Musculoskeletal pain is a frequent presenting complaint to primary care physicians. The majority of these patients have a localized disorder from overuse, trauma, or degenerative disease. A smaller number of patients present with more generalized musculoskeletal pain and a multitude of complaints that may represent a wide spectrum of illnesses varying from any of the connective tissue diseases to articular manifestations of nonrheumatologic diseases. Although the extent of evaluation of these patients will differ, a similar approach designed to answer several simple questions can be used in both settings. As one does the history and physical examination, the following questions should be answered: (1) Is the problem localized or generalized? (2) Is it structural or inflammatory? (3) What structure or structures are involved? (4) Are there systemic symptoms or extraarticular manifestations?
KeywordsAnkylose Spondylitis Connective Tissue Disease Giant Cell Arteritis Inclusion Body Myositis Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
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