A Checklist for the Symptoms of Allodynia

A woman with her head in her hand
Woman with headache holding her head (Image: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images)

Allodynia is also referred to as cutaneous allodynia because it is a condition related to the skin. For people who have cutaneous allodynia, sensations on the skin that do not normally cause pain such as the feel of a simple touch with a finger or mild heat can cause pain or unpleasant feelings. Allodynia is a condition that is associated with migraine headaches. The painful sensation or unpleasantness typically begins on the face or head, and it occurs on the same side of the head or face as the stimulus. This is called restricted allodynia. In extended allodynia, the pain or unpleasant feeling can occur on the opposite side of the face or head, or in some cases it can occur in the feet.

Gauze Pad

Brush a gauze pad over areas of the skin around the face and head. For people who do not have allodynia, this would normally not cause pain or discomfort. If it does, this would be a result consistent with having allodynia.

Headaches

Allodynia is associated with migraine headaches. These headaches can be episodic or chronic. Brush a gauze pad over the skin around the face and head during headaches if headaches are episodic. There is a correlation between the intensity of the headaches and the intensity of the allodynia. However, if the headaches are chronic, the allodynia intensity will be present with the rub of a gauze pad regardless of the presence of a current headache.

Modalities

Allodynia can also be associated with thermal stimuli. Use a hot or cold compress to touch areas around the face and head. If there is pain or discomfort, it is consistent with having allodynia. Another modality of allodynia is static mechanical pressure. Use a fingertip to lightly press against the skin in different areas around the face and head. If pain or discomfort results, it’s a sign of allodynia.

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