Tender points are specific sites on the body that cause pain when
pressed. The pain may spread when a tender point is pressed and causes pain in
a larger area (for example, down the leg, arm, or back).
9 pairs of tender points. Each pair has one point on each side of the body, for
a total of 18 points. These pairs are located:
At the back of the neck behind the ear, where
the neck muscles attach to the base of the skull.
between the base of the neck and the tip of the shoulder.
spot where the back muscles attach to the shoulder blade.
front of the neck above the collarbone.
Just to the right and left
of the breastbone (sternum) about
2 in. (5 cm) below the
On each forearm just below and to the outside of the
crease of the elbow.
Just above and to the outside of each
On the outer upper leg just behind the bony part of the
hip (this point is easier to find when standing).
On the inside of
For a clear diagnosis of fibromyalgia, according to the
American College of Rheumatology guidelines, a person must have pain at 11 or
more of the 18 tender points. In practice, though, many people with
fibromyalgia have fewer than 11 tender points.
Experts call these
tender points, but you may also hear them called trigger points.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.