Reviewing history, Fibromyalgia Syndrome has been described as ‘a chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness
, and stiffness in muscles, as well as general fatigue.’ The history of fibromyalgia shows that it is not a new condition, it was first described in the early 1800s. Physicians then recognized and wrote about a condition they called muscular rheumatism, and described the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia
, of what we now call Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Fibermyalgia has also been called chronic rheumatism, myalgia, and fibrositis.
Since the early 1800′s, physicians have written about a condition involving fatigue, stiffness, aches, pains, and disturbed sleep
, which lacked diagnostic explanation, calling it muscular rheumatism. In 1824, a physician in Edinburgh described tender points. A psychiatrist in the U.S. wrote in 1880 about a collection of symptoms consisting of fatigue, widespread pain, and psychological disturbances, he called it neurasthenia and attributed it to the stress of modern life.
In 1904, Sir William Gowers introduced the term “fibrositis” (“fibro” means fibrous; “itis” means inflammation) into the medical lexicon to denote the sore points found in patients with muscular rheumatism. When no evidence of inflammation could be found, physicians realized the term “fibrositis” was incorrect. In 1976, “fibromyalgia” (“my” means muscle; “algia” means pain) was introduced to replace the misnomer “fibrositis” coined by Gowers.
In 1913 in the British Medical Journal, a physician by the name of Luff talked about the factors of fibrositis. He noted that the symptoms grew worse when the barometric pressure lowered and rain was approaching. People with Fibermyalgia symptoms today are familiar with this phenomena. Luff’s article also talked about temperature variations, fevers, infections and motor vehicle accidents. He also drew the connection between “growing pains” in children and fibrositis (Williamson, 1996, p. 16). We now know that fibrositis is the wrong name, because there really is not inflammation in people with fibromyalgia.
In 1987, it was first recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a “true” illness and the cause of disability. In an article that same year, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a physician named Goldenberg called the syndrome fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, fms has also been called a “wastebasket” diagnosis and a fad disease. It is neither. Many physicans do not know how to diagnose Fibromyalgia, and even fewer receive training in the proper way to diagnose the condition. A better understanding of Fibromyalgia Syndrome is slow in coming, but things are getting better. More and more medical schools are educating new Physicians about this illness.
1. ME Williamson, Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach, (New York: Walker and Company, 1996).
2. Your Personal Guide to Living Well with Fibromyalgia. (1997), The Arthritis Foundation. Atlanta, GA.
3. S Krsnich–Shriwise, “Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An Overview,” Physical Therapy
77, January (1997): 68-75.
The History of FIBROMYALGIA is constantly changing as more information is being discovered. Take control of your health today and go beyond the symptoms of fibromyalgia.