While fibromyalgia is regarded as a 'modern disease' it has been around for much longer. The earliest description in the Western literature may be found in the book of Job : "My weary nights are filled with pain as though something were relentlessly gnawing at my bones.".
In the 1600s the first proper medical term was used: muscular rheumatism. Two centuries later the first full medical description was given.
It is speculated that Florence Nightingale suffered from fibromyalgia after she returned from her efforts during the Crimean War in the 1850s.
Only in the 1990s fibromyalgia became fully accepted as a medical condition, but up till today, some doctors dismiss it as 'nonsense'.
But what exactly *is* fibromyalgia? The word literally means pain in the muscles and connctive tissues.
A number of different theories about what fibromyalgia is and what causes it have come and gone over the years.
For the longest time, it was impossible the disease and as a result, it was considered to be a psychological disorder. The main reason of the confusion is that wile there is a lot of pain in muscles and tissues, there is no actual damage. Neither is it an auto-immune disorder.
While a lot more research needs to be done to solve what actually causes fibromyalgia, one reasonable explanation is the presence of an overactive central nervous system resulting in abnormal pain processing, triggered by stress, trauma or infections.
People with fibromyalgia have a lot more sensory nerves to a particular part of the circulatory system, called arteriole-venule shunts (AVS) which could cause severe pain and tenderness, dysregulate blood flow, and make it hard for the body to regulate its internal temperature.
This is not everything, there are also problems regarding blood flow to muscles, causing the build-up of waste products such as lactic acid and as a result a sensation as if you are stuck with pins and needles. Oftentimes other diseases go along with fibromyalgia, such as chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, restless legs and chest pain.