Performance of point count and dolorimetry in assessing nonarticular tenderness in children

Lily Neumann, Hugh A. Smythe, Dan Buskila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives To compare two methods for assessing tenderness in children: an 18-site point count by manual palpation and dolorimetry in nine tender point sites and four control sites. Methods: Nonarticular tenderness was measured in 338 healthy children. The extent of agreement between the two methods was evaluated by McNemar's test, and by validity measures, sensitivity and specificity. "Tenderness" was defined if 11 or more points were tender by palpation, or if dolorimetry threshold was below 4 kg. Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the dolorimetry method was 100% and 58.7%, respectively. When a 3 kg threshold was used, the sensitivity and specificity were 89.3% and 93.5%, respectively. The improvement in accuracy was especially remarkable for girls. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that in children the dolorimetry threshold for defining tenderness should be 3 kg, and not 4 kg, as in adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Pain
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Dolorimetry
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Palpation
  • Point count
  • Tenderness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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