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In 1990 the American College of Rheumatology developed the tender point exam, which maps 18 specific points on the body that are extremely sensitive in people with fibromyalgia. In order for your doctor to diagnose you with fibromyalgia, you need to experience pain in at least 11 of these points and have constant, widespread pain for at least three months.
When mild pressure is applied to any of these soft-tissue tender point areas around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee and elbow regions, a patient with fibromyalgia often experiences it as pain. Another symptom: applying pressure to these points may trigger pain in a larger region, such as down your leg.
If you have widespread, frequent pain, above and below the waist, on both sides of your body, and in the neck, chest, or back, ask your doctor to administer the tender point test for a definitive fibromyalgia diagnosis. Once you?ve gotten a diagnosis you can begin to create a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.
Reviewed by Steven King, M.D.