The History of Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia is not a new disease. Although the name has changed, there have been many references to the condition throughout history.

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An article on National Health Research explains that patients have been presenting symptoms of fibromyalgia for centuries. Back in 1592, a French doctor coined the term “rheumatism” to reference patients who were experiencing musculoskeletal pain which couldn’t be attributed to any injury. Guillaume de Baillou’s term would have also covered other conditions such as arthritis and was later changed by physicians to “muscular rheumatism.”

It was a Scottish surgeon, William Balfour, who discovered that fibromyalgia was a connective tissue disease when he saw nodules on connective tissues during surgeries. He was the first doctor to describe what is now universally accepted as the pressure points used to diagnose the disease back in 1815.

Over the decades, the term used for fibromyalgia has changed intermittently with terms such as neurasthenia, myelasthenia, myogeloses, and fibrositis, before it became known as fibromyalgia in 1976.

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