Widespread muscle pain and tender points are the most common complaints of fibromyalgia patients, and the underlying mechanisms responsible for these symptoms have been studied intensively during the past decade. It has been suggested that fatigue and pain may lead to decreased levels of physical activity in many patients. The resulting deconditioned state may itself contribute to muscle abnormalities. Associated symptoms such as disturbed sleep, anxiety, depression, or irritable bowel also may have a negative impact on muscle function and level of daily activities. The important interactions between the central nervous and musculoskeletal systems may involve another element, the neuroendocrine stress-response system. This review will consider both the current state of knowledge and also future studies which might be designed to answer more effectively the outstanding questions regarding the underlying pathogenesis of fibromyalgia.