Fibromyalgia Glossary: Part 5
There’s a lot of medical terminology used in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia. Educating yourself is one of the keys to getting a proper diagnosis and correct treatment, so it’s important to know what the doctors are talking about.
This is Part Five of a six-part glossary that gives a plain-English overview of some of the most common terms you might come across during your fibro research or when talking to doctors.
Naturopathic. This term might come up when you’re seeking ways to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It refers to a system of treatment that doesn’t involve surgery or the use of drugs. It focuses on natural agents (like emu oil and aromatherapy) and physical means (like massage treatment and meditative breathing).
Neuroendocrine System. Hormones and steroids can often be the cause of the widespread pain of fibromyalgia. They are released by the neuroendocrine system, a complex system of glands and brain structures. The system is also responsible for releasing neuropeptides which contribute to the transmission of pain signals and the suppression of pain sensations.
The neuroendocrine system works with the nervous systems and the immune system and has a significant impact on fatigue, sleep regulation and the way a person handles stress.
NSAID. This is an abbreviation for Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. These medications can relieve swelling and pain. Over the counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen and aspirin. Prescription NSAIDs include Cox-2 inhibitors.
These types of medications are frequently used to reduce inflammation and pain from illnesses like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. They are also often prescribed to sufferers of fibromyalgia even though the syndrome is not an inflammatory disease like the ones listed.
NSAIDs alter pain transmission of the central nervous system which can provide some pain relief to sufferers. NSAIDs are not effective for every person who has the condition.
Overlapping condition. This refers to an associated condition or secondary illness that a patient might have along with the primary illness. Fibromyalgia can be a primary illness, but it can also be an overlapping condition. For example, it’s possible to have fibromyalgia as the primary condition with an overlapping condition of restless leg syndrome. It’s also possible to have a primary illness like multiple sclerosis and the overlapping condition of fibromyalgia.
PASI. An abbreviation for Patient Specific Index, which is a form of fibro diagnosis you might experience. It involves asking patients to rate a list of 21 complaints for severity. The PASI is a method of self reporting where severity and importance of the complaints are rated on an ordinal rating scale with seven categories. The patient can add additional complaints to the list and rate them. Final scores are standardized by dividing by the highest possible score for that patient and multiplying that number by 100.
Peer Review. You might come across this term when searching for reputable research on fibromyalgia. Peer-reviewed medical journals or proposals are one of the best types of sources for information. This type of journal or proposal means that the results and content have been reviewed by a number of independent people, usually those in the medical community.
It’s important to note that simply saying content is peer reviewed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s reputable. It depends entirely on the peer group doing the reviewing. It’s possible to truthfully say an article or publication is peer reviewed if, for example, a number of fibromyalgia patients read it and rated it as good and worthy of publication. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the information is medically accurate.
Placebo. Is a fake treatment where the capsule or tablet has no active ingredients. They’re often used in clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the real drug. They look identical to the real drug.