fibromyalgia stress

Allodynia and stress: what is the link?

Clinical data has shown that chronic exposure to stress can be accompanied by an increase in pain sensitivity.

In this context, however, little is known about the impact of stress on neuropathic painIncluding l'allodynia.

If you ask yourself the question : allodynia and stress: what link? Find some answers in this article.


Le stress is defined as the physiological response to actual or potential hazardous conditions and is accompanied by changes in the associated neuronal, endocrinological and immunological systems.

According to many studies, stress is an element that can have bilateral effects on the phenomena related to pain.

On the one hand, acute stress can produce a analgesia in animals and humans. On the other hand, stress has also been reported to produce a hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to painful stimuli) or allodynia (pain triggered by harmless stimuli).

We talk about it in this article.

What is allodynia? (short reminder)

Although no one likes to feel it, pain is actually a friend rather than a foe. As the body's protective mechanism, it signals your brain to stop the action or move away from the situation that is hurting you.

However, this rule does not apply to patients with'allodynia, who feel excruciating pain even at light touch (sometimes even from a feather!).

Glial cells that surround neurons release more neurotransmitters than needed, which amplifies the level of pain and causes distorted sensory experience.

What are the symptoms of allodynia?

Le main symptom of allodynia is the pain provoked by stimuli which do not usually provoke them.


In some cases, you may find hot or cold temperatures painful. Light pressure on the skin can be painful.

Other symptoms may be experienced depending on the underlying cause of your allodynia.

For example, if caused by fibromyalgia, you may also experience the following symptoms:

– Anxiety, depression.

– Difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders and fatigue.

Risk factors for allodynia 

Having any of the following medical conditions may increase your risk of developing allodynia.


At least 65% of migraine sufferers have symptoms ofallodynia during a crisis, and 20% suffer from a cutaneous allodynia.

Postherpetic neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a complication of shingles, which comes from the same virus as chickenpox.

Study authors say 'most' people with NVP suffer fromtactile allodynia.


La fibromyalgia causes widespread pain in the body. There could be a link between theallodynia and fibromyalgia.

Diabetic neuropathy

Le diabetes can cause nerve damage and increase the risk of nerve pain, includingallodynia.

Complex regional pain syndrome

Le complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) involves excessive and long-lasting pain in a limb, usually as a result of injury. A person with this syndrome may experience allodynie.

Allodynia and stress: what is the link?

Recent preclinical studies have shown that exposure to a chronic stress can lead to an exacerbation of pain sensitivity.

The effects of stress on the processing of nociception and pain can depend on a multitude of factors, including the type of stress (physical or psychological), its intensity as well as its temporal characteristics.

neck pain caused by stress

Several biochemical pathways and mediators known to be involved in stress processing may play a major role in the regulation of neuropathic pain.

Turnkey stressors such as release of catecholamines related to stress have, for example, been described as leading to neuro-inflammatory reactions encompassing peripheral and central release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

These substances have been shown to play a crucial role in enhancing nociceptive processing that can induce allodynia.

Another major player in the context of this article is the glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamatergic transmission is significantly modulated by stress-related corticosteroid release.

Indeed, stress can exacerbate neuropathic pain and therefore promote the onset of allodynia through the activation of specific receptors of the glutamate and thus send excitatory signals constantly to the origin of a allodynic neuropathy.

How is allodynia diagnosed?

If you notice an increased sensitivity of your skin to the touch, you can perform a self-test in order to check for a possible allodynia.

 To do this :

  • Pass a dry cotton ball over your skin.
  • Apply a hot or cold compress.

If you feel a painful sensation following one of these maneuvers, you could suffer fromallodynia. It is important to make an appointment with a doctor to confirm this.

reception of the patient for his consultation

Your doctor will review any underlying conditions, such as diabetes, and ask you about symptoms.

“When you talk to your doctor, come prepared with a description of your pain, as accurate as possible,” says Amanda Persaud, MD, neurologist at Northwell Health.

Once the physician has determined the presence of a allodynic pain, he may perform further tests to find the underlying cause.

Additional tests to find the underlying cause may include:

  • Blood tests, such as a hemoglobin A1c blood test
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Electromyography (EMG)

How to treat allodynia?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your allodynia.

Treatments may include :

– Medicines taken by mouth, such as lidocaine or pregabalin.

– Topical treatments, such as lidocaine ointment or a capsaicin patch.

– Anti-inflammatories, such as naproxen or indomethacin.

– Lifestyle changes, such as exercise and dietary changes.

– cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

– CBD oil

How can I prevent allodynia?

You may not be able to prevent theallodynia.

But you can reduce the risk of certain conditions that causeallodynia.

  • Exercise : Regular exercise can help you manage stress. It also helps reduce the risk of migraines. Exercise also plays a major role in managing the fibromyalgia.
benefits of exercise
  • Know your background : if you have a family history of fibromyalgia, SEP (Multiple Sclerosis), dstroke or diabetes, talk to your doctor. You may need to have regular checkups so that your doctor can monitor your condition.
  • Maintain a healthy weight : People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of diabetes, which can lead to allodynia. Excess weight is also a risk factor for the development of chronic migraines.
  • Stay up to date on your vaccines : ask your doctor if it is possible to receive the vaccine against area to protect you from this viral infection.
  • Watch your diet : A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you avoid vitamin deficiencies and stay healthy.



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