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Skin hypersensitivity and pain
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Skin hypersensitivity and pain

In the last few months I have begun to notice hypersensitivity including pain and temperature sensitivity in the skin on my legs.  Sometimes one at a time, sometimes both and sometimes as far up as my buttocks, but never my feet.  The slightest touch can be painful such as if there was a burn or a scratch or a rash - though none of these has ever been present.  Also cool temperatures such as sitting on a toilet, or touching something cooler than body temperature can be excruciating. Occasionally I will get a "surge" of pain in different parts of the leg.  For example I will get a flash of pain in my thigh that litterally makes you tense and then just as fast as it comes on it is gone.  the next time might be my calf.  I have looked up several different kinds of Neuopathy, but none of the reasons apply./  I have never had shingles, or an injury to the area, or genital herpes, or problems with my sciatic nerve. The pain is also not in my head or face or my hands or feet.   Infact the pain is not generally muscle related although the "surges" feel deeper than just the skin almost like a flash of joint or muscle pain.  What other causes are there and how does one treat it?
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I cannot tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Given the symptoms you have described, you may be suffering from Allodynia.  Allodynia is pain which occurs in response to a stimulus which is usually not painful.  There are two types of Allodynia:  Thermal or Tactile.  Tactile allodynia occurs when light touch, pressure that usually should not be painful, is interpreted by your body as extremely painful.  Thermal allodynia is hypersensitivity to temperature changes, and again usually these changes are really not severe enough to cause any damage, but are interpreted by your body as painful.  

Allodynia is believed to be caused by a confusion among your sensory cells.  Usually your pain sensory receptors are called nociceptors, and usually these are not involved in “non-painful” touches, however in allodynia, they become involved.  These nocireceptors respond to a non-painful stimuli and tell your brain that you are being injured and interprets this as pain.  

Allodynia is a clinical feature of many painful conditions, such as neuropathies, complex regional pain syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, and even migraines.  Some types of sensory neuropathies occur and progress very slowly, others sort of wax and wane (with flare-ups) and some are progressive. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes, and sometimes only glucose intolerances, or abnormal rises in blood sugar after a glucose load can be the only indication (this is called a oral glucose tolerance test. Other causes include but are not limited to hereditary/genetic causes (such as in a disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, in which there is a family history of sensory neuropathy usually from an early age associated with other clinical features such as high-arched feet), autoimmune problems (such as lupus (SLE), Sjogren's, Churg-Strauss (in which asthma also occurs), polyarteritis nodosa, which affects blood vessels), and demyelinating diseases (such as CIDP). Vitamin B12 and B6 deficiency, as well as excess vitamin B6, can also cause neuropathy. Some toxins, such as lead, arsenic, and thalium can cause large fiber sensory neuropathy. Other causes include abnormalities of protein metabolism, as in a type called amyloidosis or monoclonal proteinemia. In many neuropathies, both the sensory and motor nerves (the nerves that supply the muscles) are involved, leading to sensory symptoms as well as weakness.

There are many medications that can be used to alleviate the pain.  Such medications are NSAIDs (Naprosyn), anti-epileptics, antidepressants (TCAs), non-opiod pain medications.  

I would recommend following up with your primary care physician and see if you have any other underlying causes and also to see if there is a specific pattern to your pain.  
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
5 Comments
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1378325_tn?1285350225
Hi, I also experienced the skin hypersensitivity and pain, years ago. Mine was in the neck, shoulder, upper chest area. It felt as though all my nerve endings were on top of my skin and even the clothes against my skin were excruciatingly painfull. I was later diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, that was in 1997. The doctor provided some very good information and suggestions. I'm certainly not suggesting that you have Fibromyalgia, but I can relate to this type of pain and do sympathize with you on this, as I know how painfull it can be. Since my diagnosis and learning how to live with this, I have not experienced the skin sensitivity and pain in many years now. I wish you the best with finding some answers as to what is going on, just wanted to let you know your not alone out there with this. Blessings
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your support.  I find it helpful that others can somewhat understand this.  Your specific location is much more common to these types of pain (torso, head, neck etc for Fibromayalgia anyway)  and in all my research I have yet ever found anyone with this type of thermal AND tactile sensitivity (Allodynia) and pain ONLY in thier legs.  I do not really have joint or muscle pain with this (occasionally on a flare up) but it is specifically the "skin" sensitivity and pain that boggles my mind.  Especially when it comes and goes, one leg or both, sometimes only portions of the leg and seems to get more frequent.  I have yet to pinpoint an activity or event before, during or after that connects these events - no injury, disease (other than the occasional headache) or illness.  So this makes me think I am overlooking something that maybe I thought was inconsequestial?  Either way, I have an appointment ot begin diagnosis on Aug 13th with my Primary care Physicain.  Hopefully then we can find the common denominator and begin treatment.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I have Allodynia only in my legs.  Mine started with a fracture of my Patella and arthroscopic surgery.  It has been 18 long years.  I have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) also newly named Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.  I live in PA and wear summer shorts 24/7, 365 days as I can't tolerate clothing touching my leg/ankle.  I was told by leading doctors in Philadelphia that they had patients who bumped their knee on a coffee table and developed this disease.  I am so sorry you are experiencing this pain and hope you will be able to find treatment.
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