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All About FibromyalgiaA Guide for Patients and their Families$
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Daniel J. Wallace and Janice Brock Wallace

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195147537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

What is Fibromyalgia?

What is Fibromyalgia?

2 What is Fibromyalgia?
All About Fibromyalgia

Daniel J. Wallace

Janice Brock Wallace

Oxford University Press

When the Arthritis Foundation tried to categorize the 150 different forms of musculoskeletal conditions in 1963, it created a classification known as soft tissue rheumatism. Included in this listing are conditions in which joints are not involved. Soft tissue rheumatism encompasses the supporting structures of joints (e.g., ligaments, bursae, and tendons), muscles, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia is a form of soft tissue rheumatism. A combination of three terms—fibro (from the Latin fibra, or fibrous tissue), myo- (the Greek prefix myos, for muscles), and algia (from the Greek algos, which denotes pain)—fibromyalgia replaces earlier names for the syndrome that are still used by doctors and other health professionals such as myofibrositis, myofascitis, muscular rheumatism, fibrositis, and gener­alized musculoligamentous strain. Fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis, since it is not associated with joint inflammation. In the late 1980s, a Multicenter Criteria Committee under the direction of Dr. Frederick Wolfe at the University of Kansas was formed to define fibromyalgia. In their study, 293 patients with presumed fibromyalgia were compared with 265 patients who had other rheumatic diseases in 16 centers throughout North America. The groups were evaluated for a variety of symptoms, signs, and laboratory abnormalities in an effort to ascertain which factors were the most sensitive and specific for defining the disorder. In other words, the investigators wanted to identify the most frequently found features of fibromyalgia (sensitivity) that could help doctors differentiate it from other disorders (specificity). The list in Table 1 was 88.4 percent sensitive and 81.1 percent specific in identifying fibromyalgia patients. As a result, these criteria were endorsed in 1990 by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the association to which nearly all 5,000 rheumatologists in the United States and Canada belong. Focusing on Table 1 and Figure 3, fibromyalgia essentially is: 1. Widespread pain of at least 3 months’ duration (this rules out viruses or traumatic insults which resolve on their own). 2. Pain in all four quadrants of the body (picture cutting the body into quarters, as in a pie): right side, left side, above the waist, below the waist.

Keywords:   anxiety, bowel complaints, fatigue, headaches, migraine headaches, numbness, sleep, tingling

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