The term fibromyalgia wasn’t coined until 1976. The condition was first named in 1904 by a British neurologist called Sir William Gowers, who coined the term “fibrositis” (meaning inflammation of fibers) after he met patients who experienced the classic widespread pain and body aches.

Prior to 1904, other doctors had also written about tender points and other symptoms characteristic of the disorder. In the 1880s, one U.S. doctor reportedly wrote about a collection of symptoms that he believed were caused by stress and used the term neurasthenia to describe the phenomenon.

Doctors have since learned that fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory condition, and therefore the term fibrositis eventually fell out of favor. It wasn’t until 1987 that fibromyalgia was first recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a defined syndrome and specific cause of illness and disability. 

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