Allodynia: A Rare, Distinct Type of Pain in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS

Allodynia is a unprecedented kind of pain, commonly on the skin, it really is because of something that wouldn’t commonly reason ache. This pain kind is regularly associated with fibromyalgia.1 Some studies suggests allodynia may be associated with fibromyalgia myalgia encephalomyelitis/continual fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) as well.2

Other situations related to allodynia include diabetic/peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia (nerve harm from shingles), and migraines. Outside of those conditions, allodynia is a rare symptom. Knowing this time period can also assist you communicate better along with your healthcare providers and different healthcare providers in addition to recognize research about your illness.

Types of Allodynia

Allodynia is available in 3 different paperwork. It’s viable for you to have one, , or all 3 kinds. The extraordinary paperwork are:

Tactile allodynia:

This is pain resulting from touch. This can consist of clothing pressing against the skin (specially the tighter components of garb, along with waistbands, bra straps, or the elastic a part of socks), a hug, or someone touching you gently at the arm.

Mechanical allodynia:

This type of ache caused by motion across the pores and skin.3 This may be a towel as you dry yourself off, bedsheets brushing against you, or maybe the air from a fan moving over your pores and skin.

Thermal (temperature-related) allodynia:

This ache is because of warmth or bloodless that is not severe sufficient to motive harm to your tissues. Your palms and ft may additionally burn in the event that they get chilled, or getting too warm might also lead them to pain.
Note which you must talk in your healthcare issuer if your palms and feet turn blue when they’re cold. This may be a symptom of a specific condition called Raynaud’s syndrome, that could cause tissue harm.

Note that you should speak in your healthcare provider in case your hands and ft flip blue whilst they are cold. This can be a symptom of a exceptional circumstance known as Raynaud’s syndrome, which could lead to tissue damage.

Allodynia isn’t the same as hyperalgesia, that’s the mechanism that “turns up the extent” on ache in these situations. Hyperalgesia takes your pain and makes it worse, whilst allodynia is an actual type of ache.

Allodynia is idea to be a allergic reaction to stimuli. Research suggests it may end result from important sensitization, which is thought to be an underlying mechanism of fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, and several different situations. “Central” indicates the vital nervous system (brain and spinal twine) and “sensitization” means that it is end up greater sensitive.

In some situations, studies suggests allodynia may be resulting from peripheral sensitization, which includes the nerves outside of your crucial fearful system. The pain indicators of allodynia come from specialized nerves referred to as nociceptors. The task of nociceptors is to feel records approximately such things as temperature and painful stimuli on the pores and skin.

Most nerves need to ship alerts to the mind and watch for the brain to send a signal again earlier than they reply. Nociceptors do not have to do that—they react right away based on what they locate. This permits you to drag your hand far from some thing hot earlier than you get burned, frequently before you consciously perceive the warmth.

When those nerves emerge as sensitized, they begin decoding all sorts of sensations as pain. Again, that is actual pain that has just as a good deal of an impact on you as every other source of pain.


So far, it’s unknown whether allodynia can be treated the same in every condition. Most of the common drug treatments for illnesses that involve this symptom can help alleviate allodynia and other types of pain. These include:

  • Lyrica (pregabalin):
  • Often prescribed for fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and postherpetic neuralgia, and sometimes used off-label for ME/CFS9
  • Neurontin (gabapentin):
  • Often prescribed for postherpetic neuralgia and used off-label for fibromyalgia and neuropathy10
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline:
  • Often used off-label for fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, and migraine11

Some people also get some relief with topical painkillers, such as lidocaine12 and menthol-based products like Bio Freeze and Tiger Balm. While testing on humans hasn’t yet been done, numerous animal studies support the use of ingested and topical cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp product that doesn’t create a “high,” for allodynia.14

Most complementary and alternative treatments haven’t been studied specifically for their effect on allodynia, but they have been investigated for central sensitization. As that’s the suspected underlying mechanism of allodynia, it’s possible that these treatments may be helpful:

  • Acupuncture:
  • A 2019 review of studies on acupuncture for central sensitization concluded that the treatment can alleviate pain symptoms, including allodynia.15
  • Mindfulness practices:
  • Research published in 2020 suggests that practices involving mindfulness, including meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction, are effective for alleviating pain in conditions that involve central sensitization.16
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • : A psychological approach aimed at helping you make positive mental changes that impact your health, research has long shown that it may be of benefit in central sensitization.

Lifestyle Changes

Allodynia can make your life difficult. Something as simple as wearing a shirt may become painful, or even agonizing.3 Many people who have allodynia find that they need to tailor their wardrobes to reduce the impact of this pain. Thermal allodynia can play a role in another symptom—temperature sensitivity. To manage it, you may need to do things like dressing in layers or moving your workstation away from vents that blast you with hot or cold air. You may have to learn how to compensate for both cold and hot conditions.

Dietary Management

Some research has suggested that compounds in certain foods may alleviate neuropathic pain and the allodynia associated with it. While it’s too early to say for sure, it may be that eating these foods or getting the active compounds via supplements could help ease your pain.





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