What Are Fibromyalgia's Tender Points?

There are 18 possible tender points associated with fibromyalgia, which are located on the back of the head, shoulders, elbows, hips, buttocks and knees, according to Healthline. Tender points feel sore when pressed and are one factor physicians use to diagnose fibromyalgia.

Tender points are very small, superficial areas of sensitivity just under the skin, explains WebMD. They are localized areas of tenderness about the size of a penny found around joints but not in the joints themselves. Symptoms of widespread pain must be present for at least three months in order for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be rendered.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain, headaches, jaw pain, fatigue, insomnia, depression and irritable bowel syndrome. Confusion, trouble concentrating on mental tasks, and other cognitive difficulties are known as fibro fog. The effects of pain on the brain or lack of oxygen to the brain tissues possibly causes these common symptoms, states Healthline.

Symptoms can occur gradually over time with no causal event, or they can begin after a physical trauma such as surgery or infection, explains Mayo Clinic. Psychological stress can trigger fibromyalgia. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. While no cure exists, medications, diet, exercise, stress reduction and relaxation methods can help control symptoms.