Are tender point scores assessed by manual palpation in fribromyalgia reliable?

J.W.G. Jacobs, R. Geenen, A. van der Heide, J.J. Rasker, J.W.J. Bijlsma

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    Abstract

    To determine the reliability of tender point assessment by manual palpation in patients with fibromyalgia, and to investigate the sources of variance, tender point scores by manual palpation were obtained in 30 fibromyalgia patients by 2 investigators; the assessments were repeated after 1 week. Test-retest stability and inter-observer agreement of tender point scores was moderate to high. The most important sources of variance were inter-individual patient differences in (1) mean tenderness (pain thresholds) and (2) tender point profiles (consistent intra-individual differences between the 14 tender point scores), and (3) residual variance, not attributable to any systematic effect (error). It is concluded that the reliability of tender point assessment by manual palpation is acceptable. It seems to be not less than reliability of assessment by pressure algometer. Tender point scores in fibromyalgia reflect individual differences in mean pain thresholds as well as individual tender point profiles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-247
    JournalScandinavian journal of rheumatology
    Volume24
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1995

    Keywords

    • Fibromyalgia
    • Tender point scores
    • Reliability
    • Generalizability
    • Pain

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