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HeadWay, Issue #137 -- Sensitive Skin and Hurting Hair: Allodynia
December 21, 2015

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In this issue:

Sensitive Skin and Hurting Hair: Allodynia

Looking Back On 2015

Say what?! Cutaneous

Sensitive Skin and Hurting Hair: Allodynia

It's not uncommon for someone with migraine to complain that their scalp is so sensitive that they can't even comb their hair. Or their skin hurts when their shirt brushes against their arm. This is a condition known as cutaneous allodynia.

Someone with allodynia experiences sensitivity or pain when their skin is touched, even if it's lightly brushed. Most common on the scalp, it can affect other parts of the body as well. Some find it hard to wear jewelry during an attack.

The symptom is common in both migraine and cluster headache. You can tell if the allodynia is connected because the symptoms are temporary, just like other migraine symptoms such as headache or nausea. Allodynia can affect both men and women, but seems to be most common in women. Children also experience allodynia in migraine. Smoking may also increase your risk of having allodynia.

The extra pain seems to be a part of the general hypersensitivity that occurs in the body during an attack of migraine. Some researchers are concerned that it may be a sign that migraine will progress and become worse.

So how to you prevent or get rid of allodynia?

A lot of the research of allodynia has focused on medications. For example, there are some medications that can make allodynia worse. These would be opioid drugs, such as codeine, tramadol, and meperidine.

Some drugs that have been said to help treat the problem include celecoxib (Celebrex) and dihydroergotamine (DHE).

However, part of the reason for the focus on drugs like these is that it was once widely accepted that more common migraine medication such as triptans would not work well when allodynia was a symptom. But it's more likely that treating migraine or cluster in the best way possible for you is actually the best way to treat the allodynia as well.

So that means not only drug treatments, but complimentary treatments, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Do tell your doctor if allodynia is one of your symptoms. Any information you can give your doctor will help guide your treatment.

For more on allodynia, check out: My Hair Hurts! Migraine and Allodynia and Allodynia in Migraine: Association with Comorbid Pain Conditions.

Looking Back On 2015

First, which edition of HeadWay was most popular this past year? The winner March's issue: Neck Pain and Migraine

And here are some of the articles at Headache and Migraine News that have been most popular with our visitors. Thanks for visiting, and joining the conversation!

Say what?! Cutaneous

The word "cutaneous" means relating to or affecting the skin according to the Oxford Dictionary. In migraine, it's used with the word allodynia because there are other ways to use the word allodynia. For example, sometimes doctors talk about "location allodynia", where the pain occurs in one area when the stimulation is in another.

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