The History of Fibromyalgia

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

MORE: Find out about the challenges of being pregnant with fibromyalgia. 

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 excepted 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.

MORE: Discover nine possible causes of fibromyalgia to discuss with your doctor.

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

One comment

  1. Denise Bault says:

    Your link to find out more about the history does not work. Too bad. I had previously read that medical docs from the 1890’s had referred to what we now call fibromyalgia. Would like to have read more about it.

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