Woman touching her neck

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be tough. Pain is highly personal, so one person’s “I hurt all over” isn’t necessarily the same as another person’s “I hurt all over.” That’s why doctors often check for certain tender points on the body when it comes to diagnosing fibromyalgia. These 18 points (9 pairs) tend to be painful when pressed, and may spread pain to other body parts.

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Where does it hurt?

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be tough. Pain is highly personal, so one person’s “I hurt all over” isn’t necessarily the same as another person’s “I hurt all over.”

That’s why doctors often check for certain tender points on the body when it comes to diagnosing fibromyalgia. These 18 points (9 pairs) tend to be painful when pressed, and may spread pain to other body parts.

American College of Rheumatology guidelines suggest that people with fibromyalgia have pain in at least 11 of these tender points when a doctor applies a certain amount of pressure. Find out if your pain seems to match up.

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Back of the neck

If you have fibromyalgia, you may have tender points at the back of the neck, where the base of the skull and the neck meet.

Neck pain can also be caused by injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, or activities that strain the neck, like slouching or sleeping in an uncomfortable position.

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Elbows

Fibromyalgia patients may also feel tenderness on their forearms, near the crease of each elbow. The pain tends to be below the crease and toward the outer side of the arm.

Other causes of elbow pain can include tendonitis or repetitive strain injuries.

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Front of the neck

In addition to the back of the neck, doctors will check potential fibromyalgia patients for pain at the front of the neck.

This pair of trigger points is located well above the collarbone, on either side of the larynx.

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Hips

Hip pain is common in those with osteoarthritis, but people with arthritis tend to feel it in the joint.

In contrast, people with fibromyalgia may have a tender point near where the buttock muscles curve to join the thighs.

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