Multisite musculoskeletal pain is common among people suffering from low back pain. Although the mechanisms behind co-occurrence of multiple somatic symptoms and musculoskeletal pain are still unknown, patients with co-morbidities and co-occurring musculoskeletal symptoms tend to have worse functional status, a poorer prognosis and respond less favourably to treatment. Evidence also suggests that the more pain sites a patient reports, the more reduced their physical and mental function will be regardless of location of pain. At the same time, evidence suggests that strategies for diagnosis and treatment of low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders such as neck pain and lower limb osteoarthritis are very similar. In this chapter, we discuss the prevalence, consequences, and implications of commonalities between low back pain, pain in other sites and co-occurring pain. In addition, we propose a conceptual framework for a common stepwise approach to the diagnosis and management of back and musculoskeletal pain.
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology, 2013, Vol 27, Issue 5, p. 613-23