Complex adaptive systems allostasis in fibromyalgia – Source: Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, May 2009

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. [Body’s attempt to maintain stability in face of stressors.]

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.

Source: Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, May 2009;35(2):285-98. PMID: 19647143, by Martinez-Lavin M, Vargas A. Rheumatology Department, National Cardiology Institute, Mexico City, Mexico. [E-mail:]

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