Chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain - a comparison of those who meet criteria for fibromyalgia and those who do not

Eur J Pain. 2008 Jul;12(5):600-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2007.10.001. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Fibromyalgia is currently classified as chronic widespread pain with widespread allodynia to pressure pain. There are few data describing pain characteristics, quality of life, consequences for daily living, and psychosocial status in patients who meet the classification criteria for fibromyalgia proposed by the American College of Rheumatology compared with patients with chronic widespread pain but not widespread allodynia. This study used a randomly selected sample from the general population. A postal questionnaire and a pain mannequin were sent to 9952 people. The response rate was 76.7%. The pain drawings showed that 345 people had widespread pain; that is, they noted pain in all four extremities and axially. Clinical examination, which included a manual tender point examination, was performed in 125 subjects. These people answered commonly used questionnaires on pain, quality of life, coping strategies, depression, and anxiety. Compared with chronic widespread pain without widespread allodynia, fibromyalgia was associated with more severe symptoms/consequences for daily life and higher pain severity. Similar coping strategies were found. Chronic widespread pain without widespread allodynia to pressure pain was found in 4.5% in the population and fibromyalgia in 2.5%.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Creatine Kinase, MM Form / blood
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / classification
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis*
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / classification
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / classification
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / psychology
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pressure / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Creatine Kinase, MM Form