In 1816 Dr.William Balfour a surgeon at the University of Edinbourgh noticed some of his patients showed some of the same symptoms. He was the first to give fibromyalgia (fibro or FMS) an official name. He called this widespread pain fibrosistitis.
Dr. Balfour decided it was an inflamation of the muscle tissue. Even though one hundred and ninety one years has past, many doctors still insist fibromyalgia is not a “real disorder.” The medical profession over the years has called it many different names, including chronic rheumatism, myalgia, pressure point syndrome, and a wide assortment of other related descriptions.
Many doctors feel fibro to be a psychological disorder of some magnitude, and every fibro patient has heard the infamous words “It Is All In Your Head”. (IIAIYH) The disease is not in your head, rather a real true, honest to God disease. Progress has been slow for fibromyalgia to be accepted within the medical community.
In 1987, the American Medical Association (AMA), recognized FMS as a true illness and a major cause of disability. Still, after all these years, the disease is a catchall diagnosis, when a doctor seemingly can not attach a known disease to a patient. Fibro is very difficult for a doctor to diagnose, as most test all come back negative. Many doctors do not like to acknowledge fibro has a real criteria, in the sense it can be specific, it is chronic, it is non-degenerative, it is non-inflammatory as first suspected, and it is systemic as it effects the patient from head to toe. Doctors will say fibro is not progressive, however every fibro patient will disagree with this statement wholeheartedly.
FMS is considered a syndrome, which means it is a specific set of signs and symptoms which will show up together. Many people tend to think fibro is not a serious condition, however, they are incorrect. It is a very disabling disease, in the same category as Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, and other very serious afflictions are also classified as syndromes.
So don’t get the false idea it is not serious, as it is, and it will effect you for the rest of your life.
When it comes to the topic of testing, as of this writing, the methodology used by most doctors is to find out “what you don’t have”, and start a process of elimination. There is no blood test that can accurately identify or result in a comprehensive diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
To be “legal” you must have tender points in all four quadrants of the body -- that is, the upper right and left and lower right and left parts of your body. You must have had widespread, more-or-less continuous pain for at least three months. There are 18 Tender Points in the body.
When you hear a doctor or medical person talk about "11 out of 18" tender points, this is what can be considered as an“universal” criteria to “confirm” fibro. Normally, tender points occur in pairs on various parts of the body. Because they occur in pairs, the pain is usually equal on both sides of the body.
Fibro is present in women more than in men. It has been noted recently, that 25% of the fibro population, is men. Men tend to “shake it off” and stay away from doctors, and in many cases, it is simply not diagnosed.
Aching all over with the same pain as we all have had with the flu, is one of the more prominent symptoms of fibro, but there are more. Dry and watery eyes are common, excessive sweating is very common, especially in men with fibro.
. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bladder Syndrome are very common with fibro sufferers. Your body may feel warm, but your arms and legs or buttocks and thighs, are often cold to the touch. This is caused by tightness in the muscles which constrict the peripheral blood vessels -- those close to the skin.
Fibro causes changes in your sensory system. People With Fibro (PWF) are often sensitive to light, smells, sounds, odors, pressure on the body, and even some forms of simply vibration. Changes in their environment is quickly noticed by people with these sensitivities. Flourscent lighting is often a distraction, and trigger to many fibro patients.
Sleep (or the lack of...) plays a crucial role in PWF. PWF often sleep, but due to the pain, wake up exhausted. PWF often have the alpha-delta sleep anomaly. As soon as we reach that deep delta level sleep, alpha waves (awake) intrude and either jolt us to an awakening or to a lighter stage of sleep. Our body heals and many neurotransmitters are restored during delta sleep, so we soon suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation.