Bruised forehead and allodynia post-migraine

Over five years ago, I finally asked my blog readers if they had ever experienced scalp and hair pain. I’d had scalp and hair pain before, during, and after migraine headaches for years at that point, but it seemed like such a strange thing I didn’t want to bring it up. I’d had the same sensation in my arms and legs after really bad migraines but never made the connection until I learned about allodynia. (Side note: we have several articles on dealing with allodynia—just do a search for the word in the upper-righthand corner of the screen and you can learn more.)

Lately my allodynia seems to be most common on my buttocks (what…?) my forehead, and my ears, particularly after a multi-day migraine episode.

I’ve had that bruised feeling all over my body, but I still find it fascinating how it migrates. Sometimes my legs hurt the most; sometimes it’s my jaw that feels bruised. For a few months, it disappeared all together—I thought perhaps I wouldn’t have allodynia as a side effect/result of a migraine again. But then the pain and sensitivity came back with a vengeance, and now it seems I have it most days, even migraine-free ones.

Having the pain and sensitivity on my forehead and ears is a pretty new sensation, and one that hasn’t gone away for most of this month, whether or not I’m recovering from a migraine or gearing up for my next one. I feel a slight pinch of pain in my eyebrows even when I just raise them, and when I rub my forehead I feel as if I have a million little invisible bruises right under my skin.

Times like this I can get a little desperate. It feels as if migraine disease is taking over my life. I mean, even on migraine-free days, my body is in pain. I can’t wear earrings that are heavy in the least—on good days they just annoy me, and on bad days it feels as if I have barbells hanging from bruised earlobes. I look around at other people and think, “No fair! I want to be able to wear headbands/high ponytails/hair clips/heavy necklaces/big, dangly earrings. But everything HURTS ME!” On good days, I don’t think much about it, taking for granted my temporary pain-free status.

Recently, Jim and I were at this awesome African shop in Venice Beach, California. I found some really great earrings, and Jim wanted to buy me a pair. The salesman explained the origin of the earrings, and I marveled at the craftsmanship. “Here, I’ll get them down for you,” the salesman offered, and he handed me the earrings. They weren’t super-heavy, but I knew they’d seem to gain weight after about two minutes in my ears. Jim asked if he could buy them for me, but I knew that I’d probably never actually wear these beautiful items. I said no, thank you, and we all—Jim, salesman, and I—were disappointed.

Do you suffer from allodynia? Does this sensation seem directly linked to a particular migraine episode, or does it seem to live by its own schedule? Have you ever tried to explain the feeling to someone else? If so, what was the listener’s reaction?

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