Some of the most common fibromyalgia tender points are located on the neck and upper back. Other common tender spots are found on the upper chest including just above and below the collarbone on each side of the body. Fibromyalgia tender points may also affect the outer elbows, outer hips, and inner knee.
There are 18 fibromyalgia tender points on the body, although only 11 of these need to be painful for a positive diagnosis. These 18 tender points are actually nine pairs which are symmetrically located on the body. There are a large number of other potential tender points, although only 18 have been approved for diagnosing the condition. It is important to note that a patient must also suffer from widespread pain over a period of time to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Several of the most common fibromyalgia tender points are located on the neck and upper back. Two are located at the “occiput,” which is where the neck muscles insert into the skull., Tender points are also sometimes found in the trapezius and supraspinatus muscles, which are part of the shoulder toward the lower part of the neck.
There are also tender points just above the collarbone on the front of the body. Slightly lower than this are two more, which are easily located by placing the fingers either side of the breastbone. In most cases, these points are found about 2 inches (5 cm) lower than the collarbone.
A common fibromyalgia tender point is found on the side of each elbow. To find this point, the finger should start on the outer side of the elbow crease. Slightly below this point is where the tender spot may be located.
There are several other fibromyalgia tender points that are used for diagnosis. Just above the buttocks on each side are two potential points; there are also tender spots on the outer hips. The inner side of both knees may also be affected by tender points.
Finding fibromyalgia tender points can be difficult, which is why a doctor is needed to diagnose the condition. The tender points are often quite small, but will cause a physical reaction when touched. Pain from these tender spots may be localized or it may spread to other regions of the body. Some people refer to tender points as “trigger points,” although this can cause confusion between spots that are related to fibromyalgia and those which cause myofascial pain.