Chronic primary musculoskeletal pain: A new concept of nonstructural regional pain

Mary Ann Fitzcharles, Steven P. Cohen, Daniel J. Clauw, Geoffrey Littlejohn, Chie Usui, Winfried Häuser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The concept that a regional musculoskeletal pain may occur in the absence of identifiable tissue abnormality may be puzzling. Previously these regional complaints were generally categorized as myofascial pain syndromes, or prior to the formalization of the nociplastic pain concept, as musculoskeletal pain with a neuropathic component, and treatments were anatomically focussed. Chronic primary musculoskeletal pain is now identified under the chronic primary pain stem category with the mechanistic descriptor of nociplastic pain. It is possible that many patients previously diagnosed with myofascial pain do in fact suffer from chronic primary musculoskeletal pain, requiring a paradigm shift in management towards more centrally directed treatment strategies. Many questions remain, including validation of the proposed examination techniques, prevalence, ideal treatment, and uptake and acceptance by the healthcare community. This new classification should be welcomed as an explanation for regional pain conditions that previously responded poorly to physically focussed treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1023
Number of pages4
JournalPain Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2022


  • Chronic
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Pain
  • Primary

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