Glossary

Glossary

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There are currently 33 names in this directory
Central Sensitization / Opioid-induced
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Cervicogenic Headache
Cervicogenic (say: SUR-vico jen-IK) headache is not a single disorder. It means that the source of headache is a problem in the neck. This can come from a wide range of other causes, from traumatic injury to arthritis. The International Headache Society is responsible for classifying headaches and deciding what to call them.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Enchephalomyelitis (say: my-AL-jic en-sef-uh-loh-may-ug-LAHY-tis) are terms used in place of each other. In Canada, this complex, often debilitating medical disorder is known as ME/CFS. In 2003, Health Canada wrote a clinical case definition of ME/CFS. It is: “an acquired illness that affects all body systems, predominantly (mostly) the neurological, endocrine, and immune systems.

Chronic Pelvic Pain in Men
Chronic pelvic pain is the most common reason for men under 50 to visit a urologist. Yet it is very poorly understood. Doctors have called it prostatitis (say: pros-tuh-TIE-tis) for many years, mainly because when the doctor does the exam on a man with this condition, the prostate is very tender. “-itis” means inflammation.

Cluster Headache
Cluster (say: KLUHS-ter) headache is less common than migraine or tension-type headache. It occurrs in about 1 in 1,000 people. Men are much more likely than women to have cluster headaches. The term cluster refers to the fact that the headaches, while brief, occur in clusters of several headaches per day, often at around the same time.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a disorder that was known before as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (say: ree-FLEKS sim-puh-THET-ik DIS-truh-fee). It has also been known by many other names, since it was first described by surgeons during the American Civil War.

Degenerative Disc Disease
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Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrium (which normally covers the inside of the uterus in women) outside the uterus. It most often develops in other places in the pelvis, including other parts of the female reproductive organs, or around the bowel or bladder. This does not necessarily cause any problems at all, but depending on where the growths are, there may be pain or fertility problems.

Facet Arthropathy
The facet (say: FAS-it) joints (more properly called zygapophyseal joints) are the places where the vertebrae in the spine connect. They keep the vertebrae from moving too much as you flex, extend, and rotate the spine.

Fibromyalgia or Widespread Pain
Many chronic pain patients have more than one pain problem and may develop new pain as time goes on. In fact, some will develop widespread pain, which goes along with other symptoms related to hyperactivity in the nervous system. This constellation of symptoms is often called fibromyalgia (say: fie-bro-my-ALH-uh).

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s/Ulcerative Colitis)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. This can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the bowel movements, and weight loss. The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis, which affects the lower part of the large intestine, and Crohn’s disease, which can affect any part of the digestive tract.

Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder Pain)
Interstitial Cystitis or Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS) is a condition that involves pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen, as well as urinary symptoms. It is four times more likely to occur in women than in men. It is often seen with fibromyalgia or similar disorders. Symptoms can range from very mild to very disabling.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that involves abdominal pain and bloating. Some people get constipated with IBS, others get diarrhea, and others have both constipation and diarrhea at different times.

Migraine
Migraine (say: my-greyn) is a very common disorder. About 12% of women (12 out 100) and 6% (6 out 100) of men have migraines. It is by far the most common diagnosis in people who see a doctor for their headaches. The headaches are often very severe. Most people get migraines only every once in a while (episodic migraine).

Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). MS damages the protective coating around nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. This coating helps nerves communicate with each other, and so MS slows down nerve conduction. No one knows what causes it, and there is no completely effective cure.

Myofascial Syndromes
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Neuropathic Pain
There are many definitions of neuropathic (say: noor-uh-PATH-ik) pain. This makes diagnosing and treating it somewhat difficult. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines neuropathic pain as pain that is caused by a problem in the nervous system. This is a very broad definition. In general, it can be split into two types: peripheral and central.

Osteoarthritis (OA)
Arthritis (say: ar-THRIE-tis) means "pain in the joints". It is a very general description that applies to more than 100 specific disorders. Osteoarthritis (or OA for short) is one of the most common of these. It affects about one in ten people.

Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathies (say: die-uh-BET-ik noo-ROP-e-thees) are a group of disorders that can cause pain, along with numbness, weakness, or odd sensations. Up to 70% (7 out of 10) of people who have diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2) have some form of neuropathy. This can involve the hands, feet, arms, and legs. It can sometimes also affect the digestive tract, heart, or sex organs.

Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis (say: pir-uh-FOR-mis) muscle runs from the sacrum in the lower part of the spine, across the sacro-iliac joint to the top of the thigh bone, or femur. The sciatic nerve runs directly under this muscle. When the muscle becomes tight or spasms, it may cause a brief irritation of the nerve.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. The hands and wrists are often affected, but any joint can be involved. This is the most common symptom of RA, but it can sometimes also involve inflammation in other parts of the body, including the eyes and mouth, the blood vessels, the lungs, or the covering of the heart.

Sacro-iliac Joint Pain
The sacro-iliac (say: sey-kroh-IL-ee-ak) joint can be one of the causes of mechanical low back pain. It is often seen with other causes of low back pain. The sacro-iliac joint lies between the sacrum and the iliac crests of the pelvic bones. The sacrum is the bone at the bottom of your spine just above the tailbone.

Sciatica
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Shingles and Post-herpetic Neuralgia
Shingles (say: SHING-uhlz) (or herpes zoster infection) is a painful condition that affects certain areas of the skin. It follows a chicken pox (or varicella zoster) infection — the kind that usually happens in childhood.

Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis (say: sti-NOH-sis) is a narrowing of areas in the spine that causes irritation of the spinal cord or the nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord. This is most common after the age of 50, but can happen in younger people if they are born with abnormalities in the spine or if they suffer injuries to the spine.

Stroke
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. Stroke can also happen when a blood vessel bursts and causes bleeding in the brain. In either case, brain cells are damaged. This can cause muscle weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache, and dizziness.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an auto-immune disease. This means that there is a problem with the body’s immune system. The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats by responding to infections, tumours, or injuries. In auto-immune diseases, the body cannot tell the difference between what is threatening and what is normal, so it attacks normal parts of the body. There are many different kinds of auto-immune diseases, and SLE is only one of them.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
The temporomandibular (say: tem-puh-ro-man-DIB-yuh-ler) joint is the place where your lower jaw (mandible) attaches to your skull. It is the joint that allows you to open and close your jaw. There is a shock-absorbing disc between the two parts of the joint (similar to the discs in your spine). There is also a set of specialized muscles that control movement of the joint.

Tension type headache
Tension type headache (TTH) is the most common headache type. About 40% (40 out of 100) of people have had a TTH. They are most often less severe than migraine headaches. A small number of people will have very severe TTH. When they are very severe, or happen very often, they can be very hard to tell apart from migraine.

Traumatic brain injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when there is a sudden impact to the head causing injury to the brain. This can range from a mild concussion after a sports injury to a coma and severe brain damage after a motor vehicle collision.

Trigeminal Neuralgia and Atypical Facial Pain
Trigeminal neuralgia (say: try-GEM-uh-nuhl noo-RAHL-juh) is a very specific kind of facial pain that involves the trigeminal nerve (or fifth cranial nerve). It has also been called "tic douloureux," because of the way that the pain can be very sudden and cause spasms in the facial muscles. It is fairly rare, with only four or five people in 100,000 affected.

Vulvodynia or Pudendal Neuralgia
Vulvodynia (say: vul-vo-DYNE-ee-uh) is a word used to describe pain that involves the vulva. The vulva is the area around the vagina. This pain can come from many different sources. The symptoms can range from quite mild to very severe.

Whiplash-associated Disorder
The cervical vertebrae are the topmost seven bones of the spinal column. Important nerves exit between each of these vertebrae. The vertebral arteries run through small holes in the boney processes that are at the sides of these vertebrae.