I’ve had Migraines all my life – I was diagnosed at age seven.
I’ve often wondered if my Migraines started earlier than that, but simply went undiagnosed. I was often sick as a young child. I was sick for every holiday, vomiting and unable to attend any big social event. Other days, I would wake up sick, stay home from school because I was throwing up, and then wake up after a nap completely fine. I never complained about my head, but these attacks sound like Migraines to me.
While I never complained about my head, I did complain about my hair. I would cry when my mother brushed or washed my hair, saying my hair hurt. I never had any proof that this was connected to my Migraines – nor any reason to suspect so – but I was convinced.
And then, the other day, I heard about Allodynia.
Allodynia is a condition where small simple touches can cause extreme pain. With Allodynia, the nerves that carry pain receptors misfire, sending pain signals in response to touch or movement. According to the American Migraine Foundation, “40% to 70% of people experience Allodynia when having a migraine attack.”
There are three types of Allodynia: static, dynamic, and thermal. Thermal Allodynia is pain as a response to mild changes in temperature, and Static Allodynia is a result from light touch on the skin. Dynamic Allodynia, though, is pain with movement across the skin, and many describe it by saying “my hair hurts.”
My discoveries about Allodynia, and possibly having it as a child, fascinate me. This condition is similar to Fibromyalgia, which I was diagnosed with at 24. As sad as it is to think that I may have had pain since infancy, it is refreshing to have answers. I finally have a valid theory about my childhood pain, and now I can tell my parents that I was more than just an over-dramatic child.