The diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be quite difficult to do. Because experience with pain is unique to each individual, when a doctor or physician is checking aches and pains on a patient and asking questions about how they are feeling, the responses they are receive may not be precise enough to give an adequate analysis in order to make an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
An quick and easy check-up of the several body points, known as the tender points, could serve a physician well in their efforts to provide his or her patient with an accurate and carefully considered diagnosis.
The tender points will be very painful when pressure is applied to them if a person indeed has some sort of body ailment, such as fibromyalgia. Sometimes, when pressure is applied to these tender points on the body, the pain from the application will spread to various other parts of the body.
The tender points are in a total of eighteen points on the body, but are grouped into pairs because the body is constructed symmetrically. According the American College of Rheumatology, someone that is suffering from fibromyalgia pain will have that pain in at least eleven of the tender points when their doctor applies firm pressure onto the location.
The Neck (Back and Front)
Working from top to bottom, the neck is a very common tension point for those that may be suffering from the fibromyalgia disorder. The tender point can be located on the back of the neck. This point is specifically at the place where the neck and the base of the head or skull connect.
This sort of neck pain can be caused by certain injuries, cases of rheumatoid arthritis, and activities that cause the neck to strain such as deep slouching and awkward sleeping positions.
The front of the neck can also be a tender point for someone that is suffering from fibromyalgia. Doctors often check this point when examining patients that could potentially have fibromyalgia. The pain will be striking when touched. Either side of the neck can be considered tension trigger points. They can be located above the collarbone and on each side of the larynx.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia will commonly experience pain in tender points that are located on each side of the sternum. Located just a few inches below the collarbone and very close the second rib, these two tension points can cause extreme discomfort and even anxiety because they are located in an area that protects the lungs and heart.
In the area just above the upper back, there are two tender points that are commonly referred to by those who receive diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia. In the location that can be found halfway between the edges of the shoulders and the very bottom of the neck lays these two highly sensitive tender points. These points are particularly susceptible to pain because the neck, shoulders, and back are used so often and in virtually every range of motion that body executes. These points will significantly affect sleeping and will disrupt sleeping habits.
The Upper Back
Tender points are typically located at the points where the body’s tendons and muscles are connected. There are two such points located on the upper part of the back. These two tender points are found where the body’s back muscles are connected to the shoulder blades. These particular tension points can cause severe discomfort levels and will affect sleeping.
The Lower Back
Lower back trouble is very common and affects many people that do not necessarily have the fibromyalgia disorder. It is so common that approximately twenty-five percent of the United States adult population has reported that they have experienced some type of lower back pain in some degree. The difference between these people with common lower back pain and those that may have fibromyalgia will find painful trigger points located at the very top of their buttocks. The tension points can be located at the bottom of the lower back where the back meets the buttocks.
There are not any tension spots located on the forearm or bicep, but these areas may still be subject to pain. However, the pain centralized in these areas will be muscle pain rather than joint pain. Higher up on the forearm, near that creasing point on the elbow is where tension points are located.
Additionally, there is another tension point located on the hinge point of the elbow on the outer and opposite side of the arm. While a physician or doctor may check these points in a fibromyalgia diagnostic test, it can be concluded that the pain in an elbow or elbow joint can be stemming from strain injuries that have been reinjured or simple tendonitis.
Hip pain is a common symptom of osteoarthritis, but those that have it will feel it in the joints of the hips rather than on the hips themselves. In stark contrast, those that could have fibromyalgia will feel pain near their buttocks. The tender points on the hips will be in the muscles of the buttocks near where the muscles curve and meet the thigh muscles.
Knee pain is another common type of pain that many people will report to their doctors or physicians. Various parts of the knee may cause people trouble, including tendons in the knee such as the ACL and MCL that are crucial ligaments, but those that are suffering from fibromyalgia will have pain in one specific area. People with fibromyalgia will have pain and tension points that will feel very tender to the touch. These tension points are located on the inside of the knee pad or knee cap.
A good physician will look to check his or her patients for tender points in these areas before giving their analysis of fibromyalgia and diagnosis. These tender points are the most commonly reported by those that have fibromyalgia so they are checked with the greatest frequency. There are more painful areas on the body being affected by fibromyalgia, but these tender points serve a physician completing a diagnostic test most appropriately.