Acupuncture A traditional Chinese medicine that involves the use of needles to restore the flow of energy in the body to promote health.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) The body's primary source of fuel, produced in the mitochondria of body cells.
Adrenal depletion A condition in which the adrenal glands fail to produce enough stress hormones, causing extreme exhaustion.
Adrenaline A stress hormone that occurs in higher-than-normal levels in people with fibromyalgia.
Allodynia A condition in which normally bearable sensations become painful.
Alpha-EEG anomaly A sleep disorder characterized by the intrusion of alpha waves during stages of deep sleep. Alpha waves are associated with a state of being awake but relaxed.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) A law that prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees from discriminating against people with disabilities in decisions about hiring and employment.
Analgesics Drugs that relieve pain. They may be narcotic or non-narcotic.
Anticonvulsants Medications used to treat neuro-pathic pain that can sometimes treat fibromyalgia pain.
Autonomic nervous system The part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary bodily functions and processes.
Benzodiazepines A class of drugs that work as both antianxiety and antidepressant medications.
Biofeedback A form of alternative therapy that trains the mind to control physical responses as measured on special instruments.
Botulinum A (Botox) A drug that can be injected to paralyze the muscles that cause painful spasms in fibromyalgia.
Bruxism Grinding and clenching of the teeth at night, often caused by stress, that may lead to TMJ.
Candida hypersensitivity syndrome A condition caused by the overgrowth of candida albicans, a yeast.
Capsaicin A substance in hot chili peppers that is used in topical creams.
Central nervous system The part of the nervous system that includes the brain and spine.
Central sensitization A condition resulting from stimulation of the pain fibers that is overly intense or goes on for too long.
Cervical stenosis A condition that occurs when the spinal canal is too narrow for the spinal cord.
C-fiber Slow-moving nerve fibers that are highly sensitive to chemical, mechanical, or thermal energy.
Chiari malformation A condition in which the cerebellum protrudes through the bottom of the skull into the spinal canal, causing poor circulation of cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the spinal cord.
Chiropractics A medical treatment that involves realigning the spine to bring about healing.
Chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome (CFIDS) A condition characterized by severe fatigue that has lasted six months or more.
Chronic myofascial pain Persistent muscle pain associated with small spastic knots in the muscles.
Clinical trials Research done in human volunteers to determine the efficacy of medications, surgeries, devices, or procedures.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) Therapies that are not considered mainstream in Western medicine and that are used alongside conventional therapies.
Cortisol A stress hormone that occurs in higher than normal levels in people with fibromyalgia.
Cytokines Proteins produced by white blood cells that help regulate immune function and which are elevated in people with CFIDs.
Deep tissue massage A vigorous form of massage designed to loosen inflexible muscles.
Depression A mood disorder characterized by extreme sadness that is common in fibromyalgia.
Endocrinologists Medical doctors who specialize in treating the body's endocrine system, which regulates hormones.
Endorphins Substances produced by the body that can help relieve pain and promote a feel-good response.
Fibro fog A term that refers to the cognitive dysfunctions caused by fibromyalgia, including problems with memory and concentration.
Fibromyalgia A medical syndrome characterized by widespread pain, sleep disturbance, and tender points around the body.
Guaifenesin A cough-syrup ingredient that is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia.
Guided imagery The use of positive images to promote good health.
HPA axis The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is involved in releasing hormones that aid in the process of coping with stress.
Growth hormone A hormone responsible for repairing muscles that is reduced in people with fibromyalgia.
Hyperalgesia A condition in which mildly painful events become very painful.
Hypothyroidism A condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, causing fatigue. The condition resembles fibromyalgia and may also coexist with it.
Interstitial cystitis Chronic hyperactivity of the bladder that can cause discomfort and pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region.
Irritable bowel syndrome A chronic gastrointestinal condition characterized by cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, common in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Lidocaine A local anesthesia used in injections for fibro pain relief.
Lupus An autoimmune disorder characterized by fatigue, painful joints, rash, and fever that may resemble or coexist with fibromyalgia.
Lyme disease A bacterial disease transmitted by ticks that can cause symptoms that resemble fibromyalgia or may trigger FMS.
Massage The manual manipulation of soft body tissues to promote relaxation, increase blood flow, and reduce muscle tension.
Milnacipran The first in a new class of antidepressants, known as norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitors (NSRIs), being researched as a new drug for treatment of fibromyalgia.
Mixed reuptake inhibitor Antidepressants that work by balancing the amounts of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors An older class of antidepressants, used less often these days due to side effects.
Multiple chemical sensitivities Hypersensitivity to smells, noises, and chemicals in the surrounding environment. Also called idiopathic environmental intolerances.
Multiple sclerosis An autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the nervous system, causing varying neurological problems.
Myofascial release A form of massage designed to relieve tightness and restricted movement in the fibrous or connective tissue.
Narcotics Painkilling drugs derived from the poppy plant that interfere with the receptors in the body that transmit pain.
Neurologist A medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Nociceptors Receptors at the end of nerve fibers that detect actual or potential tissue damage.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) A category of analgesics that alleviate pain by reducing inflammation.
Occupational therapist A health-care professional who helps patients learn new ways of movement that minimize pain and strain.
Osteoarthritis A degenerative condition in which the cartilage cushioning bones is eroded.
Osteopathic physicians A health-care practitioner trained in osteopathy, a health science that places greater emphasis on treating the whole body and that stresses prevention and health maintenance.
Peripheral thyroid resistance A condition in which body tissue becomes resistant to thyroid hormones.
Periodic limb movements during sleep A condition characterized by purposeless maneuvers of the legs and feet during sleep.
Peripheral nervous system An elaborate network of nerve fibers that receives information from inside and outside the body and then relays it to the brain.
Pharmacologist Pharmacy-trained professionals who specialize in helping patients who take numerous or unusual medications.
Physiatrist A doctor who specializes in physical medicine and works to restore function in injured muscles and joints.
Physical therapist A health-care professional who helps patients cope with pain or recover from illness or surgery.
Placebo effect A phenomenon in which healing is brought about simply by the patient's belief that a treatment will work.
Polymyalgia rheumatica An arthritic condition caused by inflammation triggered by the immune system.
Pramipexole (Mirapex) A drug used to treat Parkinson's and restless legs syndrome that is being studied as a treatment for fibromyalgia.
Pyridostigmine (Mestinon) A treatment for myasthenia gravis that is being studied as a drug for treatment of fibromyalgia.
Raynaud's phenomenon Vasospasms of the blood vessels in the extremities that causes coldness in the fingers, toes, and tips of the ears or nose.
Reiki A Japanese treatment that uses the channeling of energy to promote healing.
Restless legs syndrome A condition that typically occurs at night and makes the legs feel twitchy, uneasy, and tingly. It is common in fibro patients.
Retrograde research The study of patients who have recovered from an illness to determine what helped in their recovery.
Rheumatic disease Conditions characterized by inflammation in muscles, joints, and fibrous tissue. People with rheumatic illnesses are at greater risk for fibromyalgia.
Rheumatoid arthritis An autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joints that may resemble or coexist with fibromyalgia.
Rheumatologist A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of autoimmune disorders.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) A newer category of antidepressants that work by blocking the removal of serotonin.
Sensory somatic nervous system The part of the nervous system responsible for voluntary and involuntary movement in response to external stimuli.
Serotonin A neurotransmitter involved in regulating pain and mood that is deficient in fibromyalgia patients.
Sleep apnea A condition in which breathing is temporarily obstructed during sleep, causing poor sleep quality.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) A type of financial assistance provided by the Social Security Administration for workers under the age of sixty-five who can no longer work or who have lost income due to disability.
Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) A drug used to treat a form of narcolepsy that is being studied as a treatment for fibromyalgia.
Somatostatin A hormone that occurs in abundance in people with fibromyalgia and that inhibits growth hormone.
Substance P A chemical that increases your nerves' sensitivity to pain and that is found in higher levels in the spinal fluid of people with FMS.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) A form of financial assistance from the Social Security Administration for disabled people who have limited income and who may not have worked in the past.
Swedish massage A gentle form of massage that does not use much pressure on body tissues.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) A condition affecting the joint connecting the lower and upper jaws that can cause stiffness, headaches, and clicking noises. It is common in people with fibromyalgia.
Tender points Places located around the body that are used to monitor pain sensitivity and to help diagnose fibromyalgia.
Tricyclic antidepressants Medications for depression that have been used to treat fibromyalgia by restoring chemical imbalances and inducing sleep.
Trigger point A small spastic knot that causes local pain but can also send or refer pain to other parts of the body.
Trigger-point therapy A treatment that involves stretching and deep manual pressure to relax knotted muscles and relieve pain.
Vulvodynia Chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva, or external female genitalia.
Wind-up phenomenon A significant increase in your response to pain caused by central sensitization.