Fibromyalgia Tender Points – How Many??

These are ‘points’, or small areas on the body approx the size of a small coin, that are used as part of the confirmation of the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

At least they used to be. I have heard of people being diagnosed recently without having this test done, even though it has been recognised for a long time as the definitive ‘final criteria’.

The criteria is that if you have 11 out of 18, then you have FM.

Unfortunately, because I am working off my phone I can’t add a picture, but here is a link to an excellent picture of where the tender points are
Mayo Clinic Website with good picture of FM tender points

There is a lot of information online regarding the tender points if anyone wants to read up on them. But my purpose with this post is to talk about our experiences of them.

I know when mine were tested the pressure applied made me shout in pain, even tho the drs only apply enough pressure to turn the nail white – which really isn’t much. And the Rheumatologist demonstrated by pressing a normal area on my arm. It just felt like pressure. It didn’t hurt.

But press on a tender spot and Yowza!!! You know about it!!
It also stays hurting for a fair while afterwards 😥

The thing is……and what I am interested to hear about from anyone who’s willing to share…..I have an awful lot more than 18. I have about 16 on my head alone!

And I also have them at the front of my knees, kind of at the top of my shins. Those ones stop me from kneeling down basically. It was one of the first ways my FM hindered my movements. All of a sudden it was just excruciating to kneel on the floor.

My mum had FM too, for 25 years, and like me, she had a lot more than 18.

Another really bad one is on my brow ridge. Try pressing just on the underside of your eyebrow close to your nose, on the top bit of your eye socket.  I naturally use my thumb for that area.

Have you got one there?
You’ll soon know if you have!!

I really must stop prodding myself here as I am describing and typing! It hurts o_O

Other places – just above my bum/lower spine area, on each side. That area causes me to do an involuntary Wily Coyote impersonation as he gets fired out of a canon!! Only the air turns blue in my vicinity at the same time!!

So, I really am interested to know do other fibromites have oodles of extra tender points too? Or am I just a bit peculiar here?

ps – an accupuncturist once agreed with me that it was interesting how FM tender points align with accupuncture points, but she couldn’t expand on it or offer any insight. Does anybody know why they align?

pps – this post was inspired by the lovely Elsie on her blog HERE

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6 Responses to Fibromyalgia Tender Points – How Many??

  1. Trisha says:

    I also have a lot of tender areas that aren’t in the traditional tender point areas. Some of them are a lot bigger too. They’re not always tender either. In fact, a few years ago, even the tender points they test for fibromyalgia weren’t tender, making a doctor doubt my diagnosis. But now I’m covered in tender points and tender areas again. It’s all such a mystery!

    I hadn’t thought about the tender points being over acupuncture points. That’s really interesting. I’ll have to look into that more.


  2. Elsie G. says:

    I don’t how to define the location of my tender points haha. They are all over the place and it sure feels like I have more than the 18.
    Especially in the brow and head…. 🙂
    That’s very intersting what the acupuncturist said….it’d be interesting knowing more about that.
    And thankyou for the pps link. 😛 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moongazer says:

      I was given accupuncture for my FM pain, Elsie, and the first two needles went into the two tender points at the top of my back. It was not pleasant. I had the six sessions “prescribed” but it did nothing to relieve anything. It just took me twice as long to get back to my car. About a year later a different physio decided the first one cant have used the right needles. The needles she used were so thick they made me bleed and there was swelling for a couple of days after 😥
      However…..applying pressure to the same areas is totally different. Yes its a pain to go through at first but sustained pressure – and quite firm *does*”relieve my pain and the muscles loosen a bit. But accupressure isnt available on the NHS and the cost has put me off finding someone privately. I had to buy a couple of tools to actually get the right amount of pressure.
      I still have them, but its not easy to do it yourself


      • Elsie G. says:

        I can imagine it would be difficult doing it yourself. I got a very funny image in my head thinking about me stabbing needles into my own back… lol
        I went to a physio for awhile and because massage was too painful for me, she said she was going to try “dry needling”. Have you heard of it? Essentially it is needle work for tender points or trigger points only, and it doesn’t follow the meridian or acupuncture points.
        It was super painful. I was crying a bit but she was very understanding and stopped. Eventually she told me that she really wasn’t getting anywhere and that I was basically wasting my money. (She was really nice, so I fully believed her). She said it was mere maintenance rather than progressive therapy.

        basically I agree with you. The recovery of the sessions was not worth the actual sessions I had….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Moongazer says:

    I havent heard of that but I can imagine how painful it was. It’s astonishing what we go through to try and feel better, isnt it?!
    There is a therapy called Trigger point therapy. You can buy books about it but I have only read about it briefly.
    These tools dont have needles. They are made of hard plastic and comprise a hand grip with at least one penny sized sphere at the end but at an angle to the grip. I eventually found mine on ebay. They are generally called massagers, i think.
    It’s definitely a ‘go through the pain barrier’ therapy. But when I was at my absolute worst it did help. Massage can be a pain barrier one too, I know. But as weird as it sounds, I have found that the more pressure applied, the better the results. For about 20 minutes anyway :-\


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