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History of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Is Not a New Disease

But it was not until recently that fibromyalgia has begun to be understood and accepted.

  • Fibromyalgia was once thought to be a mental disorder. It was first described by doctors in the early 1800s. They wrote about a health condition called “muscular rheumatism.” The symptoms were stiffness, aches, pains, tiredness, and difficulty sleeping
  • A doctor in Scotland first described the tender points of fibromyalgia in the early 1820s
  • Eighty years later, the term “fibrositis” was first used. Because inflammation (swelling) was thought to be a cause of the pain, the ending “itis” was given
  • In 1976, the name of the condition was changed to “fibromyalgia.” Swelling in the body was no longer believed to be the cause of pain

The term fibromyalgia is taken from Latin and Greek words:

  • Fibra (Latin) means fibrous tissue and has to do with painful tendons and ligaments
  • Myos (Greek) means muscles
  • Algos (Greek) means pain

Studies Prove Fibromyalgia Is a Real Medical Condition

Year Event
1981 The first scientific study confirmed that symptoms and tender points could be found in the body.

1990 The American College of Rheumatology wrote the first set of guidelines to help diagnose fibromyalgia.

2005 The first guidelines for treating fibromyalgia pain were published by the American Pain Society.

2007 The first prescription medication was FDA-approved to manage fibromyalgia.

The Outlook Has Never Been Better for People Living With Fibromyalgia

Researchers continue to learn more about fibromyalgia. As they do, they may also find new medications and other treatments to help manage fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms.

“Fibromyalgia impacts my life on a daily basis. But it isn’t my life. My life today is actually better than it was. It's a different life, but it's a better life.”
Read Valerie’s fibromyalgia story