A Breakdown of Fibromyalgia Tender Points

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Front and Back of the Neck

Moving from the top to the bottom of the body, there are four tender points on the neck. At the back of the neck, you may experience pain or tenderness on either side of the spine, where it meets the base of the skull. On the front of the body, there is another pair of tender points on either side of the larynx, or voice box.

Tender points tend to be small, though the pain may spread to surrounding areas when pressure is applied. Fibromyalgia tender points differ from pain associated with arthritis, in that the pain is not situated in a joint, but in the surrounding tissue.

Upper Back and Chest

Doctors have learned that tender points often occur at the junction of tendon and muscle. For example, there is a pair of tender points in the upper back, where the shoulder blades connect to back muscles. You’ll find another pair a bit above that, mid-way between the edge of the shoulder blade and the base of the neck. A third set of tender points is found in the chest, on either side of the breastbone or sternum, below the collarbone.

Lower Back and Hips

Chronic pain in the hips and lower back is extremely common, and may indicate any number of conditions or injuries. However, the distinctive location of these tender points can help your doctor determine whether your pain is caused by fibromyalgia. In the lower back, the tender points are located at the very base of the back, on either side of the spine, just above the buttocks. The tender points in the hips are also lower than you might think. These manifest as pain in the area where the muscles of the buttocks curve inward to meet the upper thighs.

Elbows and Knees

Fibromyalgia patients often experience pain near bony protrusions like the elbows and knees. The elbow tender points tend to be a bit below the crease of each elbow, along the forearm, toward the outer part of the arm. Knee pain is usually felt in the inside of each knee pad, rather than in the knee joint itself.

It is important to remember that pain in these areas may have a number of causes. If you are experiencing pain, talk to your doctor. He or she will evaluate your pain, examine additional symptoms, and may conduct more tests to reach the correct diagnosis and establish a treatment plan that’s right for you.

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