Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Like ripping duct tape off your skin

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

This is a suspenseful, evocative 30-second TV ad about pain from a fine organization in my own neighbourhood, PainBC.ca. And what a challenging job for this actor! Not sure I could stand still and expressionless through all that ripping

“Some nerve pain makes makes your skin feel like this. It's just one of the chronic pain conditions one in five British Columbian's live with everyday. Learn more at PainBC.ca.”

So, what kind of nerve pain feels like that? The best match for “it feels like someone’s ripping duct tape off my skin” would be allodynia, which is a painful reaction to things that shouldn’t hurt at all, like being licked by a puppy, or a refreshing breeze. (Yes, the awfulness of that is right off the charts.) Allodynia is a symptom of several painful conditions, most commonly neuropathies, neuralagias, fibromyalgia, and migraines. More rarely, and more severely, allodynia is the signature symptom of complex regional pain syndrome. These are topics that I haven’t covered well on PainScience.com to date, mainly because I’m not a neurologist and I’ve come to pain science via musculoskeletal medicine. But I do plan to slowly and carefully develop some content about these kinds of pain.

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