Objective: To (a) develop a standardized tender point examination protocol [Manual Tender Point Survey (MTPS)] as a diagnostic procedure to evaluate the tender point (TP) criterion for fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) and (b) determine a threshold point for positive TP.
Methods: A standardized MTPS consisted of standardized components including (a) location of the survey sites, (b) patient and examiner positioning, (c) order of examination, (d) pressure application technique, and (e) pain severity rating scores [0 (no pain) - 10 (worst pain)]. Seventy patients with FM and 70 with chronic headache were examined using the MTPS protocol.
Results: A pain severity score of 2 (i.e., 0-1 = negative) was found to be an optimal threshold point for identifying positive TP, with sensitivity of 88.57% and specificity of 71.43%. These results are comparable to the sensitivity and specificity of the 1990 multicenter study.
Conclusion: The MTPS provides a step-by-step, standardized TP examination protocol, which is sensitive and specific in discriminating patients with FM from patients with chronic headache.