What is the nomenclature for fibromyalgia?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Although descriptions of the symptom complex now termed fibromyalgia have existed since earliest recorded history, the terminology used to refer to the condition has changed numerous times.

The first specific term, muscular rheumatism , was used in the early 19th century by surgeon William Balfour to describe a condition comprising disturbed sleep, fatigue, stiffness, and pain for which there was no explanation. [12] Balfour later described anatomic tender points accompanying the disorder that could be used in identification. In 1880, neurologist George Beard coined a new term, neurasthenia, characterized by a combination of symptoms including fatigue, widespread pain, and anhedonia. [13]

In 1904, Gowers renamed the disorder fibrositis after his incorrect belief that the disorder was caused by inflammation in muscle fascia. [14] Chaitrow asserts that no inflammatory process has ever been found to be part of this disease. [15] The syndrome was renamed fibromyalgia by Yunus et al in their seminal 1981 article derived from the Latin root fibro (fibrous tissue) and the Greek roots myo (muscles) and algos (pain). [16]


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