brief history of fibromyalgia
The term Fibromyalgia was created by rheumatologist Dr. Frederick
Wolfe in 1984 to describe a condition affecting primarily women.
The term fibro was used to designate soft (or fibrous)
tissue involvement and myalgia is latin for pain.
Other symptoms of FM include debilitating fatigue, bowel dysfunction
and cognitive impairment that is referred to by some patients as
foggy-headed thinking or fibro-fog. The
first description of this condition can be found in a text published
in 1892 by a physician referred to as the father of modern medicine,
Sir William Osler. In his text The Principles and Practice of Medicine:
Diseases of the Nervous System he describes a condition termed Neurasthenia
as one that is associated with sleeplessness, unhealthy reaction
to stimuli, weariness on the least exertion, and the constant complaint
is that of aching pain in the back of the neck. This is not
a new condition and it is one that affects women more than men in
a 7:1 ratio. It is also a very common condition with Dr. Wolfe reporting
that 22% of women by the age of 70 suffer from chronic diffuse muscle
pain (Wolfe, A&R 1995;38:19-28).
Dr. Wolfe also reports that
The average yearly cost for service utilization among fibromyalgia
patients is $2,274 (1994 US dollars). They report more symptoms
and comorbid or associated conditions than patients with other rheumatic
conditions. The condition is also difficult to treat with
Dr. Wolfe reporting that Conventional medical care does not
alter the prognosis or outcome of fibromyalgia.(Wolfe, A&R
1997;40:560 -1570). Fibromyalgia is An age-old malady begging
for respect (Powers,Gen Int Med, 1993;8:2) as many doctors
find it frustrating to treat a disease that does not often improve.
Because the condition is associated with and exacerbated by stress
it is convenient to write it off, and some physicians have, as a
condition that is all in your head.
with fibromyalgia is apparent in articles such as Fibromyalgia:
scourge of humankind or bane of a rheumatologists existence?;
frustration that stems from the costly nature of treating a condition
with a poor response rate. Solomon & Liang report that few FM
patients recovered during the 7 year period they studied (Solomon
& Liang, A&R 1997;40:1553-1555). For these reasons, it is
common for both doctors and patients have a sense of futility when
fibromyalgia enters the picture. The advancement in FM & CFS
research has lead to new medications and new treatment protocols
that target the specific physiologic abnormalities encountered in
patients suffering from these conditions. Thankfully, successful
treatment is no longer a rare event. Please see the"Milestones
in FM Research" section for a synopsis of important breakthroughs
in FM & CFS related research.
in Fibromyalgia Research