The History of Fibromyalgia. Its Horrible…!

You sometimes hear fibromyalgia referred to as a “fad diagnosis” or “new disease,” but the truth is that fibromyalgia is far from new. It has centuries of history, with multiple name changes and discarded theories along the way.

While it hasn’t always been accepted by the medical community, and today its acceptance isn’t universal, fibromyalgia has come a long way and current research continues to offer proof that it’s a very real physiological illness.

The most-often cited historical account of fibromyalgia comes from a 2004 paper by researchers Fatma Inanici and Muhammad B. Yunus. This history was compiled from their work as well as new information from the past decade. (All sources are cited at the end of the article.)

Back to the Beginning – 1592-1900
Early on, doctors didn’t have separate definitions for all the pain conditions we recognize today. Descriptions and terminology started out broad and gradually were narrowed down.

In 1592, French physician Guillaume de Baillou introduced the term “rheumatism ” to describe musculoskeletal pain that didn’t originate from injury. This was a broad term that would have included fibromyalgia as well as arthritis and many other illnesses. Eventually, doctors began to use “muscular rheumatism” for painful conditions that, like fibromyalgia, didn’t cause deformity.

Two-hundred years later, definitions still were rather vague.

Love Your Heart This February

The heart is one of the body’s most important organs, powering everything we do. In partnership with Cleveland Clinic, here’s what to know for heart-healthy living.

However, in 1815, Scottish surgeon William Balfour noted nodules on connective tissues and theorized that inflammation could be behind both the nodules and pain. He was also the first to describe tender points (which would later be used to diagnose fibromyalgia.)

A few decades later, French doctor Francios Valleix used the term “neuralgia” to describe what he believed was referred pain from tender points traveling along the nerves.

Author: Fibro Warrior

2 thoughts on “The History of Fibromyalgia. Its Horrible…!

  1. Such an interesting article, this information needs to be made widely available. For me diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 13 and then told in my 30s I had crohns disease and the rheumatologist said it was related to that. In my 50s being diagnosed with fibromyalgia after yrs of hell, I didn’t understand and felt like a fraud but as I increase my understanding reading articles like this it eases my mind if not my pain. Thank you

Leave a Reply