Fibro Facts, our newest series on Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia, is a series of illustrated facts about Fibromyalgia. The goal is to help increase awareness and understanding for the millions of people living with Fibromyalgia throughout the world and to help people recently diagnosed learn a bit more about Fibromyalgia!
Fact #3: To be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia you must have pain in 11 out of 18 tender points for more than 3 months
According to the American College of Rheumatology’s guidelines for diagnosing Fibromyalgia, one of the two symptoms that must be present is pain in at least 11 out of 18 tender points for more than 3 months.
Pain is very personal and subjective. As a result, one person saying they have “ pain all over” and another person saying they have “pain all over” are not necessarily the same level, same type of pain or anything else.
When diagnosing Fibromaylgia, the tender points test is very important, because it helps your physician determine what “pain all over” really means for each individual and whether it is enough pain in the right places for a long enough period of time to really be a possibility of Fibromyalgia.
When a person with Fibromaylgia has a certain amount of pressure applied to these tender points, he or she will feel pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points and that pain is highly likely to radiate into other places of the body.
However, just having pain in 11 of 18 of the tender points is not enough to get a diagnosis of Fibromaylgia, because there are many reasons someone can feel pain in these tender points. Other reasons for pain in tender points can range from muscle tightness to rheumatoid arthritis to injury to more.
So, in many ways, a tender point test is just a first step in diagnosis.