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Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2009 May;35(2):285-98. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2009.05.005.

Complex adaptive systems allostasis in fibromyalgia.

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  • 1Rheumatology Department, National Cardiology Institute, Mexico City, Mexico.


Fibromyalgia (FM) can be conceptualized as a failed attempt of our main complex adaptive system (the autonomic nervous system) to adjust to a hostile environment. FM cannot be fully understood through the prevailing linear-reductionist medical model. Conversely, FM can be explained using the new complexity theory paradigms. Relentless sympathetic hyperactivity in FM may be a sign of allostasis. Similarly sympathetic hyporeactivity to stress may indicate allostatic load. Dorsal root ganglia have been suggested as important sympathetic-nociceptive short-circuit sites. Autonomic dysfunction also explains non-pain-related FM features. Preliminary genetic evidence supports FM's dysautonomic nature. A scientific holistic therapy is proposed to harmonize rigid complex systems and, in doing so, to help to improve FM symptoms.

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