Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a major public health problem affecting about one third of the adult population. Pain is often present without any specific findings in the musculoskeletal system and a strictly biomedical approach could be inadequate. A biopsychosocial model could give a better understanding of symptoms and new targets for management. Identification of risk factors for chronicity is important for prevention and early intervention. The cornerstones in management of chronic non-specific, and often widespread, musculoskeletal pain are non-pharmacological. Physical exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy, ideally in combination, are first line treatments in e.g. chronic low back pain and fibromyalgia. Analgesics are useful when there is a specific nociceptive component, but are often of limited usefulness in non-specific or chronic widespread pain (including fibromyalgia). Antidepressants and anticonvulsants could be of value in some patients but there is a need for more knowledge in order to give general recommendations.