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Tender Points Exam Chart

Fibromyalgia Tender Points Exam


Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder, characterized by exhaustion and fatigue, making even the easiest activities challenging. Both mental and physical capabilities become exhausted.

3 to 6 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia occurs primarily in women of child-bearing age. However children, men and the elderly can also be affected by fibromyalgia.

People who experience the following symptoms may have fibromyalgia:

Tender Point Examination for Fibromyalgia

This exam is based on criteria standardized by the American College of Rheumatology. Accurate application of the exam indicates multiple tender points at characteristic locations shown in the chart to the left.

According to American College of Rheumatology criteria, people with fibromyalgia display pain and tenderness in eleven of the eighteen specific tender point locations, and includes a history of wide-spread chronic pain, lasting for more than three months.

Presently there are no laboratory tests available for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Health care professionals currently rely on medical history, reported symptoms, and a physical tender point examination.

Additional Fibromyalgia Symptoms:

Fibromyalgia Pain

Fibromyalgia pain is described as a deep muscular ache that can throb, twitch, stab, and shoot. Muscles can be numb, tingle and burn. Fibromyalgia pain and stiffness often increase during the morning. Triggers that can affect pain include cold or humid weather, lack of sleep, excessive physical or mental activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.

Sleep Problems

Fibromyalgia can interrupt and preventing deep, restorative sleep. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia patients receive limited REM sleep. Wakeful brain activity, associated with Fibromyalgia, can limit the restorative sleep phase, also known as, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

Sleep Management

Start a healthy sleep regimen:

Fibromyalgia Treatments

Complementary therapies can be beneficial. These include:

Support Resources

Living with a chronic illness can challenge an individual emotionally. Counseling with a trained professional may improve communication and understanding to help build healthy emotional support from family and friends.

Arthritis Foundation

Fibromyalgia Partnership

National Fibromyalgia Association

Wendy Wells

Author Wendy Wells NMD, accredited naturopath physician in Arizona. Call and schedule a 15 minute phone consultation, at no cost.

Fatigue, fibromyalgia and anemia topics, symptoms, and treatments.

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Updated: Feb 18 2018