Chapter 1.2.1 The term “fibrositis”

 (page under construction)

Back mice were also named

fibrositis of the back or lumbar fibrositic nodules.

(Personal note: The term fibrositis (to define the subcutaneous palpable painful nodules) has been a complete MISNOMER. Anyway it was broadly used for many years).

Fibrositis was a term proposed by Gowers in 1904. During the first half 20th century it was a term very commonly used by the British medical community. Later the term was not used anymore as such, but during the late 20th century it was transformed from fibrositis to “fibromyalgia” (Chapter 5.2 – From fibrositis to fibromyalgia) and the subcutaneous palpable painful nodules just were defined as painful SPOTS.

The term “fibrositis” (muscular rheumatism and non-articular rheumatism)

“The consequences of a MISNOMER”

Gowers proposes the term fibrositis 

→1904 Gowers (from London, England): A lecture on lumbago, its lessons and analogues.

Many authors discuss about the use of the term fibrositis (muscular rheumatism or non-articular rheumatism) and its existence.

List of the 64 articles/books about it

  1. →1905 The Hospital’s editor (from England): LINK⇒Rheumatism (focused on fibrositis)
  2. →1913 Llewellyn et al.: A discussion on fibrositis (England)
  3. →1913 Luff et al. (Harveian Society, London, England): The various forms of fibrositis and their treatment.
  4. →1915 Llewellyn & Basset: BOOK Fibrositis (Gouty, infective, traumatic. So called chronic rheumatism including villous synovitis of knee and hip, and sacroiliac relaxation).
  5. →1926 James Kingston Fowler: BOOK Aix-les-bains and Mont Revard. The douche massage treatemnt of arthritis and fibrositis.
  6. →1933 BOOK Wyatt (Baltimore, USA): Chronic arthritis and fibrositis. Diagnosis and Treatment. 
  7. →1936 Gordon (from Bath, England): The metabolic factor in chronic rheumatism with special reference to fibrositis.
  8. →1936 T. Stacey Wilson (from Birmingham, England)Manipulative treatment of subacute and chronic fibrositis.
  9. →1936 G. Laughton Scott (from London, England): A new treatemnt of fibrositis.
  10. →1937 Ernest Fletcher (from Stratford, England): Fibrositis.
  11. →1938 Hench et al. (from USA): The problem of rheumatism and arthritis. Review of american and English literature. Fibrositis
  12. →1938 Gutstein (from Berlin, Germany): LINK⇒ Diagnosis and Treatment of Muscular rheumatism (fibrositis and myalgic spots)
  13. 1940 Slocumb (from USA): Differential diagnosis of periarticular fibrositis and arthritis. 
  14. → 1940 Gerald Slot (from London, England): Fibrositis among industrial workers.
  15. →1940 Joseph Race (from Buxton, England): Laboratory findings in fibrositis.
  16. →1940 Douglas H. Collins (from Bath, England): Fibrositis and infection.
  17. →1940 J.B. Harman (from England): Fibrositis and pain.
  18. →1941 Ray (from England): Isotonic Glucose solution in the treatmnet of fibrositis
  19. →1941 Steinberg (from New York, EUA): Fibrositis treated with vitamin E.
  20. → 1942 Halliday (from England): LINK⇒ The obsession of fibrositis
  21. →1942 Philip Ellman (from London): Fibrositis.
  22. →1942 Moynahan and Nicholson (from England):   LINK⇒Value of Procaine infiltration in the diagnosis and treatemnt of fibrositis.
  23. →1942 Paul Beeson and McNair Scott (from EUA): LINK⇒Observations on an acute myalgia of the neck and shoulders; its possible relation to certain cases of generalized fibrositis
  24. →1945 Mylechreest (St Thomas Hospital, from England): LINK⇒ Investigation into aetiology and pathology of fibrositis of the back
  25. →1946 Coke: Fibrositis and beta-diethylaminoethyl dehydrocholate.
  26. →1946 Murphy (from Brisbane, Australia): Low Backache (etiology of fibrositis). The Medical Jorunal of australia. 
  27. →1946 Copeman (from London, England): Rheumatism as a social and industrial problem (fibrositis).
  28. →1947 Vereecken: Over fibrositis.
  29. →1947 Valentine (from England): LINK⇒ The etiology of fibrositis: A review
  30. →1947 W.R. Caven (from Toronto, Canada): Backache and fibrositis, a medical point of view.
  31. →1947 F Bach (from London, England): LINK⇒Non-articular rheumatism,fibrositis.
  32. →1947 RD Nelson: LINK⇒Referred pain through fibrositis.
  33. →1947 Steinberg (from New York, EUA): LINK⇒Fibrositis (muscular rheumatism) including dupuytren’s contracture: a new method of treatment. 
  34. →1947 Wilson D (North Carolina, EUA): LINK⇒ Fibrositis
  35. →1948 M Ant and AE Mamelok (from New York, EUA): Vitamin E in the treatement of fibrositis with complicating osteoarthritis: case report. 
  36. →1948 Bach LETTER (from England): LINK⇒Fibrositis
  37. →1948 I.J. Patton and J.A. Williamson, M.D. (from Montreal, Canada): Fibrositis as a factor in the differential diagnosis of visceral pain. 
  38. →1948 VJ Kinsella (from Sydney, Australia): The syndrome of chronic hypertension, fibrositis and tonsillitis. 
  39. →1948 AB Walter (from Canada): The management of chronic fibrositis.
  40. →1948 Micheli (from Firenze, Italy): La fibrosite dolorosa (fibrositis). 
  41. →1949 BMJ Editorial (from England): Lumbar fibrositis
  42. →1949 CL Steinberg (from New York, EUA): Primary fibrositis (muscular rheumatism). 
  43. →1949 D Wilson (from London, England): Fibrositis.
  44. →1950 Jespersen (from Copenhagen, Denmark): Fibrositis of muscles. 
  45. →1950 Copeman (from London, England): Fibrositis
  46. →1953 Long and Lamphier (Boston, EUA): Fibrositis and the disc syndrome.
  47. →1954 BOOK Copeman &Mason (from England)Rheumatism: Fibrositis, arthritis, lumbago, sciatica, “slipped disc”, gout and spondylitis.
  48. →1954 KM Walthard: [Rheumatism of the soft parts and fibrositis] Weichteilrheumatismus und fibrositis. ISSN 0012-1320.
  49. →1961 F.F Bustamante and A Perdomo (from Aregntina): Acción de la deltabutazolidina en diversas formas de reumatismo (fibrositis). 
  50. →1962 Barceló et al.: Nuestra experiencia con la asociación fenilbutazona-prednisona (Delta-butazolidina) en clínica reumatológica (fibrositis).
  51. →1962 Schoen and Miehlke: Fibrositis oder sogenannter Muskelrheumatismus [Fibrositis or so-called muscle rheumatism]
  52. →1967 Settel (from New York, USA): Efficacy of a phenylbutazone-prednisone combination in the treatment of acute lumbosacral fibrositis: A survey of 96 cases.
  53. →1968 Kraft et al (from USA): The Fibrositis syndrome
  54. →1968 Traut (from Chicago, USA): Fibrositis
  55. →1974 Mathies et al (from Germany): [Clinical picture of soft-tissue rheumatism]. Klinik des weichteilrheumatismus (Fibrositis).
  56. →1977 Smith and Smythe (Toronto, Canada): Fibrositis syndrome
  57. →1978 Bulletin on the rheumatic diseases (Georgia, USA): Two contributions to understanding of the “fibrositis” syndrome. 
  58. →1981 Bennett (Prtland, USA): Fibrositis: Misnomer for a common rheumatic disorder.
  59. →1983 Reynolds: REVIEW The development of the concept of fibrositis.
  60. →1986 Simons (California, USA): Fibrositis/fibromyalgia: A form of myofascial trigger points?
  61. →1990 American College of rheumatology (USA): Criteria for the cassification of fibromyalgia
  62. →1990 Smythe and Sheon (from Canada and USA): Fibrositis/fibromyalgia: a difference of opinion.
  63. →1992 Romero and Encinas (from Spain): Prevalencia de la fibrositis.
  64. →2008 Marson and Pasero (Italy): Evoluzione storica del concepto di fibromialgia: le tappe principali [Historical evolution of the concept of fibromyalgia: the main stages]

Related chapters

→Chapter 1.2.2 Old remedies for Fibrositis

→Chapter 5.2. From the “fibrositis” to the “fibromyalgia”

LINK to the studied articles:

Article publishhed in 1905. EDITORIAL. Rheumatisms. This is an editorial letter from the medical journal from England THE HOSPITAL. It deals with the term rheumatisms and fibrositis related to an article from ARTHUR P. LUFF published in the same year 1905.
muscular rheumatism
Article from 1938. Author Gutstein. Titled DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF MUSCULAR RHEUMATISM (fibrositis).He presents 52 cases with pains and myalgic spots in several locations. He says that almost all of his patients cured (with no recurrence at least for 3 years). He mentions the treatment briefly: general treatment (diet, rest, codeine, phenazone, aspirin, belladonna) and local treatment (special myalgic spot massage after infra-red rays).
pain stiffness and soreness
ARTICLE published in 1942 by Halliday. He was a detractor of the use of the term fibrositis. He proposes the term Pain Stiffness and Soreness Syndrome instead of fibrositis.
procaine infiltration
Article published in 1942. Authors Moynahan and Nicholson. Titled VALUE OF PROCAINE INFILTRATION IN THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF FIBROSITIS.This is an interesting article about the technique of procaine infiltration as the diagnosis and treatment of fibrositis (another name for the painful fatty nodules or back mice).
fibrositis of the back
ARTICLE published in 1945.Author Mylechreest. Titled INVESTIGATION AND THE ETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY OF FIBROSITIS OF THE BACK. He hopes to “clryfy the picture” about the etiology of the entity called fibroistis. He dissected 12 bodies. He presnted 4 case reports.
fibrositic area
Article published in 1947. Author Nelson. titled: REFERRED pain through fibrositis.
local tenderness
Published in 1947. Author Bach. Non-articular rheumatism: “fibrositis”.
Article published 1947. Author Steinberg. He insisted in the treatment of fibrositis with Vitamin E.
etiology of fibrositis
ARTICLE from 1947. Author Valentine. Titled THE ETIOLOGY OF FIBROSITIS: A REVIEW. This is a review from the first half of the 20th century about literature related tot he etiology of fibrositis (an old name for back mice). The author deals with different factors that have been related to fibrositis by several authors. Related factors: sedimentation rate, focal sepsis, diet and intestinal symptoms, vascular disturbances, pain substances, acid uric, epidemic viruses, panniculitis, nodules, postural stresses, psychological components. (Personal note: he just announces them, in a certain chaotic way. It is true that it is an extensive review which contributes many references from that period, which may be interesting, but it does not facilitate a clear picture about the entity itself).
Primary and secondary fibrositis
Article published in 1947. Author Wilson. Titled Fibrositis. He presents illustrations where he shows the common sites of the NODULES AND REFERRED PAIN in fibrositis (he did not do any biopsy to be sure what the nodules were). he insited physical therapy can resolve the problem.
fibrositis controversy
LETTER from 1948. Author Bach. “The problem of fibrositis is complex. To solve it, the biochemist, the geneticist, the pathologist and the clinician will need to work together as a team, probably FOR QUITE A LONG TIME TO COME”. He discusses about Cyriax statements.
Published in 1948. This is a simple Italian article titled La fibrosie dolorosa published in a local Italian magazine called Settimana medica from Firenze, Italy. The author is called Prof. Michele Micheli. He refers to the work of other contemporary authors such as Llewelyn, Stockman, Copeman and Ackerman, Kellgren, and Kelly, among others. He presents a simple diagram of the most common locations of the fibrositic painful lesions, and the location where to do the novocaine anesthetic injection (according to Micheli, the most effective treatment for the pain management of the chronic fibrositis lesions).
lumbar fibrositis
EDITORIAL published in 1949. It is a small column that summarizes Copeman and Ackerman’s (1947, 1949) work about the fibro-fatty nodules being the cause of “muscular rheumatism or fibrositis” and also Orr’s (1948) work about the nodules simulating uretero-renal disease. Also about the controversy about the term fibrositis.
fibrositis and the disc syndrome
Published in 1953. Authors Long and Lamphier. This article titled Fibrositis and the Disc Syndrome was published in 1953. In its conclusions the authors make it clear that they considered that the patients with persisting back or sciatic pain should not undergo disk exploration and surgery as first option, since the local infiltrations can sometimes relieve the cases of “lumbago”. Not even exploratory techniques such as myelogram should be done at the first moment.
fibrositis treatment
BOOK published in 1954 by Copeman & Mason about several Fibrositis treatments.
fibrositis lumbar
Spanish article published in 1961. It presents the results of using NSAID’s with FIBROSITIS.
fibrositis de la espalda
Spanish article published in 1962. Author Barceló et al. About the use of NSAID in fibrositis.
acute lumbosacral fibrositis
Article published in 1967. Author Settel. Titled EFFICACY OF A PHENYLBUTAZONE-PREDNISONE COMBINATION IN THE TREATMENT OF ACUTE LUMBOSACRAL FIBROSITIS.He doesn’t mention any exploration technique. It is just interesting from the historical point of view because it is clear that it normalized the oral therapy of “phenylbutazone”, a no steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) for the treatment of low back pain as ibuprofen is used now.
primary fibrositis
Article from 1968. Author Traut. Titled FIBROSITIS. It is a short article more focused on the treatment and recommendations of the diverse syndromes related to fibrositis. It does not mention any etiology factors. He focuses on the clinical picture and the treatment. Very briefly, he mentions the studies of Gowers and Stockman and says briefly that the tender spots are “congested areas”.
fibrositic nodules
Article published in 1983 by Reynolds.Titled THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT OF FIBROSITIS. It is a long review about the Development of the concept of fibrositis.

Related information: