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Tender Point Test To Prove Fibromyalgia

Dear Brian

I was involved in a road traffic accident following which I initially suffered from a whiplash injury with pain to my neck and back. It has now been 9 months since the accident and the pain has spread so that I have pain all over my body. I am convinced that I am suffering from fibromyalgia as I seem to suffer from the majority of symptoms in addition to the widespread pain including disturbed and unrefreshing sleep and loss of concentration. The pain has reached the point where I had to give up my job!

I went to my GP, presented my concerns and a tender point test was performed. Unfortunately, only 4 tender points presented with pain leading my GP to be of the opinion that I was not suffering from fibromyalgia.

Bearing in mind that I fit the bill for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia according to the other diagnostic criteria, is it still possible that I am suffering from fibromyalgia despite ‘failing’ the tender point test?



Dear Wayne

The tender point test was developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990 as a diagnostic tool for diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Over the years it has become apparent that many primary care physicians such as GPs are unable to perform the test correctly. This has lead to some GPs missing an otherwise clear diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

This was one of the reasons that the ACR developed a further set of guidelines in 2010 that give an alternative route to diagnosing fibromyalgia without the need for a tender point test.

It is therefore certainly possible that you are indeed suffering from fibromyalgia despite your GPs medical opinion. However, that is a diagnosis that only a medical professional can make. You may want to ask your GP to consider the 2010 criteria or refer you to a rheumatologist.

Brian Barr

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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