Created on: March 22, 2011
Fibromyalgia is a type of rheumatic disorder that is characterized by pain, fatigue and depression. The pain of fibromyalgia comes in three forms: The widespread pain that occurs throughout the body, the trigger points that cause radiating pain to other parts of the body and the tender point pain that causes increased pain when palpitated but does not travel to other parts of the body. The pain of the tender points are what we are going to focus on in this article.
What are tender points?:
Tender points are the pain points that are used to make a diagnoses of fibromyalgia. There are a total of 18 tender points on the fibromyalgia patients body. Out of the 18 points, only 11 need to be positive to have a positive diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
By "positive" , a tender point has to produce increased pain when pressure is applied to the spot. A tender point is usually the size of a penny or a quarter. The amount of pressure to make a positive diagnosis is 4kgs. This pressure can be produced by applying pressure with the fingers or an instrument that measures the amount of pressure being applied.
Where are the tender points?:
There are eight tender points on the front of the body. They are located on the neck, chest, arm and knees. On the back of the body, there are 10 tender points. They are located on the lower neck, top of the shoulders, upper back, below the waist near the hips and on the upper legs just below the buttocks. The tender points are not located in the joints, but in the fibrous tissue just below the skin.
Tender point locations are symmetrical, meaning there are the same amount of tender points on each side of the body.
General tender point information:
Fibromyalgia tender points can cause pain without palpitation. The pain increases substantially when palpitated. A tender point can be "felt" under the skin. It feels like a small, fairly hard lump under the skin. Pain from a tender point can appear suddenly and last from days to weeks.
Tender point treatment:
Trigger point injections are frequently used to treat tender points. These injections usually contain lidocaine, which numbs the tender point and eases the pain. Massage, especially deep massage can also be used to treat tender point pain. This can cause increased pain when started, but will eventually release the pain if done regularly.
Another method called Rolfing, can be a great help to tender point pain. If done regularly, rolfing can keep tender point pain from flaring. Deep massage, if done regularly, can also keep tender point pain from flairing. Regular massages and physical stretching has been shown to decrease all pain that arises from fibromyalgia.
Heat, especially moist heat can be very helpful for fibromyalgia tender points. If used in conjunction with deep massage and rolfing it can be highly beneficial in keeping tender point pain at a minimum. Cold, especially a technique called "cold spraying" can be helpful when used with massage. The effected tender point is sprayed with a "freezing" spray and then "massaged" to try to decrease the area of pain.
Fibromyalgia tender points can cause the sufferer a great deal of pain. But, there are many treatment techniques available to decrease the pain of tender points. If you feel you may have tender points, then you may be suffering from fibromyalgia. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the painful areas your experiencing and get a positive diagnosis so treatment can be started right away.
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Overview of fibromyalgia tender points