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Allodynia

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Updated May 10, 2011

Definition: Allodynia is pain, generally on the skin, caused by something that wouldn't normally cause pain. Many people with fibromyalgia report having this symptom. Examples of allodynia are pain caused by mild pressure from clothing, a light touch, gentle massage, or sheets rubbing against the skin.

Allodynia is believed to be a hypersensitive reaction that may result from central sensitization, which is associated with fibromyalgia. The pain signals originate with specialized nerves, called nociceptors, that sense information about things like temperature and painful stimuli right from the skin.

Pain caused by touch is called tactile allodynia, while pain caused by movement against the skin (i.e., the brush of clothing) is called mechanical allodynia. Temperature-related pain is called thermal allodynia.

Other conditions associated with allodynia include neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia and migraines.

Also see:

Pronunciation: AL-uh-DIN-ee-uh
Also Known As: Cutaneous allodynia
Common Misspellings: alodynia, allodinia

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