Fibromyalgia as a sympathetically maintained pain syndrome
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Abnormal activity of the sympathetic nervous system may be involved in the pathogenesis of chronic pain syndromes. This article reviews the animal studies of sympathetically induced pain behavior, the controversy of sympathetically maintained pain in clinical practice, and the dysautonomic nature of fibromyalgia (FM). FM has neuropathic pain features (stimuli-independent pain state accompanied by allodynia and paresthesias). The proposal of FM as a sympathetically maintained pain syndrome is based on the controlled studies showing that patients with FM display signs of relentless sympathetic hyperactivity and that the pain is submissive to sympathetic blockade and is rekindled by norepinephrine injections. Dysautonomia also may explain the multisystem features of FM.
KeywordsHeart Rate Variability Neuropathic Pain Fibromyalgia Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
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