What are tender points?
Tender points are pain spots that are located around the joints. When touched, they hurt. These points aren't deep. In fact, they are superficial spots just below the skin's surface, for example, above the shoulder or elbow. Tender points can be seen and felt in the neck, chest, back, hips, knees and buttocks. These points total up to 18 different sites in the body.

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How large are tender points?
Tender points aren't large. In fact, they are very small. They are sensitive to touch and much more sensitive than neighboring areas. A slight pressure applied a tender point will make a patient pull back in pain. Healthy people may also have tender spots but are no as sensitive as patients of fibromyalgia. That's why these tender spots make good diagnostic tools for fibromyalgia.

Why do tender points develop?
The cause of tender points is still not known. However, these areas may just be inflamed, though research does not point to any particular reasons for inflammation. One fact that's known is that the locations of these points is predictable. So, patients of fibromyalgia have similar symptoms with regard to tender points.

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