Are the ACR 2010 diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia better than the 1990 criteria?

Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini, Fabiola Atzeni, Ignazio Francesco Masala, Fausto Salaffi, Joab Chapman, Ernest Choy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fibromyalgia (FM) is difficult to diagnose and manage chronic pain condition whose symptoms have no clear pathophysiological cause, although it is thought that patient hypersensitivity to a range of stimuli may give rise to mechanical hyperalgesia as a result of altered central nociceptive processing. The 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria, which have been widely used in clinical practice, require the existence of chronic widespread pain (CWP) for > 3 months, and the presence of at least 11 out of 18 specified tender points upon digital palpation, although this latter criterion has long been criticised. The newer 2010 ACR diagnostic criteria state that FM can be defined as CWP associated with somatic symptoms, and recommend the use of a widespread pain index and a scale to rate symptom severity. A modified version of the 2010 criteria removed the physician assessment of the extent of somatic symptoms and replaced it by a summary score of three self-reported symptoms, thus making it easier to use while maintaining its sensitivity. This review discusses the advantages and limitations of all of these criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-35
Number of pages3
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • ACR criteria
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tender points
  • Widespread pain


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