Tag Archive | Allodynia

A grateful heart

Living with chronic illness is tough. It is draining and frustrating. When your pain level is high, it is hard to feel grateful. Personally I have found that if I turn my focus to the smallest of positives my mindset starts to change. Before long my pain level drops.

Having a grateful heart allows us to see more of the blessings we already have. It gives us the ability to tell a better story.

Take a moment

Take the time to enjoy all of God’s miracles. They are all around if you just cease the opportunity to look around. How often do you get to see a hummingbird perched in a tree? (Note- I took this photo in my

backyard yesterday morning)

Whether you are dealing with chronic illness, being overwhelmed, or any of life’s other downers you can still find positives. When we have grateful heart we open ourselves up to be able to taken in the beauty/miracles all around us. So, if we take a moment to just stop and take a breath we will find there are good things all around us. It could be a simple smile, someone opening a door for you, or just enjoying God’s beautiful sunshine.

Life is not always easy, but when we have a grateful heart we can all still find the positives. When we seek the positives, we discover our outlook can change allowing to keep moving forward and tell a better story. Miracles are all around us for us to enjoy.

Even baby steps move us forward

Each day we open our eyes is another opportunity to keep moving forward. Even the smallest of steps is a step forward. When dealing with chronic illness some days feel like you take one step forward and 5 steps back. Between dealing with the pain, the medications, and daily life it can be overwhelming.

Yet, the smallest of steps is still moving in the right direction. Just sitting up for a few minutes at a time is a start. Remembering to allow ourselves to have down time is important. Just because one day is bad doesn’t mean all days will be bad. I know from my own experience that sometimes I may only one day where my pain is at a 6 to an 8 most of the day, while at other times it is 4 to7 days in a row. Making it difficult to see end through it all. During these times I pray a lot and make sure I allow myself time to recover. Focusing on every little positive step allows me to remember that any movement is movement forward. It is important to flood our brains with the positives instead of negatives because as humans we tend to focus on the negative.

Life can be full of negative moments, but there are many more positive ones. So, if we focus on those we will find ourselves more able to deal with our issues allowing us to keep moving forward and overcome so much more. Every day we have the choice to allow the negative moments to take over or to focus on the blessings we are given every day.

Anything is possible

All we have to do is open our eyes and we can see all things He has created. If He created us and all things that surround us than how can we doubt that anything is impossible?

Have faith and hope because “Where there is faith, and there is hope, Miracles Transpire. ” No matter where we are or what circumstances we gave God is with us. All we have to do is ask Him. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to depend on Him.

Each morning I awake in pain facing the fact that I am disabled. Yet, I know that through every breath God is by my side. Even on the days I can barely get out of bed and requiring me to take extra medication just to move. He keeps me moving forward and helps me push through it all. Because of Him I am walking again instead of being in a wheelchair. Because of Him I am continuing to improve even almost 4 years out. They maybe baby steps but they are steps. Don’t give up hope because each day we are given is another day for a miracle to happen.

What is Allodynia

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., amputation of a limb), or like in my case having a Spinal Cord Injury and Chiari Malformation causing myelopathy. (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. If I have excess gas build up from something I have eaten, for example, my torso feels like acid has been poured on it. Of course, this is not what is happening, but when you move at all and the neurological response sends the pain soring to a 7 or more 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 are:

  • 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. There are “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 1500 mg of Gabapentin a day for the nerve pain in my legs which does not help the Allodynia much. I also take 75 mg of Lyrica three times per day as well which marginally helps. My daytime control is much better as I can maintain my pain level at a 2 to 4, whereas, at night I am at a 5 to an 8+. In the past I have tried Cymbalta, but unfortunately, about 6 mos. in it stopped working at all. I have also tried Amitriptyline which also did not help at all except to make me drowsy all the time. About 2 yrs. ago I began using CBD and I discovered that it does help. I have had to play with the amount I must take to get a therapeutic level and get pain relief. I am currently taking 16.5 mg 5 times per day. I still have horrible nights and I am searching for better overall control. Currently, I continue to 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 passionately 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 do not treat them as well as I want to. So thankful for their forgiveness and understanding.

Pietro, M. d. (2017). Allodynia: Causes, types, and treatment. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318867.php.

Roland, J. (2017). Everything You Should Know About Allodynia. https://www.healthline.com/health/allodynia.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Allodynia.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Nociceptor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nociceptor.