Why was fibromyalgia originally considered a connective tissue disease?
UCLA Health
Administration Specialist
Doctors originally described fibromyalgia as a connective tissue disease in the early 1800s. It was believed to be an autoimmune disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In 1816, Dr. William Balfour described a fibrous thickening of muscles and connective tissues in people with rheumatic conditions. He performed autopsies on those with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and found more fibrous tissue than normal. That gave birth to the idea that inflammation in the connective tissues caused fibromyalgia symptoms. Today, however, doctors know that fibromyalgia is a condition of the nervous system.

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