noci-, noc- +

(Latin: to injure, to hurt; injury, harm, harmful; trauma; a noxious or deleterious agent or influence)

The inhibition of the nociceptive processing in the nervous system, achieved by adequate analgesia.

The role of antinociception is crucial because it makes surgical operations possible and it reduces their immediate and long-term negative consequences.

Immobility and relaxation of the patient can be achieved either by certain anesthetic agents or by neuromuscular blockers.

Harmful to health.
nocebo (antonym: "placebo")
1. Latin word meaning "I will harm"; an adverse, nonspecific side effect occurring in conjunction with a medication but not directly resulting from the pharmacologic action of the medication.

The term is purposely similar to placebo.

2. The concept that if a test subject is told a procedure, or therapy, will be harmful; it will be, even though no harmful treatment or procedure was done.

The nocebo effect can be contagious as in cases of mass hysteria.

3. A negative placebo effect as, for example, when patients taking medications experience adverse side effects unrelated to the specific pharmacological action of the drug.

The nocebo effect is associated with a person's prior expectations of adverse effects from treatment as well as with conditioning in which the person learns from prior experiences to associate a medication with certain somatic symptoms. Anxiety and depression often lead to the nocebo effect.

The nocebo effect versus the placebo effect

Over the years, researchers have found that some people who believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as those with similar risk factors who didn't believe in such fatalistic concepts.

  • The higher risk of death apparently was not related to the usual heart disease causes; such as, age, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, etc.
  • The risk seemed to be closely related to what a person believed; that is, "think sick, be sick!"
  • While the placebo effect refers to health benefits produced by a treatment that should have no effect, patients experiencing the nocebo effect presume (think) the worst, health-wise, and that's just what they get.
  • When people are convinced that something is going to go wrong, it is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Convincing doctors that their patients' problems might be more than biochemical is not easy to accomplish because the nocebo effect is difficult to study and to verify so medical training tends to lead doctors to look for a bodily cause for physical ailments.
  • The word nocebo, Latin for "I will harm", doesn't represent a new idea, but just one that hasn't caught on widely among modern clinicians and scientists.
  • Scientific research seems to be getting more information about the mind and the body by utilizing the pictures of the brain in action with high-tech imaging devices..
  • In one recent study, researchers found that patients with Parkinson's disease given a placebo released a brain chemical called dopamine, just as if the brain were exposed to an active drug.
  • The number of brain chemicals seems to have everything to do with what the mind is anticipating.
  • Like the Parkinson's study, the outcome is positive with the placebo effect.
  • Some patients who are depressed, wary of medication, or worried about drug side effects; just getting a prescription filled results in anxieties and such people osten appear even more likely to show those side effects.
  • The mind is not understood sufficiently to appreciate its strong influence on how the body responds, but the reality of how much the mind affects the body, and the body the mind, is becoming more obvious.
—Based on information from
"The Nocebo Effect: Placebo's Evil Twin" by Brian Reid;
The Washington Post, April 30, 2002; page HE01.

See placebo for the antonym of nocebo.

nocebo effect
An effect from an inert substance that causes symptoms of ill health because of the patients' beliefs.

The term nocebo; Latin for "I will harm", was chosen by Walter Kennedy, in 1961, to indicate the counterpart of one of the more recent applications of the term placebo which means, "I will please"; namely, that of a placebo being a drug that apparently produced a beneficial, healthy, pleasant, or desirable consequence in a subject, as a direct result of that subject's beliefs and expectations.

1. The unconscious discharge of nervous energy under the stimulus of trauma, as in surgical shock.
2. Uncoordinated nervous discharge either following injury or while in shock.
The sense of pain.
1. Receiving injury; said of a receptive neuron for painful sensations.
2. Denoting responsiveness, or sensitivity, to noxious stimuli capable of eliciting pain.
nociceptive impulse
An impulse giving rise to sensations of pain.
nociceptive input (s) (noun), nociceptive inputs (pl)
A period of extreme stress and increased pain perception through affective processes.
1. A class of sense organs uniquely excited by noxious stimuli that threaten or produce actual tissue damage.
2. A receptor that is stimulated by injury; a receptor for pain.

The pain circuit extends from the body's periphery; including the skin and other tissues outside the central nervous system; to the spinal cord and the brain.

In a healthy system, a tissue injury causes pain-sensing nerve cells, or nociceptors, to send a pain-signal message to nerve cells in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, which in turn pass the message to the brain, which interprets it as pain.

In erythromelagia and other peripheral neuropathies, malfunctions in the nociceptor cells send pain signals even when there is no injury.

—"The Pain Gate" by David Dobbs,
Scientific American Mind, April/May, 2007; page 51.
A name for a system of nerves in the skin and mucous membranes that are concerned with local defense, or protecting tissue, against injury.
1. Injurious or traumatic influence.
2. Anything having a damaging effect, or the effect itself.
1. The recognition by the nervous system, or organism, of a traumatic or painful stimulus.
2. A perception regarding a system of injurious (traumatic) stimuli.
polymodal nociceptor
A nociceptor (a nerve ending that responds selectively to painful stimuli, causing the sensation of pain) activated by heat, mechanical pressure, or chemical mediators of inflammation; released as a result of tissue injury.

Cross references related to "pain, hurt; suffering, injury" word families: -agra; algesi-; algo-; angina-; dolor-; Masochism; odyno-; poen-; pono- (toil, work; pain); Sadism.

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "wound, harm, hurt, injure": nox-; traumat-; vulner-.