Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Allodynia (Clinical, Experimental)

  • Rolf-Detlef Treede
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_153


Touch Evoked Pain; dynamic mechanical hyperalgesia; obsolete: hyperaesthesia


The term “allodynia” was introduced to describe a puzzling clinical phenomenon; in some patients, gentle touch may induce a pronounced pain sensation (“touch evoked pain”). In the current taxonomy of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), allodynia is defined as: Pain induced by stimuli that are not normally painful.

If taken literally, this definition means that any reduction in pain threshold would be called “allodynia”. According to the IASP taxonomy, increases in pain to suprathreshold stimuli are called “ hyperalgesia”. Because the neural mechanisms of  sensitizationtypically cause a leftward shift in the stimulus-response-function that encompasses both reduced thresholds and increased suprathreshold responses, these definitions have been controversial ever since their introduction. Moreover, behavioral studies in animals often use withdrawal threshold measures...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf-Detlef Treede
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physiology and PathophysiologyJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany