissues.  
Pyl/e
Portal vein  
Pylor/o
Pylorus; pyloric sphincter  
Pyloric region
The final portion of the stomach; joins with the duodenum.  
Pyr/o
Fever; fire  
Pyramid
Any cone-shaped structure of an organ.  
Pyret/o
Fever  
Pyrex/o
Fever  
Pyrogen
An agent or chemical substance that induces fever.  
 

 

     

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