Allodynia refers to central pain sensitization following painful, often repetitive, stimulation. It can lead to the triggering of a pain response from stimuli which do not normally provoke pain. Making the skin burn to the touch, making clothing hurt against your skin and a slight breeze scrape in pain over the highly tender flesh. It can feel sunburned to very painful. With migraines it is common in the scalp… and it feels like our hair hurts and it hurts to wash it. But in fact, it can occur anywhere.
It is a migraine symptom. That occurs with central sensitization. That is the brain becoming more sensitized to stimulation. Pain begets pain.
In some people once allodynia has set in studies have found treatment of the migraine can be more difficult. For example triptans less effective. This is the case for me, but I asked on a forum and it wasn’t so for everyone.
My scalp allodynia can be frequent but my more severe bouts are when it hits the length of my back, thighs and patches of my arms. Triptans either fail or barely bring down the pain and it just comes back… less than an effective tool.
Here is the research for that tidbit ” In 31 patients, we studied 34 migraine attacks that were associated with allodynia at the time of triptan treatment and 27 attacks that were not. Within 2 hours of triptan treatment, patients were rendered pain-free in 5 of 34 (15%) of allodynic attacks versus 25 of 27 (93%) of nonallodynic attacks. Treating migraine attacks 1 hour (early) or 4 hours (late) after the onset of pain was equally ineffective in inducing a pain-free state in the presence of allodynia, and equally effective in the absence of allodynia. For patients susceptible to allodynia during the attack, triptan therapy was by far more likely to provide complete pain relief if administered before rather than after the establishment of cutaneous allodynia. Patients who never developed allodynia were highly likely to be rendered pain-free by triptan therapy anytime after the onset of pain. We conclude that the probability of consistent pain-free outcome increases drastically if triptan therapy is vigilantly timed to precede any signs of cutaneous allodynia.” Study
According to some research in 2008 cutaneous allodynia is more common in woman, those with more frequent attacks, those with higher BMIs and are disabled or depressed.+
It should be noted cutaneous allodynia is not just seen in migraines. It is seen in other conditions like fibromyalgia. I actually assumed the reason I get it so severely bodily wise instead of just the scalp was due to my FM. But I know others with migraines who do get it in other pleases severely. So it happens.
Nevertheless it is very unpleasant. I cannot treat with NSAIDs but they do offer that treatment. I treat with tramadol, and it brings it down to less agonizing.