what is Tactile Allodynia and How it is connected with Fibromyalgia

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Allodynia refers to central pain sensitization (increased response of neurons) following normally non-painful, often repetitive, stimulation. Allodynia can lead to the triggering of a pain response from stimuli which do not normally provoke pain.Temperature or physical stimuli can provoke allodynia, which may feel like a burning sensation, and it often occurs after injury to a site. Allodynia is different from hyperalgesia, an extreme, exaggerated reaction to a stimulus which is normally painful.- Wikipedia

What Causes Tactile Allodynia

This form of pain comes from a malfunction of specialized nerves called nociceptors. The job of nociceptors is to sense info about things in your surroundings, such as temperature and things that may cause you harm at skin level.

You know how sometimes your hand will recoil away from a hot burner before you even realize that you’re about to hurt yourself? That’s due to the exclusive action of nociceptors, which actually work on their own, without having to send signals to the brain and get a reply back.

In fibromyalgia, for some reason, nociceptors start perceiving that all types of sensations are painful. Researchers consider it as a part of the central sensitization that is related with chronic fatigue syndrome, FM, and a bit of other conditions.

When Your Skin Aches From a Simple Touch

It is another one of those fibromyalgia symptoms that just does not make any sense. Pain is felt sometimes extreme ache, from a simple touch. The closest thing that it compares to is having a sunburn the entire time. A lot of people don’t comprehend this symptom, including the people who have it, because while it’s a common symptom of fibromyalgia, it is infrequent in the overall population.

This kind of pain is identified as tactile allodynia. Here is what that means, in non-medical expression. “Allodynia” means that your body recognizes something as pain when it is in fact harmless. Pain is supposed to come from injury, but no damage exist and no harm is being caused. “Tactile” means touch.

So tactile allodynia is what makes your attires hurt when they touch your skin, what makes a sheet feel like sandpaper, and what turns a slight touch into intense pain. Along with fibromyalgia, tactile allodynia is related largely with pain conditions including neuropathy, post herpetic neuralgia, and migraine.

What It Feels Like

Tactile allodynia can range from slight to severe. It can be all over the body or only in definite parts. It can be continuous, or it may come and go with symptom flares. Occasionally, allodynia may start out by something, such as itching or stepping on something sharp.

Common complaints from folks with this disorder include, Burning- and squeezing-type pains from waistbands (even if they’re not skintight), socks, and other clothing that tightens or puts pressure on the skin, All-over pain from clothes that aren’t really soft even clothes that other people find soft, such as silk or satin, Pain from labels in shirts or stitching that’s touching the skin.

The good news is that there are means to find relief from clothing-related pain and get more comfy in bed.

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Top Treatments

Any treatments that reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms may help alleviate allodynia. If this is a major symptom for you, you may want to consider a treatment that’s well-known to work well against this pain type. Those treatments include, Tricyclic antidepressants, Seizure drugs, especially Lyrica (pregabalin) and Neurontin (gabapentin), Topical lidocaine. Some people also get help from topical pain creams including capsaicin-containing products, Tiger Balm, Aspercreme, and BioFreeze. It can take a lot of research to find what works best for you.

As you might suspect, massage can be complicated for someone with allodynia, as can other treatments that include someone touching you. You may also want to experiment with lifestyle and habit modifications that may help you decrease or avoid triggers.

Beyond Pain

Fibromyalgia involves much more than just pain. Other frequent symptoms include waking up feeling unrefreshed, as if you haven’t slept at all. Sleep disorders are common, too, including, Restless legs syndrome, Sleep apnea and Insomnia.

Many people with fibromyalgia talk about burning pain, kind of like the pins-and-needles feeling of the blood rushing back into your any limb after its fallen asleep. Others describe aching all over like they’ve been crushed by a meat tenderizer. Some get electric zings, as well. It’s also common to hear about painful skin that senses like it’s been sunburned.

A lot of us have pain that doesn’t seem to make logic. It can be from usually mild things, such as a cold breeze, soft fabric touching the skin, or light pressure from a hand grip.

One of the more common collections of second-tier symptoms is sensitivities. This condition involves an excessively sensitive nervous system, and that can make us respond severely to all types of sensory input. Loud or repetitive noises, bright or flashing lights, strong chemical smells (such as the washing aisle at the grocery store) can all activate a rush of symptoms.

It may appear strange that a noise would give you sharp pains in the abdomen, but that’s the kind of unusual responses we can have to those things.

Other Forms of Fibromyalgia Pain

Allodynia also comes in two other forms, Mechanical allodynia: This involves movement across the skin, such as from dress or even air. Thermal allodynia: This involves temperature, which can be heat, cold, or both.

Fibromyalgia involves other pain types too, including, Hyperalgesia, which is pain magnification by the brain and nerves. Paresthesia, which is abnormal nerve sensations such as burning, tingling, and itching.

People report other types of pain as well, but not all of them are medically categorized, let alone understood.


  • Fibromyalgia and Tactile Allodynia By Adrienne Dellwo | Reviewed by Grant Hughes, MD via Very well
  • Allodynia: Fibromyalgia Skin Pain via Fibro Daze


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