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RT @RoySocMed: Together with @fmauk we're bringing together people with lived experience of #fibromyalgia, medical academics and health pro…

Fibromyalgia Glossary

Fibromyalgia Glossary

 

A
   
Abnormal Not normal: unusual behaviour, condition, position or structure.
   
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Form of psychotherapy which uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behaviour-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. See Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for an alternate approach.
   
ACR see American College of Rheumatology (& Urine-albumin ratio).
   
ACT see Acceptance and Commitment Therapy above.
   
Acid reflux Burning sensation in throat when stomach acid comes up, called heartburn when behind the breast bone, called GORD/GERD when it happens often. See here.
   
Acupuncture Complementary therapy technique: inserting needles to particular muscle areas, which is thought by practitioners to stimulates the production of endorphins (natural painkilling biochemicals). See here.
   
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Carrying molecule present in all living cells and produced mainly in the mitochondria, which serves as an energy source for many metabolic processes.
   
Adrenalin Natural stimulant made in the adrenal gland of the kidney; carried in the bloodstream, affects the autonomous nervous system, which controls functions such as the heart rate, dilation of the pupils, and secretion of sweat and saliva.
   
Agonist In medication: Drug that binds to the receptor of a cell to trigger a response, e.g., dopamine. In muscles: Muscle that contracts while another (the antagonist) relaxes.
   
Alexander technique Teaches improved posture and movement to reduce back and neck pain. See here.
   
Allodynia Pain experienced from a stimulus – touch, location or temperaturewhich is not normally painful. See here.
   
American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Institution that developed the original criteria for / classification of fibromyalgia in 1990. The latest ACR criteria (2016) can be found here.
   
Amitriptyline A tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) that acts on the nerves of the brain cells, like nortriptyline. See here. Overview here.
   
Amygdala Part of the brain associated with feeling emotions.
   
ANA see Antinuclear antibodies below.
   
Analgesic Pain-relieving medication.
   
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Condition with long term inflammation esp. of the spine. See here.
   
ANS see Autonomic Nervous System below.
   
Antagonist Muscle that relaxes while another (the agonist) contracts.
   
Antibody (Ab) = Immuneglobuline (Ig) A type of protein produced by the immune system when it detects harmful antigens (bacteria, fungi, parasites & viruses).
   
Anticonvulsant A drug used to prevent or lessen convulsions or seizures.
   
Antidepressant A drug used to relieve the symptoms of depression.  There are four main types - TCAs, MAOIs, SSRIs & SNRIs. See here.
   
Anti-inflammatory A medication that reduces inflammation and acts as an analgesic giving pain relief.
   
Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) Unusual antibodies that often attack the body’s own cells & tissues.
   
Antispasmodic A drug used in relieving or preventing convulsions or spasms.
 
Anxiety (disorder) An uneasy or unpleasant feeling of distress, fear or apprehension. See here.
 
Arthritis Inflammation of a joint - the 2 most common are OA (Osteoarthritis) & RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). See here.
   
AS see Ankylosing Spondylitis above.
 
Asymptomatic Having a disease, but (as yet) without symptoms (e.g. ‘subclinical’) or a disease with usually no symptoms, e.g. high blood pressure.
   
ATP see Adenosine Triphosphate above.
 
Autoimmune Disease An overactive immune response of the body attacking its own cells that can affect any part of the body.
   
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Part of the nervous system that involuntarily controls the body’s internal environment, e.g. the muscle of the heart. See here.
   
B
 
Biochemical Relating to biochemistry; characterized by, produced by, or involving chemical reactions in living organisms.
 
Biomarker A biochemical feature or facet that can be used to measure the progress of disease or the effects of treatment.  
     
Biopschosocial (BPS.) An inter-disciplinary model that looks at the interconnection between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors.  
     
Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS, also PBS.) A condition with pelvic pain and problems peeing. Interstitial cystitis (IC) is an inflammatory subtype, here.  
     
BPS See both biopsychosocial and Bladder Pain Syndrome above.  
     
Brain fog Mental confusion and forgetfulness that can accompany conditions like fibromyalgia or COVID-19 recovery. Also known as fibro fog when accompanying a fibromyalgia flare.
 
Bruxism A disorder characterized by grinding and clenching of the teeth. See here.
 
C
   
CAM See Complementary and alternative medicine below.
   
Cannabis (medical) (MMJ = Medic(in)al) Marijuana), brand names such as 'Sativex'. Cannabis based medicine. Cannabis contains (relaxing) CBD (cannabidiol) and the (psychoactive) THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD-products contain hardly any THC, MMJ contain both. See here.
   
Cartilage A tough, resilient tissue that covers and cushions the ends of the bones and absorbs shock. Damage by joint injuries see here.
   
CBD Cannabidiol, substance in cannabis. See Cannabis above.
   
CBT see Cognitive Behavioural Therapy below.
   
Central Nervous System The brain and spinal cord. See here.
   
Central Sensitisation or Sensitivity (Syndrome) (CSS) Increased excitability of the central nervous system nerve cells in response to a stimulus (more/earlier). Categorized as nociplastic pain, a third type of pain mechanism. See here and here.
   
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Clear fluid that flows in the cavities between brain, skull & spinal cord, acting as shock absorber for the Central Nervous System.
   
C-fibres Slow-acting nociceptive nerves deeper in the body, which transmit chronic pain messages
   
CFS(/ME) see Chronic Fatigue Syndrome below.
   
Chiropractic, Chiropractor Chiropractors treat problems with bones, muscles and joints using their hands. See here. A form of complementary medicine.
   
Chronic Means lasting a long time, persisting or recurrent. In case of fibro pain > 3 months.
   
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS(/ME)) Prolonged extreme tiredness/fatigue that does not go away and is accompanied by many other symptoms. Alternatively called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or together ME/CFS or CFS/ME. See here.
   
CNS see Central Nervous System above.
   
Coccydinia Tailbone pain. See here.
   
Coexistent Existing together or at the same time.
   
Cognition The process of being aware, knowing, thinking, learning and judging.
   
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) A talking therapy/treatment based on a person's emotional, behavioural reactions and thought patterns.  Can help you to change how you 'think' (cognitive) and 'what to do' (behaviour). See here and here.
   
Collagen The main structural protein of skin, tendon, bone cartilage, and connective tissues.
   
Comorbidity Existence of other diseases or medical conditions in addition to the primary medical problem.
   
Complementary (alternative) medicine (CAM) Treatment types that falls outside of mainstream care. See here.
   
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) Condition with severe pain. See here.
   
Connective Tissue Supports the body and connects, binds & supports other tissues together.
   
Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) Hormone made by hypothalamus which stimulates the release of corticotropin by the anterior pituitary gland.
   
Cortisol The 'primary' stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Its secretion increases during the 'fight or flight' response. - When used as a medication it is called hydrocortisone, often misnamed cortisone, see below.
   
Cortisone Cortisone – like cortisol – belongs to the glucocorticoid class of corticosteroids (a class of steroid hormones), also used as medication. Hydrocortisone, often misnamed “cortisone”, e.g. in asthma inhalers, is an artificial form of cortisol, and acts like it.
   
Costochondritis Inflammation of the cartilage that connects the inner end of each rib with the breastbone (sternum). See here.
   
Counselling Talking therapy to deal with emotional issues. See here.
   
CRH see Corticotropin-releasing hormone above.
   
CRPS see Complex regional pain syndrome above.
   
CSF see Cerebrospinal fluid above.
   
CSS see Central Sensitisation and nociplastic pain above.
 
Cymbalta Brand name for duloxetine (hydrochloride) - an SSRI antidepressant, the 2nd of 3 drugs approved for fibromyalgia by the US FDA, in 2008.
 
Cytokines Non-antibody proteins produced by cells to interact with and regulate the cells of the immune system. IL-6 and IL-8 belong to the pro-inflammatory ones and may be too much in FM, whilst IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 belong to the anti-inflammatory ones and may be reduced.
   
D
 
Degenerative Progressive impairment of both the structure and function of a part of the body. See here.
   
Depression  An illness with feelings of grief, hopelessness, sadness or low energy, that is different from the normal. See here.
 
Diagnosis The identification or determination of the nature of the cause of a disease, either by process of elimination or other analytical methods. See here.
 
Dopamine A neurotransmitter that affects the part of the brain that controls movement and plays a part in experiences of desire, pleasure or pain.
 
Dorsal Horn Part of the spinal cord at the back of the body that acts as a gate for pain messages.
   
Duloxetine Brand name ‘Cymbalta', an SSRI antidepressant, used for FM.
   
Dysautonomia Abnormal function of the autonomic nervous system.
 
Dysmenorrhoea Difficult menstrual flow or painful menstruation. See here.
 
Dysfunction Difficult, abnormal or impaired function of an organ or bodily system.
 
E
 
Endocrine System Consists of glands that release hormones and is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
 
Endorphins Biochemicals of the body, acting as a natural painkiller and able to give a natural sense of well being.
   
ESA 1) The benefit 'Employment Support Allowance' or 2) Emotional Support Animal.
   
EULAR The European League Against Rheumatism is the organisation which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations.
 
F
 
Fatigue Known as weariness, tiredness, exhaustion or lethargy, generally defined as a feeling of lack of energy.  A feeling of apathy and the desire to sleep, but not like drowsiness.
   
FDA (also USFDA) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Responsible for the regulation of foods, drugs (medicines) and vaccines in the U.S. etc. See here.
   
Fibro fog Brain fog with mental confusion and forgetfulness that can accompany various conditions, in this case a fibromyalgia flare.
 
Fibromyalgia (Syndrome) A condition with widespread long-term pain and various further symptoms such as increased sensitivity to pain, tiredness/fatigue, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, fibro fog, headaches and IBS. Whether it is a syndrome or not is a matter of increasing debate about classification, see “Syndrome” below. See here.
 
Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) An assessment and evaluation tool used to measure a fibro patient's status, progress and outcomes. Used in research. FIQR is the revised (R) version. Sample here.
 
Flare (up) An increase (“exacerbation”) of symptoms such as achiness, discomfort, fatigue, pain & stiffness.
 
FM(S) see Fibromalgia (Syndrome).
   
FND see Functional neurological disorder below.
   
Food allergy, food intolerance Allergy: Unusual reaction of the body’s immune system to specific foods. Intolerance: Difficulty digesting, unpleasant reaction to specific foods. See here and here.
   
Folate Usual name for vitamin B9. Deficiency of this or vitamin B12 can cause typical fibromyalgia symptoms. See here.
   
Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) Movement disorders like tremors, jerks; limb weakness, sensory symptoms, blackouts; and more. See here.
 
G
 
Gabapentin Anti-seizure drug often used to treat chronic pain. Brand name ‘Neurontin’ and others. Related to pregabalin (‘Lyrica’). See here.
   
GAD See Generalized Anxiety Disorder below.
   
Gate Control Theory Theory according to which a non-painful stimulus is thought to reduce pain travelling to the brain (central nervous system, CNS). Article here. Example: The current of a TENS unit stimulates nerve fibres to carry signals relating to touch which travel to the spinal cord and temporarily block the transition of some of the pain sensation to the brain.
   
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than a specific event. See here.
   
Genetic Predisposition /susceptibility Increased likelihood to inherit a disease or specific characteristics of it.
   
GORD (GERD) Gastro-(o)esophagal reflux disease is when heartburn and acid reflux happen often. See there and here.
 
Growth Hormone (GH; Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone = GHRH) Produced during delta sleep and involved in tissue repair. Therefore, disrupted stage 4 (delta) sleep associated with fibromyalgia may account for low levels of growth hormone. More info.
 
H
 
Heartburn and acid reflux Burning feeling caused by stomach acid coming up to the throat. Called GERD/GORD if it happens often.
   
Heterogeneous Different or composed of parts of different kinds or having widely dissimilar elements or constituents. - There is not a typical fibro person, and lots of diverse groups within our community: no one size fits all.
   
Hippocampus An area buried deep in the forebrain that helps regulate emotion and memory. It is part of the olfactory cortex, the part of the cerebral cortex vital for the sense of smell. See here.
   
HMS (HS) see Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder below.
   
Homeopathy A complementary treatment using highly diluted substances. The NHS recommends to stop providing it, due to lack of evidence of effectiveness. See here.
   
Hormones Chemicals produced by glands in the body that circulate in the blood, acting as messengers having effects on body tissues.
   
Hyperacusis Noise sensitivity. See here.
 
Hyperalgesia Extreme sensitivity to pain.
   
Hyperglycaemia An abnormally excessive concentration of glucose in the blood.
   
Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD), previously Hypermobility Syndrome (HS, HMS) and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS). Heritable connective tissue disorder with increased range of joint movement. See here and here.
   
Hypersomnia Excessive daytime sleepiness. See here.
   
Hypertension High blood pressure. See here.
 
Hypoglycaemia An abnormally diminished concentration of glucose in the blood.
 
Hypotension Low blood pressure. See here.
 
Hypothalamus Part of the brain that regulates blood pressure, hunger, body temperature, thirst, fatigue and sleep. See here. 
 
I
 
IBS see Irritable Bowel Syndrome below.
   
IC see Interstitial Cystitis below.
   
Idiopathic Pertaining to conditions without clear cause or of spontaneous origin.
   
 IGF Insulin Growth Factor: Hormone involved in releasing growth hormone during sleep.
   
Ig see Immunoglobulin (antibody)
   
IgG Immunoglobulin G: Very common antibody.
   
Immunoglobulin (= antibody) A type of protein produced by the immune system when it detects harmful antigens (bacteria, fungi, parasites & viruses).
   
Immunological Pertaining to the immune system, its functions of cells and antibodies etc.
 
Inflammation A characteristic reaction of tissues to injury or disease. It is marked by four signs: swelling, redness, heat, and pain.
   
Influenza (flu) Can be used in explanations to help those without the condition relate to the symptoms that are experienced, e.g. “Imagine you had the flu and then completed 10 laps of a pool...” (See here.)
   
Insomnia Sleeplessness, sleep disorder often associated with fibromyalgia. See here.
 
Intercostal Between the ribs.
   
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) A subgroup of BPS/PBS with bladder inflammation. See here.
   
Irritable Bladder Condition of the bladder marked by a sudden strong or irresistible urge to urinate.  There is however no pain associated with the condition even if there may be some discomfort in the urinary bladder. (Also: Overactive Bladder, OAB.)
   
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - a common gut disorder. See here and here.
   
 J  
   
 Juvenile Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia in children & adolescents. See here.
 
L
 
   
“Leaky Gut Syndrome” Proponents claim symptoms are being caused by substances absorbed by the blood stream due to an overly porous bowel, with little evidence for the theory or their treatments. See here.
   
Ligaments A band of tough fibrous tissue connecting bones to other bones in joints and control its range of movement.
   
Limbic System Part of the brain involved in many of our emotions or motivations, particularly survival.
 
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Opiate antagonist that in low dose has had some pilot clinical study success in managing fibromyalgia. Not licensed for it. See here.
   
Lupus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) - Autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and injures the body’s own organs and tissues. See here.
 
Lyrica A brand name of pregabalin. Anti-seizure drug often used for chronic pain. First prescribed drug approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia (2007). Related to gabapentin (‘Neurontin’ and others). See here.

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