This is fibromyalgia (FM) awareness month, so it is only fitting that we clear up some confusion between tender points and trigger points. Knowing the difference can affect your diagnosis and treatment.
What are Tender Points?
Tender points are specific areas of tenderness, which have been mapped out on the “Tender Point Model.” The tender point model became part of the American College of Rheumatology criteria in 1990 after its development for a fibromyalgia study.
Characteristics of Tender Points
The examiner cannot feel them.
They cause local pain when pressed.
They are no longer restricted to points on the tender point model.
Though often found around joints.
They are not related to joint disease or joint pain.
They do not cause deep pain.
They are not related to muscle pain.
Tenderness is due to an upset in the central nervous system, called centralization.
Finding Pause for the Use of the Tender Point Model
Those who treat ...
When I read articles or hear people talk about fibromyalgia, I often see the terms tender points and trigger points used interchangeably. Sometimes even medical professionals will mix them up. The fact is, tender points and trigger points are two very different things. If you have fibromyalgia, you probably know that tender points are used in diagnosing FM. But then what are trigger points?
To learn what each is and how to differentiate between them, read: The Difference Between Tender Points and Trigger Points
For years people with fibromyalgia who are unable to continue working at a full-time job have struggled and worried about whether they would qualify for Social Security Disability. Finally, last week the Social Security Administration issued a ruling providing guidance on how they develop evidence to establish that a person has a medically determinable impairment (MDI) of fibromyalgia, and how they evaluate fibromyalgia in disability claims and continuing disability reviews under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. This ruling went into effect on July 25, 2012.
For a complete copy of the ruling, including footnotes, references and a tender point diagram, see Social Security Ruling, SSR 12-2p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Fibromyalgia in the Federal Register. Following is a copy of the core elements of the ruling that I think would be of most interest to people with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a complex medical condition characterized p...
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