What Are Fibromyalgia Pressure Points

Fibromyalgia pressure points are specific areas of the body where pain can occur. According to the American College of Rheumatology, there are 18 possible pressure points throughout the body. If a minimum of 11 of these 18 are tender, and there is widespread pain lasting at least three months, a person may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

These pressure points hurt when they are pressed, but the pressure does not cause pain in any other part of the body. Pain in pressure points may change from time to time. Certain areas may also get worse or better in a regular cycle. 

Pressure Points in the Body

  • Occiput: There are two here. The occiput is located near the base of the skull, where the suboccipital muscles are attached.
  • Low cervical: There are two here, found between the C5 and C7 vertebrae, which are located in the lower neck.
  • Trapezius: There are several possible locations for pressure points here. These points exist in the neck, the upper back and the mid back, all between the shoulder blades. While there are two recognized pressure points, any source of fibromyalgic pain in this area will be labeled as a trapezius pressure point.
  • Supraspinatus: These two pressure points are found above the scapula. This muscle is also known as the rotator cuff.
  • Second rib: There are two pressure points here, where the upper lateral muscles attach to the second rib.
  • Lateral epicondyle: These are located on the side of the elbow. There is one pressure point on each elbow.
  • Gluteal: These pressure points are found in the upper section of the buttocks.
  • Greater trochanter: One pressure point exists on each side of the body, in the upper part of the thigh.
  • Knee: The final two pressure points can be found in the center of each knee joint.

Tender Points and Trigger Points
These pressure points are known as tender points because pressing on them causes pain, but the pain does not radiate to other parts of the body. They should not be confused with trigger points, which are areas that cause radiating pain.

Trigger points often respond well to massage, exercise and stretching. Tender points do not, and attempts to massage or stretch these areas may result in tenderness that lasts for several days.

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