Allodynia is a pain response caused by stimuli that normally does not cause pain (i.e. a shirt touching the area, a hug or a brush of a hand). Temperature and/or physical stimuli can cause it to flare. It often feels like a burning sensation. It often happens after injury to the site (i.e. Spinal Cord Injury or amputation of a limb), like in my case.
Allodynia is a pain response caused by stimuli that normally does not
cause pain (i.e. a shirt touching the area, a hug or a brush of a hand).
Temperature and/or physical stimuli can cause it to flare. It often feels like
a burning sensation. It often happens after injury to the site (i.e. Spinal
Cord Injury or amputation of a limb), like in my case. (Wikipedia, Allodynia)
There are days when the thought of
getting undressed, then showered and then dressed again seems impossible. The
burning sensation feels more like my skin is stretched and swollen to capacity
then as I move it feels like it is being ripped open. Of course, this is not
what is happening, but when you move at all and the neurological response sends
the pain to about a 7 or 8 it makes simple daily tasks seem out of reach.
There are three main types of
Allodynia. A person may have one, two or all three types of Allodynia. They
- Thermal allodynia:
Thermal allodynia causes temperature-related pain. Pain occurs due to a
mild change of temperature on the skin (hot or cold/or both) For example,
exposure to heat like being in the sun can cause symptoms to increase.
- Mechanical allodynia:
This where sensation caused something moving across the skin. For
instance, bedsheets pulled across a person’s skin may be painful or a
towel rubbing the area.
- Tactile allodynia:
Tactile allodynia, also called static allodynia, happens when something
touches the skin. For example, a tap on the shoulder may cause pain for
someone with tactile allodynia. (Pietro, 2017)
Allodynia may occur due to increased
responsiveness or malfunction of nociceptors, which are a type of nerve. They
are the “pain receptors” nerves located all over the body which
includes the skin, muscles, joints, bones and internal organs. The nociceptors
respond to pain and send the signal from the body part to the spinal cord and
brain. With people who have spinal cord injuries the signals get confused so a
touch can be confused as pain. (Wikipedia, Nociceptor)
There are medical conditions which
can increase the risk of developing allodynia, such as: Spinal Cord Injury,
Migraines, Postherpetic neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, and Complex regional
pain syndrome. (Roland, 2017)
There is no cure for Allodynia.
Currently the treatment is aimed and reducing the symptoms. The use of
Pregabalin (Lyrica) and other medications like it are used to treat other
conditions like spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and fibromyalgia and are now being
used to reduce the Allodynia pain along with lifestyle changes such as reducing
stress. Getting plenty of sleep and keeping stress low as well as eating
healthy can all help reduce the symptoms. (Pietro, 2017)
Personally, I have tired various
methods and so far, I have not found the magic mixture. I currently 700 mg of
Gabapentin for the nerve pain in my legs which does not help the Allodynia. I
have tried Lyrica as well to no avail. I have use Cymbalta in the past, but unfortunately,
about 6 mos. in it stopped working. I have also tried Amitriptyline. I began
using CBD and I have found that it does help. I currently take 10 mg 5 times
per day. I still have horrible nights and am searching for better control. I
currently use my Oculus Go when the pain is out of control. I find that after
about 10 mins. my pain is bearable and in about 15 mins. I can remove the
helmet and begin to move around again.
Living in chronic pain takes its toll on the body so it is
crucial to find ways to relieve the pain and allow the body to rest. I firmly
believe that I will find the answer. Each day I am given I will keep moving
forward even if it is just a baby step. God has continued to heal me, and He
gives me strength to face each day. I am blessed to have such a great family
who love me and support me every step of the way even on the days I don’t treat
them as well as I want to. So thankful for their forgiveness and understanding.
Pietro, M. d. (2017). Allodynia: Causes, types, and
Roland, J. (2017). Everything You Should Know About
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Allodynia.
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Nociceptor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nociceptor.