Tender points, or fibromyalgia “pain points”
In the past, a series of 18 tender points were used as a major benchmark in diagnosing fibromyalgia. Doctors understand that patients with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain, which can be related to the associated stress and muscle tension.
In the past, doctors would often diagnose fibromyalgia by putting pressure on these tender points and observing the patient’s response. The severity and number of points sensitive to pain were a sort of checklist for diagnosing fibromyalgia. While some doctors will still conduct a tender point test as part of their assessment, it is no longer considered the determining factor.
The most recent guidelines give poor sleep and fatigue nearly equal weight to pain, and depression is considered a minor symptom.
Tender points differ from the type of trigger points that are associated with myofascial pain syndrome or chronic pain syndrome.
Generally speaking, a trigger point is localized pain that can happen anywhere but is mostly found in the muscles. These trigger points can come and go and are often not associated with other symptoms.
The tender points for fibromyalgia are a specific selection of spots that are sensitive for most folks, but tend to be extra sensitive for those with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to be sore overall, and that soreness is often most obvious at those spots.