The Health Care Industry Finally Recognizes Fibromyalgia

The Health Care Industry Finally Recognizes Fibromyalgia

Ginevra Liptan, MD

Ginevra Liptan, MD

On October 1, 2015, fibromyalgia will finally be recognized as an official diagnosis in the new ICD-10 list of codes being adopted across the U.S. This is the final culmination of the advances over the last decade in the medical community’s understanding and acceptance of fibromyalgia as a real disease.

For the past 30 years, every U.S. hospital and doctor’s office has used the ICD-9 list of codes to indicate a diagnosis for all patient encounters. This list does not include a specific diagnosis code for fibromyalgia. Instead doctors have had to use the code “Myalgia and myositis, unspecified (729.1),” which includes any disorder causing muscle pain or inflammation. Muscle pain is definitely a part of fibromyalgia, but there are other important symptoms and unique features that make it a distinct entity, including non-restorative sleep, fatigue, and foggy thinking. In the new system, fibromyalgia finally gets its own diagnostic code: “Fibromyalgia (M79.7).”

This is a huge bureaucratic stamp of approval that legitimizes fibromyalgia as a real, distinct entity. It will make winning a disability case for fibromyalgia easier. A few years ago, I was testifying in support of one of my patients, and the opposing lawyer said to me, “How can you say fibromyalgia is real when it doesn’t even have its own diagnosis code?”

The new code will also enable more accurate studies of fibromyalgia treatment outcomes, as the data for many of these observational studies are gathered by tracking diagnosis codes. Without its own diagnoses code, fibromyalgia studies have been hampered by watered down data from the inclusion of patients that did not actually have fibro, but some other illness causing muscle pain.

And most important of all, it puts the word “fibromyalgia” into the official health care lexicon, and doctors can no longer say, “Fibromyalgia does not exist.”

Editor’s Note: Ginevra Liptan, MD is board certified in internal medicine. She has been an associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University, her articles about fibromyalgia have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, and she is the recipient of a Gerlinger Foundation Research Award.

Dr. Liptan has extensive clinical, personal and research experience with this illness. She has a compassionate, knowledgeable approach utilizing cutting-edge treatments, effective alternative therapies and prescription medications. Learn more about her Functional Fibro Treatment Approach by clicking here.

Authored by: Ginevra Liptan, MD

Ginevra Liptan, MD, developed fibromyalgia while in medical school. She is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine and board-certified in internal medicine. Dr. Liptan is the founder and medical director of The Frida Center for Fibromyalgia and the author of The Fibro Manual: A Complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide for You...And Your Doctor and The Fibro Food Formula: A Real-Life Approach to Fibromyalgia Relief.

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Having Fibro recognized as a legitimate condition is good news. Now let’s see how long it takes for the majority of physicians to sign on to this revelation. Although the doctor that treated me was knowledgeable enough to suspect fibro as the culprit, and to further suggest that I visit a board certified Rheumatologist for a more definitive diagnosis, that’s where the science ended, and the personal beliefs and slanted opinions began.

This local doctor asked me if I was depressed. Absolutely not, was my reply. I was married to a severely depressed individual for over a decade, believe me, I know the illness very intimately, I’d be willing to bet easily more so than most clinicians. Imagine my surprise when I ordered his notes and found that he had diagnosed me as suffering from major depression, against my adamance to the contrary. Dr. Hubris.

I personally wouldn’t care that much if a doctor wanted to diagnose a causation if there weren’t any possible ramifications, but that is far from the case with fibro “due to depression”. He threw every SSRI at me, SNRI’s, even the older classes of anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, mood stabilizers, you name it….if his pharma-rep had it in his grab-bag he prescribed it. It didn’t take me long to realize that this was a crap-shoot disguised as medical treatment, although with extremely serious results to the unwary patient. More harm can be done than any positive health outcomes with conventional treatments offered today. Very profitable for the medical industry, a Titanic disaster for the hapless fibro-sufferer.

I bring all of this up for one very important reason: having a diagnostic code officially applied to fibro will not stop the paganistic beliefs and downright dangerous treatments that will still be foisted on the unsuspecting patient newly diagnosed with M79.7. It will take years, if ever, for the medical community to retreat from the dispensation of these extremely dangerous and non-effective treatments that have become the norm for fibro-sufferers.

“Take these three anti-depressants!” he said. “But doctor, I’m not depressed! Why would I want to take a cocktail of mind-altering neurological agents with extreme side effects that have shown little to no efficacy towards this condition?” I countered. “It’s the accepted treatment. Do it, or find another doctor!” Now that’s a suggestion that I’ll gladly follow. And I did.

Another recent article in National Pain Report from 10/24/2015 entitled Foundation of Fibromyalgia Is Altered Central Nervous System, New Study Validates, said: “What the researchers discovered is important to the very understanding of the painful disease: The central nervous system’s processing in people with fibromyalgia is fundamentally altered, AND, there is a clear distinction between fibromyalgia and major depression.

So while you and I may be depressed due to finding ourselves in this horrible state of chronic pain and more, don’t blindly accept the Big D label and the dangerous concoctions that follow. Be wary, don’t be fooled. A framed sheepskin hanging on a wall could be hiding a wolf.

Felipa Puertas

I had to change PCP and when I was giving him my health history, and told him about my fibromyalgia, he said I needed to see psychologist!

I finally decided to go to a rheumatologist that had been recommended and one of his treatment was changing my eating habits and exercise.

Not quite sure where this goes from here. Have had fibromyalgia for 18 years. Severe pain, insomnia,depression.. I pray for all those with this disease, and hope that they finally get the help they deserve. Blessings and many prayers

Kim M.

I’ve been suffering with this pain for 10 years, finally got to see a rheumatologist this week and on first visit he believes I do have fibromyalgia. Only thing drs can do is give you drugs, tell you the basics eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, don’t overdue things. I am tired of feeling this way, had two jobs gave up one because physically it was impossible to do anymore. Im now working 4 hours a day and it exhausts me. Glad this disease will be real to others now.

[…] het centrale zenuwstelsel ligt de bron van fibromyalgie, dit rapporteerde het National Pain Report (‘Medisch circuit erkent eindelijk fibromyalgie’ in mei dit jaar. Een nieuwe studie heeft […]


Diann Peters My doctor tells me that it isn’t going to get any better and I have actually gotten worse and continue to be in more pain. Dr. has increased my pain meds as well as given me other meds to help with sleeping, high blood pressure, and for some other side affects that I have from Fibro. I have tried so many meds, herbs, etc and cannot find anything to take away the pain, only take the edge off and that isn’t even all the time. I think it depends on the person and how their body’s react to the meds they take or whatever else they can do for themselves. I do a lot of what I call “self talk”, keeping my mind occupied and keeping as busy as I am able so to try not focus on the pain. I cannot sit still and not be doing anything, have to continually be doing something, whether it is on the computer, knitting or something that keeps me distracted.

Pete Durso

I’m not so excited. It could be in one door and out the other with only doing one treatment at at a time. This doesn’t make it any less of a “throw away diagnosis.”

Will we really get any more doctor time and concern? After 23 years of trying, I got something a combination of meds and sleep meds that work. But it was from my research and my Guinea Pig body. My God did I try everything. It’s good to see our work “rewarded” and “validated.” But if 10+ percent of the country has it, it probably won’t be able any easier getting disability for it because of that.

It should also be noted that I had about 30 doctors during that 23 year period. Heck, it wasn’t even called fibromyalgia when I got it. “Fibrocitis.” And yes Kevorkian killed one person for “JUST” having FMS. The guy’s social media name was ‘Boston Bob.’ I think that is what helped get Kevorkian convicted.

Christina Garcia

Tell me again how I don’t look sick I’m a draw M79.7 on u r face ….. people don’t understand how it feels to feel like your dying for the past 18 plus years and seek help to just be told it’s all in ur head I might be bipolar but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to being sick I wish. So sick it up butter cup it’s real it’s proven and I hope those who doubted us feels like idiots. ..because your exactly that… praise the almighty and the people who made this day possible


Its about time… Finally we are recognised as someone with a serious illness. I have now stopped going to my local drs as i am looked down on and spoken to like i have no problems.. Well DR SUBRAMANIAN you can now f**k off as of 1st of October. On a monthly basis i am buying my meds from Which i can no longer afford. To be honest i would prefer to see a DR in person especially in my condition as the pain at times is un bearable and need more pain relief. With the online Drs you are restricted to the amount of pain you can receive and sometimes you just have suffer in silence.

I Hope now that Fibromyalgia has a “code”,maybe it won’t be such a battle for the thousands of people.


Thank you Jesus, and all praises to the Most High. This is going to fix things quite a bit. These evil doctors and judges are going to be put in their place. They’ve ruined so many lives. Praise God. Now, our disability cases won’t be stuck in limbo.


Is there any Blogs or support groups that you could recommend or diet and alternative medicine that has helped you?

Ellen Paterson

It’s about time, thank god, a hugh step for all fibromyalgia sufferers. I myself was diagnosed 20 years ago. No help, made feel its all stress. I discovered fibromyalgia awareness advocacy forum ireland group on Facebook months ago & that was my first sight of any support, I became involved in helping to raise awareness with advocate Gemma Flood, helped raise funds much needed to print & distribute booklets Gemma Flood wrote called fibromyalgia is real, 1st & 2nd edition within a year. All funds were raised by fellow sufferers alike. And now this, yes! Recognition finally, but the fight continues… hang in there folks xxx el


This is great news, and I hope beyond hope that it does improve chances of being approved for disability as I have been denied 5 times now (three at application level, twice at hearing level where I’ve been told I’m lying about the severity of this misery I live with) and am headed towards my third hearing. Lawyers don’t even want to touch my case anymore. So while I desperately hope this will help, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Chandrashekhar Jeevanlal Khanna.

Today I am Really Speaking Very much Happy,Satisfied,as well as Hopefull,by Knowing this that FIBROMYALGIA,has been also Recognised and even got the Required Code Number in the Globe,and Now-Onwards Each and Every Patient in the World,Suffering from the Said Deases,will be Well Treated,And Hopefully.will get Complete Cure Too. Even My Only DAUGHTER,Too Suffering from the Same Deases,From the Last 7 (Seven) Years.

Linda Banty

I am so happy to see this news ! I truly pray that this helps many of us who are trying to get our SSD . I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired ! I have about had it because I am thinking about suicide and I don`t want to feel this way.

Julie Leppert

Lisa cook- follow “natural spoonie” on Instagram. Her name is Jenny. She runs a couple fibro, Lyme, and other groups on FB. Completely educational and changed my life from miserable to now I have way more good than bad. You have to do the Instagram thing first cuz I think the FB groups are secret. Hang in there-you are not alone!

Marilyn Gavranovic

Thank you from the bottom of my a hey heart for this fabulous news. I have had Fibro since 1992, subsequent to influenza A. I was diagnosed in 1994 by a knowledgeable capital city specialist in infectious diseases, but it’s been a mammoth task to find any support in my regional home. We are pariahas no more. So thank for restoring our health rights and all the possibilities that accompany them…like non invisibility.


Boy, this is just amazing !!! I think I’ve had this most of my life, & I’m in my late 70’s !!! I was lucky to find good doctors that sent me to specialists for all my different symptoms about 13 yrs. ago. At my worst I had 17 specialists & my primary care doctor worked w all of them ! I was so relieved after so many years of fighting to take care of my Military household, moving, moving, moving, 4 super children, my husband leaving me, being alone in towns where I knew no one & trying to work w all the horrendous effects of my fibro !! I feel so blessed now to be so much better ! I am very glad to finally have it known that is is truly a disease, not a figment of my imagination !! I hope everyone now will get that badly needed help !! Stay in there ! There is a life after fibro ! Don’t let the naysayers get to you ! I know it so very discouraging, but keep the faith & never give up !! To stop living is a long term decision for a short term problem !!


Fibromyalgia is treatable but not by allopathic Big Pharma trained doctors. It’s not that they don’t mean well…they have just been trained by Big Pharma to dispense drugs for $$$$. Keep people sick without recovering and it’s a lifetime income.

There are pockets of alternative doctors around the US that successfully treat this. As in full recovery. It involves cleaning up your diet and opening up detoxification pathways. Often there are methylation issues. I have lyme disease and that creates horrible fibromyalgia at times. That brings up the point that many times Fibromyalgia is just a subset of Lyme disease! However, the last vaccine I had triggered a horrible flare of fibromyagia , nerve and joint pain. One helpful modality for me has been MAHT ozone. Look up some youtube videos of docs who treat with ozone therapy. They are knocking it out of the park.

Bev Wright

Thank you for all your work! So many have tried n failed! I was told in 1991 that I had Fibro and Chronic Fatigue! My life has been a nightmare ever since I did get disability! But I have horror stories of what I’ve been thru! My Husband is wonderful and my three daughters had already left home. But they have had a hard time with it. They understand now better that years ago but I still feel they think they feel like if I just got up and did stuff I’d be better! I pray your help will make it better for all those who don’t have understanding people around them!

Janice Van Natta

Lesa Cook. There is a group on Facebook called Foods for Fibromyalgia that helps you feel better by the foods you eat or avoid. Very helpful info.

Cyndee Smith

Lesa Cook-I personally think you need to get your depression under control first. This is a symptom of Fibromyalgia and you will be shocked at how much better you feel physically when you feel better mentally and emotionally. Don’t even think of depression as overwhelming sadness.It has many faces. When I got well I began to realize how sick I was. My attitude, my demeanor, my relationships etc. The right med may take awhile or you may do great on the first one you try but hang in there and don’t give up. Counseling is very helpful also. Good luck and God Bless!

As the publisher of a free online magazine for FM patients, this is quite possibly the most positive news we will ever be able to share.

Whilst we are based in the UK we take a look globally at what is being achieved and how differently FM is treated in other countries.

We work together with many support groups to raise awareness, having our own dedicated team working to get support from our parliamentary ministers to encourage more proactive roles be taken within the health service when treating FM. This article will be passed on to both our MP’s and NHS to be pushed out to the wider medical profession.

To never again have a FM patient say “I just left the doctor/rheumatologist office in tears as he said Fibromyalgia doesn’t really exist, it’s just a label” is the next best thing to hoping one day people will say “I remember when there was no cure for fibromyalgia”.

A girl can dream …..

I’m speechless….we fight every day for them to believe what we are saying and now we may have a voice…..thank you to the one person who never gave up on us and really believed that Fibromyalgia is a real disease and we are suffering greatly. I pray for a cure now. Have had it for so long I have forgotten how it feels not to be ill and in misery all the time. God Bless all who suffer from this awful disease.

jeff yonts

My mom has fibromyalgia and she can’t get a doctor who understands! I’m glad this was finally made right!!


So glad my husband’s aunt posted this to my fb page. I fell at work in 1996 and wasn’t diagnosed until 2001 with fibromyalgia. I am 52, 4ft 10in. and only 114 lbs. I have no other health issues. I have had to learn the hard way what fibro is. I never read about it because I didn’t want to treat any articles as if they were astrology, telling me what I was GOING to feel or go through. I can go on and on, but what matters most is this has finally been recognized. Fibromyalgia is unseen, and therefore many don’t believe in it unless they have it, or know someone with it. My family has lived with it, seeing what I have gone through. It has limited my ability to do many things although I am a singer and dancer. I do things, but I cannot do anything for long periods of time. I cannot take walks or excercise without pain. Just folding laundry or simple house chores or gardening causes me pain, so it’s the only excercise I can do. But I have had many days with fatigue, especially with the stress and negativity I was under at work, which led to anxiety and panic attacks. Stress, and how others treat you play a huge role in flare ups of pain and fatigue.


I am so thankful for this fantastic news. I was diagnosed about 9 years ago by my Rheumatologist at Mass General Hospital in Boston. I’ve tried many pills that failed in the past. I live on acetaminophen arthritis, 2600 MG per day, just so I can go to work and function a little bit each day. I was a very active person until this nasty disease took control of my body. I hope I can fight back like I did from cancer and a heart attack at age 44. I’m tough and hope I can wait for some real relief. Thank you for all the work you’ve done.


I have struggled with fibromyalgia for 18 years. I was diagnosed by two forward thinking doctors as a freshman in high school. Since then I have had issues finding help to treat and minimize the pain and other symptoms. I am so happy that (maybe, fingers crossed) my struggle has ended and I will receive help!


I am so thankful this has happened! Thankfully I am blessed with a Rhuemotologist who has believed in me all along my journey and a private family doctor who believed me before that. Still, I have been fighting this disease since I was a teenager and it still took me 7 years of testing and specialists to get diagnosed. Although it is never a disease I would wish upon anyone, finally getting a diagnosis helped me so much. There have been people, even family members in the medical field who have tried to say this disease is not real. I would be glad to trade them bodies for a day anytime! The past 3 years have been my worst with this disease! I an so grateful I finally know what is wrong!


I’ve been hospitalized twice since June & noticed a big change in how people working at all levels have accepted the fibromyalgia diagnosis…though I’ve noticed some still have to swallow their disbelief & it’s a huge struggle. I’m a disabled nurse, which helps me relate & gives me an opening to share bits of my history & give them perspective on my pain management regime. I’ve had fibromyalgia since 1984, but it was misdiagnosed as lupus…despite seeing multiple doctors over the years, the diagnosis wasn’t changed until 2003…19 YEARS after the symptoms. I managed caregiving long distance for years before my mom came to live with us, plus my husband had gotten sick. My son was overwhelmed with that & my long hours. Unable to handle it, I quit the job & tried for a while to get a less stressful job, but even an interview wiped me out & the resumes were taxing because I also have a teaching degree & was a nurse informaticist, so I was applying for anything that fit the qualifications I have. I got too exhausted even to apply for disability (as many doctors had begged me to do over the years) & ended up having to hire a lawyer up front. I did let the officials know why I’d gone straight to a firm, & I think it helped. It still took a while & it was close. For my husband it was a lot more difficult, I think because he was so sick we ended up applying together.
This should make it easier.


Thank You So Much for all your Hard work…

Christi Shepard

I know exactly what you mean I’m not 43 n have had the disease since 22 it’s been so hard I also have other health issues but I believe I’ve passed this on to at least one of my children now maybe they won’t have as much problem as I had. God is soooo good…

Debra Foster

What a fantastic breath of fresh air…. I have suffered for 5 maybe 6 years…the last 3 years being the worst…. It was only 1 year ago that my GP told me I have Fibromyalgia…. I have never heard of this condition before that day…. I am fortunate that I don’t need to work… But unfortunate that I have 3 dependents at home….My husband works full time both work and home… maybe now I might be able to get some help where needed. My heart goes out to all Fibromyalgia sufferers….. And thank you to the people and all the hard work they have done to achieve this wonderful result.

Ann bolam

About time it was


I am so pleased to hear about this change. I really hope this means other positive changes are under way. This change is way overdue, but glad to see it, nonetheless.

Thank You so much for all you have done to get Fibromyalgia brought to the forefront and be recognized by doctors as a legitimate chronic disease. I was informed that my pain doctor doesn’t believe in Fibromyalgia, so it makes it hard to express the pain and get the right medications to treat it. He just treats my broken down back and legs and neck. I’ve thought of printing off a copy of the article and taking to him, but would probably cause me more harm than good considering I live in a small community and would have to search for another doctor and have to drive 100 miles round trip, and I have seizures and don’t need to drive too much. But again I appreciate everyone’s hard work and efforts for all they have done for the patients that are pushed to the back of the line. God Bless You.


It’s about time!
Now to find a cure…..
Enough said.

Thank God this has been proven. Fibromyalgia is real and I’ve been suffering for almost 25, yrs now with this disease. And was dignosed with it 9 yrs. ago! I also have degenerate disc disease also in my spine. And have had two surgeries on my neck! For slipped disc. I’ve been in my bed now for almost a month not having any energy or wanting to do anything im depressed and my doctor. Is only a pain doctor and i feel like i need to see a specialist that knows mire about this. Because he’s cut back my meds and is not following up on the things i need to do to make this better so i can have my life back again! Can someone please tell me what i should do and who I should see for this horrible pain and suffering that i deal with everyday! My bodys so sore and aching all over. Were I’m forgetting things and cannot sleep but im so exhausted that i need the sleep. But the pain keeps me up and the pain makes me so sick i cry all the time. And my boyfriend acts like he doesn’t believe it or wants to deal with it. Im afraid im loosing him! My body feels bruised like if you touch it its so sore and if i do anything i feel like ive ran a mile or more or been beat up literally! My kids our sad and do not understand whats wrong with me. And i feel like im missing out in so much in my life. That i just want to give up at times. But i have my faith and love my kids. I just need some kind of doctor who will help me and tell me what i can do. and as I get older the pain gets worse and im always catching infections and UTIs. And bacteria infections along with it and my blood pressure is always very low and they told me i was hypoglycemic and thats why i faint a lot. And my immune system is sleays so low! 5 yrs ago i was walking and doing what the doctor said I should do to help the pain. And one day i just woke up and was very sick and stopped urinating by myself and had to go to the ER, in a matter of two days because i could not go on my own. Im always so tired and fatigue and feel like i never get enough sleep! My doctor had cut back my pain meds so im having to stretch them out and my body is suffering for it. Because its not helping my pain. I cannot take Cymbalta. Lyrica or the other meds i had an allergic reaction to the Cymbalta twice and was deathly sick and broke out with horrible blisters and caught staff infection from the sores! And was in my house for over a year trying to find… Read more »


I am in shock! Amazing news for so many suffering! Thank God!!

Pauline Barrette

So grateful to have found a site that gives solid, helpful advice on fibro. Just knowing that no one ( especially some doctors) will be fluffing me off or suggesting a psych consult, will be life changing.
Can you tell me when this condition and diagnosis will also be recognized in Canada.

Ruthie Schulenburg

Maybe now we can get some help with our meds and other problems we suffer with this awful illness. Hopeful now every one will understand we REALLY do suffer every day physically and mentally with pain.

Michaelle Baker

As someone who has been fighting this for years,and not really knowing what it was I was fighting until a year ago,I am relieved! I go for my disability hearing today and of course,I hurt and feel like death warmed over.Just knowing that finally there is an advancement brings me a small glimmer of hope.This is real and the sooner the medical world gets behind its thousands of sufferers,there may be hope for a cure.

Thank goodness we are finally being recognised as having a real illness IV suffered from fibromyalgia since 1990 and it gets worse with time not better IV just learned to live with it a bit better hopefully now we can all get a bit more support .

Marilynne J Graham

Do you know if the Canadian Government has also approved this too? Thank you.

Debbie Phillips

Yahoo! It’s about time! Now maybe more doctors will be willing to listen to their patients, and treat them accordingly.


I’m in the process of filing for disability. I hope this helps. I have a handful of other conditions as well so hopefully it will be approved soon. We are broke. We have a roof over our head and food on the table. I’m grateful for that


Well at least in your country you can file for disability. In my country we do not have such a thing, we still hv to work for a living, so fight on people, fight on.

Diann Peters

Does any of your research indicate that clinically Fibro isn’t a progressive illness that causes us to get worse over the years that we live with it. There has been a “discussion” on the Fibro Angels Facebook group with one woman very adamant that clinically, it hasn’t been proven to be a progressive illness. I just know that the past 20+ yrs I’ve lived with it, my symptoms have gotten worse, my pain has gotten worse, I’m a shell of the person I used to be 20 yrs ago, etc., etc. She says we need to be compassionate and careful with what we tell others and that telling them they are doomed to get worse is neither helpful or honest. So, is this an illness that clinically progressively does get worse?

Mira malo

is there any chance Canada and Quebec will ever recodnize fibromyalgia is a real disease. ….because it is very hard to find a job or keep a job and there’s no help no where for us here and fibromyalgia as a lot of other problems related like my facial pain syndrome., dépression anxiety.ibs, hypothyroidism and more just very hard to live with…..thank you…


Finally and hopefully no more use of the label “Psychosomatic” by health care providers.