What Are Fibromyalgia Tender Points?

Fibro is confirmed by pain being experienced in 11 of the 18 tender points when pressure is applied. If the pain isn’t present your doctor should check again in a few months, if you meet other criteria.

Fibromyalgia tender points are the only difference between fibro and other autoimmune diseases, only fibromyalgia patients have them. Lupus patients and MS patients do not have them unless they have fibro as well as lupus, MS or other conditions.

Fibromyalgia diagnosis is made by eliminating all other illnesses that have similar symptoms. There is no blood test to diagnose fibro. The tender points are therefore like the icing on the cake for a fibromyalgia diagnosis.

If you meet the criteria of having chronic pain lasting more than three months, present in all four quadrants of the body, experience fatigue, and other fibro related symptoms and have a positive tender point test then you will be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Where are Fibro Tender Points?

The 18 fibromyalgia tender points are located symmetrically throughout the body, nine on each side. This means they appear both on the right side and left the side of the body in the exact same location.

These fibromyalgia tender points can really be found in any palpable muscle of a fibro patient, poke any muscle and it generally burns like crazy!

However, for diagnostic purposes, the 18 specific points are present in all patients with fibro. They have therefore become The American College Of Rheumatology’s criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

During your doctor’s visit, he will apply pressure with his thumb to several tender points. As a general rule, it will be 4kg of pressure, with a fibro patient it really doesn’t take that much pressure for it to hurt! He will ask you to tell him when and if it hurts. Don’t be brave, tell him!

In order to be diagnosed, you require 11 of the 18 points to be painful. Fibro symptoms come and go so you may see your doctor on a good day and have little pain. He should take this into consideration along with your history.

If he is doubtful of a fibro diagnosis, just try again in a few months time. Check out your own tender point areas to see if you experience pain or ask a friend or partner to apply gentle pressure. If you do not have pain, then chances are you do not have fibro and more testing is required to identify the cause of your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia tender points may also be called pressure points. They are sometimes referred to as trigger points but that is incorrect. Trigger points are a different thing altogether!