Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on May 12 calls attention to fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on May 12 calls attention to fibromyalgia, which has plagued many people over the centuries. Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes chronic pain all over the body. Other symptoms also include fatigue, anxiety, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, skin sensitivity, insomnia, numbness, stiffness, etc. People suffering from fibromyalgia either go undiagnosed for years or are misdiagnosed. Due to a lack of research and the difficulty in identifying the factors that cause the illness, many also believe that the disease is psychological and not real. Moreover, there is no permanent cure to relieve the sufferer.


Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was initially commemorated in 1992 in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, a British social reformer and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale is lauded for her services during the Crimean War when she served as a trainer and manager for nurses in Constantinople. Years after her death, scholars, who studied her extensively, claimed that she may have suffered from fibromyalgia. The National Fibromyalgia Association, founded by Lynne Matallana, officially established the day in 1998. Matallana has suffered from the illness for almost 30 years herself, therefore, her aim behind the organization was to bring awareness to the disease and help people cope with it.

Fibromyalgia is said to affect many people around the world, regardless of age, sex, or other preexisting conditions. However, according to some reports, women are seven times more likely to suffer from the diseases than men. Symptoms include heightened hot/cold sensitivity, headaches, joint ache, depression, memory and concentration problems, etc. These symptoms can last from a few minutes to hours, days, months, or even years. However, some sufferers may not experience any symptoms at all. While there is no permanent cure for fibromyalgia yet, people can still relieve their pain by getting the right form of medication, therapy, and making changes to their daily lifestyles.



Fibromyalgia Coinage

Muhammad Yunus, a scientific researcher, coins the term ‘fibromyalgia’ as another word for ‘fibrositis.’


Fibromyalgia Defined

Fibromyalgia is defined for the first time as a musculoskeletal disease by the Multicenter Criteria Committee of the American College of Rheumatology.


Elimination of Tender Point Testing

The American College of Rheumatology approves a provisional diagnostic criteria by eliminating the 1990 tender point testing system.


Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Tests

Several categories of blood tests move towards certification and application for an accurate fibromyalgia diagnosis.


What is the ribbon color for fibromyalgia?

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is symbolized with a purple color ribbon.

Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease?

No, fibromyalgia is not classified as an autoimmune disease although many of the symptoms are similar to that of such diseases.

Can fibromyalgia go away?

Fibromyalgia disease requires a significant amount of research as no causes or cures are known yet. However, research is progressing. Moreover, many fibromyalgia symptoms are treatable.


  1. Research about fibromyalgiaLearn more about the disease by researching it. Look up its symptoms, potential causes, etc. By learning more about fibromyalgia, you will be better able to help those who suffer from it.
  2. Support the fibromyalgia communityVolunteer at organizations dedicated to fibromyalgia sufferers. Support these people in their daily lives and treat them as you would any other person. Research studies show that fibromyalgia takes a major mental toll on patients, making them more likely to suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
  3. Spread the wordYou can take part in local events that bring fibromyalgia to light. If no such event is happening in your area, organize one yourself and get conversations going about it.


  1. Named after a cityFlorence Nightingale’s parents named each of their children after the cities they were born in — thus, she was named after Florence in Italy where she was born.
  2. Natural talent in classifyingNightingale possessed the natural talent of classifying and documenting things from a young age and this led to her becoming a successful statistician.
  3. Revolutionizing nursingFlorence Nightingale’s keen scientific observations and knowledge led to not only better healthcare services provided by nurses but also to lower death rates overall.
  4. Royal Red Cross medalistQueen Victoria honored Nightingale with the Royal Red Cross and she was one of the first people to ever be awarded this medal.
  5. Lady with the LampFlorence Nightingale was nicknamed the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ because she would often go on night rounds to check up on patients in hospital wards.


  1. It’s a celebration of medicineThe 21st century has seen numerous medical advancements that have led to better and healthier lifestyles. These advancements have also led to lower death rates. Fibromyalgia and the factors around it still need quite a lot of research but significant leaps are being made in the diagnostic areas.
  2. It’s a celebration of unityIn general, science has proved that patients tend to recover at a faster rate if they have support around them. Being there for fibromyalgia patients can help them feel better, at least in the short term.
  3. It’s a celebration of hopeThere will definitely be bad days but one can push through them because there will also always be good days. Hope provides the boost of energy that everyone needs on exhausting days. This day brings hope for better times.


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