One of the first signs that a person may be battling fibromyalgia syndrome is that they will begin to have pain in specific areas of their body.
Known as “Pain Points,” these are areas that tend to be identified by patients and healthcare providers as being common amongst fibromyalgia sufferers, though the severity and consistency will vary depending on each individual’s pain tolerance and specific situation.
Though widespread pain is often a chief complaint for people with fibromyalgia, learning to target where these exact pain points are – and what level of pain you are experiencing – will help you to be able to communicate your symptoms and hopefully get the fibromyalgia diagnosis you’ve been searching for.
What Are Pain Points?
As defined by the American College of Rheumatology, pain points are specific areas on a person’s body that are more uncomfortable when pressed on or touched than other areas of the body.
Though the cause of the pain is still not clear, it has been found that these pain points tend to present in most people who are experiencing other fibromyalgia symptoms and that the pain – though not always the same intensity – will consistently be present when that same point is touched at different times of any given day.
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Pain Points in the Legs
Our legs are one of the most common areas where pain points tend to be found, and many patients report that the pain they feel in their upper and lower legs can be quite severe.
Though a patient may feel more severe pain in one of these spots over the others, it’s common for people with fibromyalgia to experience equal pain in both knees, or in both upper legs.
This is one way that a healthcare provider can rule out a torn muscle or stretched ligament.
When the pain is presenting on both sides of the body, it’s easier to conclude that the pain point is a result of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Pain Points in the Arms
As with our legs, a person’s arms get a fairly big workout during the day, and it’s not uncommon to have areas of soreness or pain after extensive exercise or when engaging in an activity that is strenuous in nature.
This pain is usually felt on the outside of the arms, right inside the elbow.
Oftentimes, the pain points in the arms are some of the first signs of fibromyalgia, as the pain will be sudden and severe.
Pain Points in the Neck
Though many of us experience some sort of neck pain as we age, the pain points found in the neck that are associated with fibromyalgia are very specific and not due to sleeping poorly or straining a neck muscle.
Like with the legs, there are 4 pain points in the neck, two on each side.
When pressure is applied to this area, the fibromyalgia sufferer usually experiences a sharp feeling up the sides of the neck and into the jaw.
The other two pain points are right at the base of your skull in the back of your neck. These tend to be tender to the touch and don’t necessarily cause a sharp pain.
Again, each person can present differently, but it’s common for pain to be found in both sides of the neck if the pain is due to fibromyalgia.
Pain Points in the Upper Back and Shoulders
Another common place where fibromyalgia sufferers tend to feel pain is in their upper back and shoulders.
There are a total of four pain points that are considered part of the upper back and shoulders region.
The first two are on the right and left of the trapezius muscle, up close to the neck. Pain in this area often causes fibromyalgia sufferers to experience headaches, as the soreness and discomfort tends to move upwards and put pressure on their spinal column.
Though our upper backs and shoulders can be fraught with various sorts of muscle strain and pain, it’s important to know that fibromyalgia pain is more specific and concentrated in these areas.
And it doesn’t go away with rest, icing, or other forms of treatment.
Pain Points in the Lower Back
Pain points in the lower back are probably even more challenging to understand, since our lower backs are often fraught with all sorts of various aches and pains, based on our activity, our age, and our posture.
But again – if you find a consistency in your pain severity (despite any pain medication you take or amount of rest you get) – there is a good chance that your back pain has nothing to do with a muscle spasm or strain and instead everything to do with a potential fibromyalgia diagnosis.
The fibromyalgia tender points in the lower back are located right above a person’s buttocks, and can be felt when pressure is put on the small bones that are at the top of the hips.
These spots in a person’s back tend to be prone to injury and inflammation, since the connective tissues around your hips and back tend to oftentimes be overworked.
But when pain is presenting in both sides of a person’s lower back – in the same spot – there is definitely reason to believe that fibromyalgia might be the cause.
Pain Points in the Chest
The last two spots on a person’s body that are identified as fibromyalgia pain points are located in the person’s chest.
These points are situated right below a person’s collarbone on each side of the top of their rib cage.
Since our chest area tends to be more sensitive to pain than other parts of our body, it makes sense that this area would definitely house at least one of the multiple fibromyalgia tender points.
Having chronic pain in the chest area can even lead a fibromyalgia sufferer to feel as though they are struggling to get a deep breath.
How Can Knowing My Pain Points Help Me?
Knowing where your widespread pain is coming from – and which tender points are contributing to it – is going to be extremely useful when you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your widespread pain index and what can be done.
Once you identify your fibromyalgia tender points, you will have a solid reason to believe that all the other fibromyalgia symptoms you’ve been experiencing are also related to fibromyalgia.
Getting a solid understanding of your tender points criteria is going to help you help your healthcare professional in diagnosing your fibromyalgia once and for all.
More and more often, people are beginning to ask: is fibromyalgia a disability? It is possible to receive disability payments for fibromyalgia and the first step is a clear diagnosis from your physician.
Arming yourself with as much information as possible is going to go a long way in helping you find the right professional who can finally diagnose fibromyalgia as the root of your tender point pain and other symptoms that you’ve been living with for a long time.
At Native Formulas, we want to be the place where you can find information and comfort while trying to navigate the world of dealing with your fibromyalgia and widespread pain.
Learning about your tender points and other symptoms of fibromyalgia will allow you to be your best advocate, and finally, get the help you deserve for your fibromyalgia syndrome.
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