While I was writhing in pain last week, sure that someone had covered my pillow with thumbtacks, I distracted myself by thinking about allodynia. I’d like to say that I considered the physiology of it, but I really just repeated the word mentally, thinking about how neat it sounds. Allodynia, allodynia, allodynia. It rolls right off the tongue.
About three-quarters of people with migraine have allodynia, which is the increased skin sensitivity that can feel like your hair hurts or that your jewelry is pressing into your skin. Basically, your nerves and brain become overly sensitive during a migraine. An hour or two before allodynia begins, other senses, like sight, hearing and smell, are also more keen because nerves are in a heightened state. Research indicates that migraine abortives are most effective if taken before skin sensitivity begins. If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, see the ACHE article on central sensitization.
See, even silly distractions can be useful. Allodynia, allodynia, allodynia. . .