Chronic pain, mainly associated with musculoskeletal diagnoses, is inadequately and often inappropriately treated in nursing home residents. The purpose of this descriptive study is to identify the musculoskeletal diagnoses associated with pain and to compare pain management of a sample of nursing home residents with the 1998 evidence-based guideline proposed by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). The sample consists of 215 residents from 13 rural Iowa nursing home homes. The residents answered a series of face-to-face questions that addressed the presence/absence of pain and completed the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Data on pain were abstracted from the Minimum Data Set (MDS). Analyses included descriptive statistics, cross tabulations, and one-way analysis of variance. Residents' responses to the face-to-face pain questions yielded higher rates of pain compared with the MDS pain data. Resident records showed that acetaminophen was the most frequently administered analgesic medication (30.9%). Propoxyphene, not an AGS-recommended opioid, was also prescribed for 23 residents (10.7%). Of the 70 residents (32.6%) expressing daily pain, 23 (32.9%) received no scheduled or pro re nata analgesics. There was no significant difference between MMSE scores and number of scheduled analgesics. Additionally, residents' self-reported use of topical agents was not documented in the charts. The findings suggest that the 1998 AGS evidence-based guideline for the management of chronic pain is inconsistently implemented.