So you hair hurts. A breeze gently caresses you and you scream. Your clothing seems to rip the flesh from your body when you move. Yeah, it is Allodynia: A painful response to a generally non-painful stimulus. Today I suffer from it on my scalp, forehead and legs. So no touchy. It is actually extremely painful in my legs. Feels like my clothing is scraping across exposed nerves and every time I sit, well, it is very unpleasant. As is walking. I am of course wearing non-confining clothing. For migrainuers it is most often seen in the scalp, face and neck. But I have FM as well and can and do get it anywhere. Once it starts it tends to spread, but on the scalp it is pretty continuous. This is a pain that can be mild to severe. From a sunburn to a torturous nerve pain. It can be bouts or continuous.
So what is going on with this skin pain and migraines? It is related to central sensitization in the brain. This is the central nervous system becoming sensitized to persistent stimulation. It is actually, according to my neurologist, the cause of my chronic migraines. It is basically the brain having a idea of pain and making that pain travel faster and easier in the brain. Pain memory if you will. Pain begets pain. And when this occurs for a bit allodynia can be the result. The pain signals are just traveling on a super slick speedway designed by that pain memory.
And “Cutaneous allodynia is a risk factor for migraine chronification and may warrant preventive treatment strategies.”Brain
Here is a study on depression and allodynia: The study concludes that “allodynia, in addition to high migraine attack frequency, as a new migraine-specific factor associated with depression.” Also “Pathophysiologically, the triad migraine, depression and allodynia may suggest a self-reinforcing dysfunction of central nervous system (CNS) structures involved in the modulation of neuronal excitability and pain.”
Article I wrote on Fibromyalgia related allodynia: Allodynia and Fibromyalgia