Allodynia: My Clothes Hurt

*I have a more up to date post here.*

I have been in a chronic pain flare up since the beginning of January – the longest and worst flare to date! The pain I have experienced in this flare has probably been the worst so far. One of the most problematic symptoms of my condition is allodynia and I want to talk about it in this post to educate non sufferers.

Allodynia is an intense neuropathic pain due to a stimulus that does not usually provoke pain. When you hurt yourself, whether it be from a burn on a hot oven or if you fall over and scrape your knee, your brain receives a pain signal. These painful sensations are interpreted by our nocireceptors (specialised nerves where pain signals originate). In patients with neuropathic pain, those receptors are being triggered incorrectly – they react to stimuli that for most people are harmless and shouldn’t cause a pain response.

There are 3 types of allodynia; Tactile Allodynia (pain caused by something touching your skin i.e. when brushing your hair, shaving or showering), Dynamic Mechanical Allodynia (pain caused by movement across the skin such as stroking or massage) and Thermal Allodynia (mild heat or cold temperatures causing pain). I suffer from all three, especially tactile allodynia.


I have allodynia in both of my legs, hips and back. I have had to completely change how I dress to in order to decrease my discomfort. I haven’t been able to wear jeans or tailored trousers for years because as soon as I put on clothing that puts any form of pressure on my legs my pain soars. I tend to stick to very loose light-weight pyjama bottoms, loose maxi dresses or 100% cotton soft leggings. Even socks cause discomfort at the moment where the elasticated band around the top touches my skin. I also cannot tolerate having anything resting on my legs such as a laptop, a book, etc. The heat too has been a big problem for me, I have to have lukewarm/cold showers and extremely thin and light summer duvets. It’s funny though as I am able to have hot water bottles on my hips but the minute I step into a hot shower my legs go crazy?!

I think one of the most frustrating things about my allodynia is that I haven’t yet found anything that helps. There are times when even the cool breeze against my skin feels like a thousand needles or the vibration of my wheelchair as it moves causes a horrible burning sensation. A lot of the time at the moment even the pressure of sitting or laying down causes so much pain where my limbs make contact with anything. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?!

Do you suffer from allodynia? Have you found anything that helps?


  1. Donna // Fibro Geek May 7, 2015 / 5:59 pm

    Oh Sophia, I feel for you. Allodynia is horrible. I remember I had a flare up a couple of years ago and then got the flu. I have never been in so much pain, no pain killer would touch it and I wanted to curl up, go to sleep and not wake up until it was over. Even my soft pyjamas hurt me. Day-to-day it’s my arms that are my sore spots, even the lightest touch used to be very sore. I have found that my allodynia has reduced through the herbal protocol I am following (Vital Plan Restore Program), as has my pain over all. Sorry to hear you have been in such a long flare of pain :( I hope that you find a way to get some relief. Hugs.

    • spooniesophia May 11, 2015 / 1:14 pm

      Gosh that sounds awful Donna, thank goodness you’ve not experienced anything like that since! I will definitely look up that protocol, thank you!
      Thanks, me too!
      Hope you’re having a good week xxx

  2. Berta Karaim May 7, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Arghhh! This sounds far worse than anything I’ve ever experienced I think! Reading your posts makes me realise just how much I take for granted, and I always realise that there something more to be grateful for! Thank you for sharing and I truly hope that you’ll feel better soon!

    • spooniesophia May 11, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      No problem at all Berta! Thank you for always taking the time to comment on my posts :)
      Have a great week! xx

  3. Lorna May 8, 2015 / 10:56 am

    I’m aware of allodynia from my experience working with people with autism, but I didn’t know you suffered from it Soph!

    I admire you so much for sharing your experiences so candidly, to increase awareness in people without chronic illness & to share experiences with people that are going through it, so that they don’t feel so alone!

    I wish there had been online support networks when I had CFS/ME, I literally was just on my own and no-one understood! I think making use of blogs/social media is such a positive thing and you do it so well! You write so openly and your food photography is just….. beyond words!!

    Lots of love xxxx

    Lorna | |

    • spooniesophia May 11, 2015 / 1:18 pm

      I didn’t realise people with autism experienced allodynia. I knew of them experiencing sound sensitivity but not allodynia, thats very interesting!
      That must have been awful, no wonder you felt to alone and misunderstood <3
      I dont know what i'd do without the online spoonie community!
      Thanks for being so lovely!!

      Hugs and love xxxx

      • ilia isakov February 3, 2021 / 10:03 pm

        they can experience tactile defensiveness. some are really sensitive to clothing seams, or people touching them, kissing them, hugging them.

  4. devrivelazquez May 10, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    sending you some spoonie love. I can’t imagine how allodynia feels. sending positive vibes your way– hope your flare-up ends soon!

    • spooniesophia May 11, 2015 / 1:18 pm

      Thank you! Sending it right back to you too. xx

  5. Polina May 12, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    Haven’t seen this post before, but finally catching up. Sophia, send you the most light and genlte hugs and love. So awful to read about your struggles, I can’t even imagine how it’s tough for you. You always find away how to write things and cause not pity in readers but wish to support and gratitude for you sharing it. From time to time I feel simptoms which are close to tactil allydonia, though definitely not as horrible as yours. Wish my words can make a difference, and though they are just words, my heart is full of love to you.

  6. Claire May 19, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Wow – I never knew it was allodynia!! I don’t have it now, but when I was in high school there was a few days in a row where my clothes really hurt me in the afternoon – I remember feeling every fiber against my body so clearly, and when I moved the scratchy, painful sensation was so intense! Reading your words, I am just ever more grateful that it was only a brief encounter, I couldn’t imagine having to deal with it all the time – keep being brave!

  7. sandytoesraven May 23, 2015 / 2:51 am

    Hi. I have just started to read your blog. I’m crying and yet feel slightly relieved at the same time. I’ve been living with postherpetic neuralgia for the past 2 1/2years after having shingles. It affects my spine and left arm. Over time my list of symptoms has started to increase and the fatigue is becoming overwhelming. Like most I’m sure, I’m having trouble getting Drs to take me seriously and get a diagnosis. I don’t mean to sound ‘dramatic’ but reading your blog feels a little like reading my own diary….
    Thank you thank you thank you for writing so openly and honestly. I can’t wait to try your recipes as I feel a overhaul of my diet certainly is needed. I know I’m on a long frustrating journey to find some answers, but reading blogs like yours full of great information is such a help to me.
    Thanks so much.

    • Sophia August 4, 2016 / 11:00 am

      Hi lovely, Sorry I haven’t replied sooner, I didn’t realise I had missed some comments.
      I don’t often speak to people with PHN so it’s nice to know I’m not alone but I am terribly sorry you’re suffering too <3
      It’s great to hear that you found comfort in reading my blog, that makes sharing my experience all the more worth it.
      Not a problem at all! I am grateful to you for reading it :)
      I hope you have made some progress since you wrote this comment?
      Sophia x

  8. Chelsea January 26, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    I have all 3 kinds but especially the dynamic mechanical. It sounds almost paradoxical, but compression garments can sometimes be my best friend. They’re tight enough that they don’t move and rub against me. It’s lime a mini hug. Haha

  9. Lindsay July 20, 2016 / 3:52 am

    I have all 3 kinds too and I can sympathise with Chelsea because compression or tighter fitting clothing tends to help more. I too have been unable to wear jeans for over a year after the development of CRPS. Thank you for writing about your experience.

  10. Kathy ford July 21, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    I have Allodynia just below my ribs. Can’t stand a breeze blowing over it, showers have felt like bullets and have not worn a bra for years. 2 years ago it got so bad I started using capcation cream but on hot days it felt like I was burning alive, I spoke to my pain team and they asked if I would like to try a quinteza patch which is applied in hospital, it’s a chilli based patch and send the nerves into over drive, which in turn calms the Allodynia down. It has been amazing, not only is my Allodynia 10 fold better than before it has also reduced muscle spasms.

    • Sophia August 4, 2016 / 10:56 am

      Hi Kathy,

      That sounds dreadful. I feel your pain <3 Wow so glad you have found something that helps :) That’s great news! I will definitely look into it. The only trouble is, is that my pain is so widespread that I’d need so many patches lol. I haven’t gotten on with capcation cream in the past but maybe this will be different!
      Thanks lovely! xx

  11. Caity-Ann July 28, 2016 / 10:42 pm

    Hi Sophia,

    I realize this post is old, but I am hoping you can help me. I currently suffer from CRPS in my left leg. I have all three types of allodynia going on throughout my entire leg, but primarily my hip/thigh – the inner part of my thigh where inseams of pants typically rest. I haven’t worn pants in over a year now (aside from super soft brand new fleece PJ Pants). The pain is so severe that I had to quit my job and now work part time from home. I am writing wondering if you have any BRAND SPECIFIC recommendations for loose pants and skirts that you wore / wear during such flare-ups? I’m pretty desperate as everything I buy I can only wash it once before the fabric is no longer soft enough for me to wear. I have found that rayon based garmets seem to last more than one wash, but only sometimes. Any suggestions or advice would be so very much appreciated. Thank you in advance!


    • Sophia August 4, 2016 / 10:54 am

      Hello Caity-Ann,

      I am really sorry to hear about your CRPS. I wouldn’t wish chronic pain on my worst enemy! You sound very similar to me in terms of your hypersensitivity. My allodynia has actually gotten worse since I wrote this post. I now cannot even wear the 100% cotton leggings I used to wear and loose maxi dresses aren’t great now as there is just too much material touching my legs. I am now living in loose shorts or culottes or midi loose dresses.
      I’m not sure I can recommend any brands specifically, but I like 100% cotton bottoms or I too like rayon. Have you tried lyocell? It’s really soft.
      How are you with polyester? I wear polyester culottes from Zara and they are so loose and don’t cling. How frustrating for you that you have to keep buying things are they aren’t suitable after a wash.
      Sorry I haven’t been able to help much and I really hope things improve for you soon!

      Sophia xxx

  12. deb September 29, 2016 / 10:19 am

    Hello,Do you have a reccomendation?
    i suffer from the wind and fabric touch allodynia too. I am trying to find thermal clothing that will work. There is cold, windy, and dry air around me. Humidity is great for me. The heat is great. But the cold causes extreme motor function problems as well as allodynia. The breeze does the allodynia the most. I can only wear cotton tights in the winter but it is not enough. The fleeze is too tight, like compression but not as tight and causes immense pain. I am trying to fimd thermal underwear or clothing that I can tolerate. Something that isnt compressing but it can be tight on the body. It would be better if it is not loose fitting. Not too tight though. Any suggestions?

  13. Susana January 5, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    Hi Sophia.
    I live with Allodynia since 1998. I have tried probably everything there is to try and had no luck. I tried the capsaicin cream (which makes the skin really really hot), I tried (for 6 times) the qutenza patch that Kathy Ford mentioned, I tried many different medications, I tried botulinum toxin injections and even had a spinal cord stimulator implanted for 3 years.
    What I found that helps a bit with clothes and water in the shower is using an adhesive like this . Of course that you can’t use it on such a large area but I chose to use on the places that move the most (the knees, for example) or where the clothes hurt the most (the place where the elasticated band of the socks touch the skin, for example). I only change them once a week so that i don’t have to think about the pain of removal. After a week, the borders get loose and start causing more pain so I remove them and put new ones.

    Keep strong!
    Love, Susana

    • Sophia September 12, 2017 / 11:37 am

      Hi Susana, I am sorry for the delayed reply. Gosh you really have tried eveything! Even the spinal
      Cord simulator :( I wish I could take the pain away for you.
      Thy is such a good idea about the adhesives! Thank you so much for sharing!
      Keep going pain warrior <3

  14. Carla July 26, 2017 / 3:49 am

    Hi there!

    My allodynia has improved significantly once I started injecting myself with Vitamin B-1 as part of my multiple sclerosis protocol ( Another thing that helps a lot is taking niacin every day. My MS protocol suggests taking it twice weekly (I know it thins the blood.) However, I take it daily for a natural high cholesterol treatment. Niacin works wonders. I highly doubt I would be able to walk as good as I do without it.

    • Sophia September 12, 2017 / 11:31 am

      Hi lovely! Thank you for sharing what has helped you. I’ve only ever heard of b12 injections so will have a look at b1. I’m unfortunately allergic to niacin but I hope others can find relief from this too! Gentle hugs xx

  15. thewritingmommy andora henson August 20, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    I understand as I too suffer from those symptoms. The itching associated with this is the WORST !!! Wearing almost any fabric other than a rayon is torture, and sometimes that is too soft and i have to wear snug but not tight cotton because the movement of the fabric is horrible. I have found that focusing more on comfort than fashion is the only way to manage, and this is harder for me as I have gained 30 pounds since this all started 20 years ago. Gentle hugs ~ Andora

    • Sophia September 12, 2017 / 11:29 am

      So sorry to hear you’re suffering too :( yes I get that itching too and it’s a nightmare when you’re skin is so sensitive! I totally agre and only shop for comfort now which makes me sad as I’m obsessed with fashion! I really hope things improve for you soon Andora! Sending gentle hugs xxx

  16. Nova November 19, 2017 / 6:40 am

    Hi everyone

    I also have neuropathic pain flareups and am currently sruggling with appropriate clothes that does not set off a pain response..
    would anyone have a recommendation for a bra. The wrapping around my thoracic spine sets off a response with the body reacting to the feeling or
    firmness on my body.
    I would be greatful for any suggestions.

    Cheers novah

  17. Dorothy February 5, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Incredible to read your post. I too get such severe pain from clothing, pants especially and bras. I find I get my most severe attacks in the morning. I just want to be put in a warm cocoon. No one understands, I do have fibro and neuropathy also osteoarthritis to mention a few. My back is the most sensitive but pants hurt my stomach severely. Hello comfy pants and they must be very comfy around waiste.I tried growing my hair but it hurt too much. Just the wind blowing would hurt my hair and head. I guess I could keep going on , sorry. Funny I guess it’s true misery loves company.

  18. Kelly-Anne Hennessy July 31, 2019 / 9:49 pm

    I have been suffering with allodynia for nearly 4 years. Its a day to day struggle. I have tactile allodynia in both thighs and calfs all around and hips. Iam ĺucky that i only suffer from the one type and not all three. I find night time the worst. No matter what position i sleep, the burning pain starts up. I now take ice packs to bed so i can get some sleep. Thank you for your blog. We can only hope one day they will find a cure for all. Xx

    • Tania December 14, 2019 / 12:45 pm

      Hello Kelly,

      Did you find any solution of your allodynia. I have been suffering for last 2 years from this condition. During the day I feel ok but at night I cant sleep as the pressure on body triggers the pain.

      Where Do you live?

    • Denise Nicklin August 18, 2021 / 9:41 pm

      I posted a few months ago, now it’s worse than ever. It’s in my thighs, hips and stomach. Loose cloths flapping against my skin drive me insane to the point where I want to rip them off, it’s like a constant tickley pain that drives me mad. Having a batht feels like I’m bathing in razor blades, the wind on my skin is awful, it feels like the worst sunburn.. I am at the point now where I dread getting up, I’m having to give up my job I’ve had for 36 years, I’m only 54 because of this. The doctors don’t know what’s causing it. Would love to hear from anyone who knows what causes this.

  19. Sonja Wiser Roberts September 10, 2019 / 2:45 am

    Before I write about my nearly 10 year Allodynia experience I want to make sure this gets posted. I’m not very computer literate but I’m so happy to find this site! I’ve been suffering alone for so long. I look forward to trying your suggestions!

  20. Jim Snedden August 13, 2020 / 11:49 am

    just found your site. i explained to a friend that the same necklace i had been wearing for 17 years (its a medic alert type necklace) suddenly feels like it weighs 10 pounds. i now only wear it when i am leaving the house. My waistband on my underwear feels like its burning me. cutting me in half. ive changed soap etc. She sent me an article, So i started googling/researching and found you! awesome post! i will certainly be following now!

  21. Bernie November 19, 2020 / 1:58 am

    Thank you all for your comments on allodynia. I too I have been suffering with extreme pain in both hands that hinders my ability to fall asleep. Every night I find myself unable to sleep due to excruciating pain in both wrists. Now recently my legs have started to be very sensitive to touch wherein if the sheets and clothing, particularly pants, touch or brush across my leg or calf, a shooting pain of fire is felt. I initially thought it was due to dry skin or that it was a passing thing and kept over moisturizing my legs but the sensitivity and pain only continued to worsen This has definitely caught my attention to Google these symptoms and came across all your posts. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I will now listen to my son and make a doctor’s appointment first thing in the AM as my symptoms are very similar, if not spot on, to symptoms of fibromyalgia and allodynia.

    • Carla November 22, 2020 / 10:41 pm

      My knee area bothers me the most at night. So, I wear thigh-high socks to cover the area and it works just fine. I wish I could wear tights with clothing, but I have sensitivity in the groin area as well. I can’t even wear pants. I hope this helps you.

    • Julie Mackay March 23, 2021 / 1:29 am

      Hello everyone, I feel like I’ve found long lost, very close, understanding relatives!
      I web searched ‘neuropathy pain wearing clothing’ and the Spoonies site came up, I joined years ago but I’m not very social.
      So, its called Allodynia and there’s 3 types, .. I just knew i couldnt be a lone in this. My goodness, trying to explain this to anyone is impossible as it doesn’t sound plausible. I use copious amounts of capsaicin cream on my feet and ankles and can barely feel it. But it some accidentally gets on any other skin part and its like being scalded. All my lovely jeans , shoes, boots etc. I can only look at them occasionally and hope this nightmare disease will end.
      Now that bamboo fabric is everywhere, I have bamboo underwear (for my only outings to doctor, specialist etc.) bamboo tops and bamboo pants, bamboo dresses and bamboo socks, also bambo sleepwear and bamboo bedding. It’s a dream invention for neuropathic pain sensitivity. It doesn’t irritate the crease rashes of the inverted psoriasis either.
      I’m amazed also reading about sometimes needing something firm on. I use compression socks and a weighted blanket with an extremely hot heat pack on my feet, ankles and lower legs, especially when the weather changes to colder. I’ve even resorted to tapping my big toes with small craft hammer if my TENS isn’t being effective enough. Is it any wonder i need my psychologist!!
      Good luck everone .. may we savor the rare “good days”
      JULIE M

  22. Denise Nicklin April 3, 2021 / 11:32 pm

    I have been suffering from Alloydinia for the last year and I have never experienced anything like this in my life, the pain is horrendous. From the minute I wake up it starts, I have it in my stomach area, hips and down the inside of both thighs right to my ankles. I have a bath the water hurts my skin so much, a soft sponge feels like I’m washing with razor blades, I wear loose trousers which almost tickle my skin, which drives me sucidial. The doctor put me on pregablin and tramadol, both of which have not worked. Can anyone recommend anything that may help?

  23. Claudio Santos April 21, 2021 / 2:40 pm

    Hello people. I am from Brazil, 58 yrs, and had an accident while practicing bodyboard.
    It was two months ago and since then I have allodynia (neuropathic pains) in my upper back (shoulders).
    What I tried and helped was to put plastic film, after spreading some water to help to fix it. What I feel is that it molds in my skin and avoids fabric from shirts to bring some friction to it. I sleep with it.

  24. Kidd April 24, 2021 / 2:45 am

    I feel for all of you, who are going through this ordeal. I know it is exhausting.

    I went through this for almost 3 years. All of my sensory nerves, from my waist up to my shoulders, were on fire 24X7. I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep in a night. The docs had me taking 15,000mg of Neurontin a day, just to function, and had associated it to my diabetes. I was also wrapped in Lidocaine patches from my waist to my shoulders. The Neurontin basically reduced the pain to sharp-knife from a ball of glass ripping through my body. The intercostal muscles between my ribs seemed to be the worse part. When Neurontin finally quit working, they prescribed 1mg Efexor. I lost an entire week while taking Efexor. It’s a Bi-Polar drug but, they discovered in small doses, its a great pain reliever. Well… Yeah… I guess it relieved the pain but…. I couldn’t remember anything. I called my Dr., after the 1st week, and told them I couldn’t take that anymore. I decided that I wouldn’t live with this pain any longer and was seriously contemplating erasing myself. A friend of mine is a Chiropractor and she convinced me to come see her, to just fix my horrible posture the pain had caused. I was basically walking at 90*, at the waist. I was a firm believer that this stuff was totally snake oil and BS. Short story… she fixed me. IN TWO VISITS. It was 90% gone after the 1st visit of 15 minutes. My issue had nothing to do with any bones or joints being out of whack. They became screwed up because of the Allodynia. What she did triggered my brain to release something in my body and I haven’t had the slightest twinge in 5 years. She doesn’t even know exactly what happened but… I CAN PROMISE YOU SHE DID IT. I haven’t taken a pill since then. I would go to a VERY REPUTABLE Chiropractor and see what they can do. I can tell you she is a VERY rare individual, as I have found out over the years. For the 1st 10-minutes of my 1st visit, she didn’t even touch me. She waved her hand over my back and when she felt… whatever it was, she put her finger on my back and I light up. She hit something and my brain went to work. Absolutely crazy, what happened.

    I hope this helps someone.

    • Sophia July 29, 2021 / 3:40 pm

      Hi there. This is incredible and such a great relief for you – life changing in fact. Can I ask what type of chiropractor she was and what she actually did – in her words? it would be incredibly helpful to others in the same situation if we understood what this process was so that we could discuss it with our own practitioners. thank you.

  25. Yola August 26, 2021 / 4:56 am

    So has anyone found out why we get allodynia and what’s the solution? All I see is people describing their pain.

  26. Megan December 26, 2021 / 5:31 pm

    I’ve literally been trying to work out the pain I get in my leg and this describes it and all three types affect my leg, although I am worried it could be a blood clot as the location is my right calf more to the side. I can not even touch it with the softest brush of silk clothing but it aches also. If I get cold it then causes the pain. It came on suddenly. I have no idea how to talk to the doc, last time I went she just said it could be nerves didn’t think to check for clots and said she could give b12 injections. But because of location I’m so worried. They also wanted to do an mri which I’m worried what they may find, but at least I can describe the pain better having read your blogpost.

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