- What causes fibromyalgia?
- What are fibromyalgia trigger points?
- How does fibromyalgia affect the body? (Signs and Symptoms)
- Fibromyalgia Complications and Risk Factors
- Diagnosing fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia Treatment and Medication
- Living with fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia misconceptions
- Your fibromyalgia questions answered
What are fibromyalgia trigger points?
Doctors have determined 18 different trigger points (broken down into 9 pairs) in the body based on cases of fibromyalgia around the world. Many may describe their symptoms of pain as “I hurt all over”.
In the process of trying to determine what is painful and why a person is feeling sensations of pain, medical doctors have broken down common areas of the body into what is now known as ‘trigger points’ (areas of the body where pain sensations are most prominent).
For someone experiencing this condition, pressing these different trigger points will be incredibly painful. A normal person will likely describe the pressing sensation as pressure and not as pain.
The trigger points which will be assessed during a consultation with a doctor are:
- Back of the neck: Pain may be felt in the area where the skull meets the neck (at the base of the head). Common influencers which may be triggering or causing the pain could be injury (repetitive injuries to the same area), activities which strain the neck (uncomfortable sleeping positions or slouching) or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Front of the neck: Pain can also occur at the front of the neck, just above the collarbone and on either side of the larynx.
- Upper back: Pain is particularly tender in the area where back muscles connect to the shoulder blades (connecting tendons and muscles) in the body.
- Lower back: Pain is commonly felt at the top of the buttock area, at the base of the back (lower back).
- Shoulders: Some experience pain in the area of the upper back that is halfway between the edge of the shoulders and the base of the neck.
- Chest: Pain may also be felt on either side of the sternum (or breastbone), just beneath the collarbone in the chest area (close to or near the second rib).
- Hips: Where the buttock muscles curve and join the thighs of the body, pain can occur. Some triggers may be similar to those of osteoarthritis (although pain with this condition is more typically felt in the joints).
- Elbows: Pain and stiffness can also be felt in the forearms, near (or below) the crease of the elbow and out towards the outer side of each arm. Some triggers could be repetitive strain injuries to the same area or tendonitis.
- Knees: A person with fibromyalgia will experience pain, tenderness or stiffness on the inside of each knee pad.