Have You Heard These 10 Medical Terms For Common Conditions?

Published on May 15, 2024

Credit: Patty Brito

Medicine is a dynamic field, constantly advancing and evolving. With its continuous progress and complexities, deciphering its mysteries can often feel like a challenge, especially when it comes to interpreting doctors' lexicon.

Terms like "dorsalgia" or "pyrexia" may sound unfamiliar and intimidating , but chances are you've already experienced some of them , as they're closer to everyday experiences than you might think.

Let's open the dictionary to discover these 10 medical terms for the most common conditions . Join us!



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While this word sounds like the majestic name of an ancient deity, it actually refers to something much more simple and mundane: a tummy ache.

"Dyspepsia," a medical term for common indigestion , ranks among the most common conditions . It includes the well-known stomach pain , along with sensations of bloating and fullness.

The term has Greek origins, where Dys- can be translated as "bad" or "difficult," and Peptos means "digested."



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Welcome to the world of headaches . Some mild, others truly unbearable. Depending on their cause and intensity, headaches can become really annoying, disrupting even the simplest tasks. Do you remember your last one? You probably do, as they tend to be a regular condition , with primary, acute headaches being the most typical.

"Cephalalgia" is the medical term that refers to this common pain. Also with Greek roots, the word is a fusion of kephalḗ ****, "head," and álgos, "pain."



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While this little word may seem funny, its actual meaning isn't quite as charming. Have you ever had a coughing fit at the movies? People can get irritated, right? Well, we should not forget that coughing can be very annoying and even exhausting for the person experiencing it.

If you want to sound more sophisticated the next time you discuss coughs , you can opt for the medical term " tussis ," which denotes this discomfort.

Coughing can occur voluntarily or involuntarily and serves as a natural reflex to clear the throat and airways.



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Now that we know the suffix -**** algia means "pain," let's find out what's behind the rest of this word.

Dorsum is a Latin term meaning "back." Thus, "Dorsalgia" refers to the notorious and often persistent back pain . Typically, it only denotes the type of back pains originating in nerves, muscles, and joints.

Taking care of your posture throughout the day, also during sleep, and incorporating daily exercise is crucial to prevent or help reduce dorsalgia.



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You've probably heard the word "conjunctivitis" before, as it is a bit more widespread than the previous terms (and, of course, it's the official name for a very, very common condition .)

As you might know, in the medical world, the suffix -itis refers to an inflammation . On the other hand, " conjunctiva " is the name for your eye's outer layer . So, conjunctivitis basically refers to a common pink eye , that familiar discomfort marked by redness, inflammation, and an annoying itchiness.



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Whether you're a kid or a grown-up, we all have those days when we're hit with a case of " pyrexia" . Sure, it may have given us a few days off from school, but let's be real, dealing with this discomfort can be a true challenge.

Also known as fever , pyrexia is when your body temperature rises above the normal range ( 100°F or higher for adults ). And as if that wasn't enough, it brings some other symptoms like headaches and sensitivity to light.

Fever often acts as our body's defense against infections. But, of course, there are a lot of other non-infectious reasons that can awaken the fever monster.



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Did you know that 1 in 3 adults worldwide are diagnosed with this condition? It's called " hypertension " in the medical world, but we all know it better as high blood pressure, a condition where the pressure within your blood vessels climbs to unhealthy levels.

Although it is quite frequent among the population, its commonality doesn't reduce its seriousness. Furthermore, since hypertension often manifests without evident symptoms, many people are unaware they have it. So, always remember to get your medical checkups!


Viral rhinitis

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While it could be a spell pronounced by Harry Potter and his friends, " viral rhinitis " is something much less mystical; it's actually just the fancy term for a common cold.

" Rhinitis " refers to the inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane inside your nose, while " viral " indicates that it is caused by a virus .

Unfortunately, we've all been there: weak, congested, and sneezing. While it's true that some colds are worse than others, nobody enjoys dealing with one. Bless you!



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In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety can directly affect your teeth, as " bruxism " is becoming increasingly common among people of all ages worldwide. If you don't know its formal name, you may recognize it by its other identity: teeth grinding.

This is a condition in which you gnash, grind, or clench your teeth, often involuntarily , and can happen both during the day and night , although nocturnal bruxism is more common. This involuntary practice generates other complications , such as headaches and jaw pain or sleep interruptions. If you find yourself nodding along, it might be time to visit the much-feared dentist!



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Few things can compete with the pain of this condition called " otitis ." Known to all of us as an ear infection, otitis is more common in children than adults, but can strike anyone at any age.

As hinted by its suffix, otitis causes inflammation in the middle ear. This can be a real torture and will certainly keep you awake at night. Fortunately, treatments are usually simple and quick, and this annoying condition often clears up within a few days.


10 Great Songs That Are Actually Inspired By Books

Published on May 15, 2024

Credit: Alan Alves

Music and literature have always intertwined, and musicians have a long tradition of drawing inspiration from their favorite books to create musical homages. From timeless classics to modern novels, these songs pay homage to the written word in their own way, attempting to capture the ideas behind each book in a melodic form.

Join us to find out the inspiration behind 10 popular songs that celebrate literature through music.


"Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush

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Kate Bush's haunting ballad "Wuthering Heights" is inspired by Emily Brontë's classic novel of the same name. The song - written by Bush at age 18 - was her debut single and strived to capture the tumultuous love between the novel characters Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, echoing the book’s gothic themes through an ethereal composition punctuated by a gliding guitar solo. Even more, some of Catherine's dialogue from the novel is directly quoted in the lyrics.


"The Trooper" by Iron Maiden

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Iron Maiden's lyrics for "The Trooper" are inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's epic poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" - which, in turn, was inspired by a historical cavalry charge that took place in the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, during the Crimean War.

With a galloping rhythm that evokes the fast-paced action of the soldiers of the Light Brigade and powerful lyrics that pay homage to Tennyson’s prose, "The Trooper" transcended genre boundaries, and is now one of the most popular songs of the band.


"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones

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One of the band’s many rock’n roll anthems, The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" is mostly penned by Mick Jagger, but it draws inspiration from a couple of sources. In particular, the song derives ideas from the writings of French poet Baudelaire and a novel by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov called The Master and Margarita , a satirical dark comedy where the devil visits the Soviet Union. Interestingly, it was English singer Marianne Faithfull who gave Bulgakov’s book to Jagger, believing he could be interested.


"1984" by David Bowie

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As you would guess, David Bowie's "1984" is inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel of the same name. Originally, Bowie intended to produce a full-fledged musical out of the novel’s plot, but the owners of Orwell’s state never authorized it. The song's lyrics obliquely hint at the novel’s plot, while playing with the themes of surveillance and government oppression.


"The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen's folk-rock ballad "The Ghost of Tom Joad" references John Steinbeck's 1939 classic novel The Grapes of Wrath . Besides borrowing the title character of Tom Joad from the book, the song's lyrics depict the struggles of the working class, echoing the novel's portrayal of poverty and social injustice in the Great Depression era. Springsteen also drew inspiration from Woody Guthrie’s similar song "The Ballad of Tom Joad", trying to stay within the protest song tradition.


"Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin was known for often finding inspiration in classic fantasy novels, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their folk-rock hit "Ramble On" was directly influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The song's lyrics reference characters and locations from the novels with a modern twist, cleverly leading the audience to realize that Middle Earth’s dangers and delights are both closer than they seem.


"Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel

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Inspired by the character Mrs. Robinson from Charles Webb's novel The Graduate , the song was first composed for the 1967 movie of the same name. Film director Mike Nichols was obsessed with the duo, and reached out to ask them if they could write one or two songs for the film’s soundtrack. While initially doubtful, the band eventually went through with the request, delivering one of their most iconic songs in the process.


"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

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Borrowing imagery from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass , Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic anthem was an instant hit among the hippie crowd of the late 60s, and reached the top of the charts soon after being released. The song's lyrics mirror the surreal and nonsensical elements of Carroll's iconic works while reframing the White Rabbit character as a symbol of countercultural exploration and curiosity.


"Tom Sawyer" by Rush

Credit: Tyler Palmer

Rush's "Tom Sawyer" is a loving exploration of the main character of Mark Twain's classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer . The song's lyrics celebrate the adventurous spirit and autonomy of Twain's iconic character while implying that it is referring to an adult - hypothetical version - of the character, who is thus posed as a role model for confronting modernity’s hardships. The iconic song was acclaimed by both critics and fans, and is still one of the most recognized songs from the Canadian rock titans.


"Don't Stand So Close to Me" by The Police


The Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me" draws inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita . The song deals with a controversial topic that mirrors the theme of Nabokov’s novel and references the novel directly in the lyrics. While the song received some backlash for both the subject matter and using some off-putting rhyme techniques (like rhyming "shake and cough" with Nabokov) it still reached the top of the charts, and was the best-selling single of 1980 in the UK.

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