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Allodynia: what is it, causes and consequences

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

People experience numerous disorders throughout their lives, and many of them can have some consequences. It may happen that neurological alterations or lesions that cause an effect on the proper functioning of nociceptors, which are pain receptors located throughout the body, begin to activate in front of various non-painful stimuli. In other words, you begin to feel intense discomfort in the presence of painless spurs or, on regular occasions, that does not cause tremendous or excruciating pain. This alteration is known by the name of allodynia.

Allodynia patients feel pain from prevalent factors such as the friction of the wind when exposed to cold or heat when changing clothes and in almost any usual situation. In addition to the fact that it is the least known pathologies that cause chronic pain, it is also the most difficult to address. In this FastlyHealarticle, we offer you a wealth of information about allodynia: what it is, its causes, and its consequences.

What is allodynia?

Allodynia is considered an alteration that causes the perception of significant pain or discomfort from various stimuli that should not cause that sensation. For this reason, the translation of the Greek word with which this pathology is known is something similar to different pain.

Patients with this disorder may feel discomfort in everyday situations such as brushing their hair, shaving their face, or even caressing. They may also feel an intense burning sensation when they come into contact with objects that are warm or too cold for what others consider only cool.

These pains can appear anywhere on the body and do not stop with the consumption of painkillers, as it does with the pain suffered by a person who does not have allodynia. In addition, patients with this disorder may experience discomfort even after the stimulation has stopped, or the pain may be felt in a different part of the body than the one subjected to the stimulus.

On the other hand, it is necessary to differentiate between allodynia and hyperalgesia since, in the latter case, there is a disproportionate pain reaction to some painful factor. In contrast, in the former, objectively painful stimuli are not received. Likewise, various types of allodynia will be detailed below.

Allodynia: examples and types

The different types of allodynia are classified according to the kind of stimulation that causes the pain. The same person can suffer various types of allodynia because this separation does not refer to the existence of differentiated subtypes of the disorder but instead relates to the symptoms themselves:

  • Tactile allodynia: this is the most classic manifestation of allodynia since unpleasant discomforts caused by tactile stimuli such as vibration or pressure arise. In this type, there are two subtypes, the static one that consists of the response produced by the body in front of a single stimulus, for example, pressure with fingers or hands, and the dynamics that occur before a repeated and light stimulation, such as friction with a towel or caresses.
  • Alodinia térmica: este tipo de alodinia hace referencia a las consecuencias que provoca el cuerpo ante estímulos fríos o calientes pero que, en condiciones normales, no producen ningún tipo de molestias. Las personas que sufren dolor al entrar en contacto con el agua de la ducha se encuentran en esta clasificación.
  • Alodinia motora: los pacientes de alodinia motora son aquellos en que la alteración se presenta cuando los músculos o articulaciones entran en movimiento, por más normales que sean las acciones que se realicen. Es por ello que las personas que lo sufren pueden tener dolores al caminar, sentarse, vestirse o realizando cualquier acción de la vida cotidiana.

Allodynia: causes

Allodynia is attributed to a sensitization of the organism, which can occur to a process related to the central nervous system. In other words, the disorder is usually attributed to alterations or lesions located in the nerve endings, that is, in the sensory receptors for pain known as nociceptors.

Although any person may suffer transient sensitivity due to certain conditions, such as being exposed to sunlight for many hours, central sensitization in allodynia patients is pathological since it occurs at the spinal cord and brainstem level. In this alteration, an increase in the receptivity of the nociceptors develops that causes them to send pain signals to the central nervous system without being inhibited by higher structures or, at the same time, interpreted as painful sensations stimulations that do not are.

Several factors can increase the likelihood of allodynia. Among them are:

Although it can also contribute that there is a constant migraine or suffering from fibromyalgia.

Allodynia: fibromyalgia and other consequences

Due to the characteristics of allodynia, this condition is associated with various disorders that involve the nervous system or are closely related to the perception of pain. Therefore, among the most common consequences of this pathology are:

  • Chronic migraine: this is a headache that reappears constantly and suddenly, which becomes intense, throbbing, and usually causes other disturbances, including visual disturbances and nausea.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: an affectation occurs in the body’s nerves, except those of the brain and spinal cord, altering their function in the transmission of stimuli.
  • Fibromyalgia: is a disorder characterized by producing muscle pain and hypersensitivity in the body.
  • Complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy: symptoms of susceptible skin and intense and continuous pain stand out. The severity of this syndrome varies and tends to get worse over time.
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia: as its name indicates, it consists of a condition that involves intense and constant pain in a nerve, in addition to other symptoms, after the affectations suffered by suffering from herpes.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Alodinia: what it is, causes and consequences, we recommend that you enter our Brain and nerves category .

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