Recently, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) released clinical criteria and a grading system for nociplastic pain affecting the musculoskeletal system. These criteria replaced the 2014 clinical criteria for predominant central sensitization (CS) pain and accounted for clinicians' need to identify (early) and correctly classify patients having chronic pain according to the pain phenotype. Still, clinicians and researchers can become confused by the multitude of terms and the variety of clinical criteria available. Therefore, this paper aims at (1) providing an overview of what preceded the IASP criteria for nociplastic pain ('the past'); (2) explaining the new IASP criteria for nociplastic pain in comparison with the 2014 clinical criteria for predominant CS pain ('the present'); and (3) highlighting key areas for future implementation and research work in this area ('the future'). It is explained that the 2021 IASP clinical criteria for nociplastic pain are in line with the 2014 clinical criteria for predominant CS pain but are more robust, comprehensive, better developed and hold more potential. Therefore, the 2021 IASP clinical criteria for nociplastic pain are important steps towards precision pain medicine, yet studies examining the clinimetric and psychometric properties of the criteria are urgently needed.
Keywords: central sensitization; neuropathic; nociceptive; nociplastic pain; precision medicine.