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One day, while having a Hemiplegic Migraine, my husband was trying really hard to help me get comfortable. This is no easy task since I have no use of my right arm and I can’t talk during the episodes. So, I was getting really frustrated because I couldn’t get him to understand that something was making my feet and legs hurt. It wasn’t long before he was frustrated too…I mean he felt really bad that nothing he was doing was helping me and honestly, I wasn’t sure what he could do to help.
Fast forward a couple of days, another Hemiplegic Migraine, my daughter was trying to help me. I’m not sure what made her do it but after coving me up, she pulled the wrinkles out of the top sheet. It fixed it! I jokingly told my husband that she “tucked me in” better and explained to them that it was the wrinkles in the sheets that made my feet and legs hurt. I think they both thought I was loosing my mind.
I didn’t know this was really a “thing” until I stumbled across the word, Allodynia. But now I can tell my husband and my daughter that it really is a “thing” and I am not just picky or going crazy!
Allodynia is pain that results from a stimulus that should not cause pain. For example, air from a fan, seams from clothing, wrinkles in sheets…even a light touch can be painful. And according to the American Migraine Foundation, “Research suggests that allodynia in migraine results from a process within the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system. Scientists call this process leading to allodynia, central sensitization. The process begins when sensory pain nerves, known as nociceptors, react to a sensory signal or stimulus.”
There is also research that has shown Allodynia may hinder the effectiveness of Migraine treatments. In an article on the Neurology Advisor website, Dr. Richard Lipton says, “Taking Allodynia into account in patients with migraine is essential, as it can provide clues regarding the pathophysiology of migraine and headache progression. In addition, there is evidence supporting the notion that Allodynia may predict a patient’s response to migraine treatment…Studies also suggest that Allodynia is a strong predictor of inadequate response to treatment with a number of abortives, including triptans, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids and barbiturates.”
The American Migraine Foundation states that 80% of Migraineurs also experience Allodynia. But Migraine is not the only Chronic Illness that shares a connection with this disorder. Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and Lupus are just a few other illnesses that can coincide with Allodynia.
It is very important to discuss your symptoms with your Doctor to be diagnosed and to determine if your Migraine treatment is being adversely effected by this condition.