Hyperalgesia

Part of Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A hand turns the volume knob on a stereo.
Hyperalgesia basically "turns up the volume" of pain. Stephan Zabel/Getty Images

Definition:

Hyperalgesia is an increased pain response that's common in fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Put simply, your body makes sensations more painful than they should be. This is often referred to as "turning up the volume" on pain. It is a real, physiological phenomenon and not due to mental illness such as hypochondria or "making a big deal out of it," as some people may believe.

The increase in pain can be confined to certain areas of the body or it can be widespread.

Pronunciation: HY-per al-JEE-ze-uh

Hyper = high, excessive, or above normal.

Algesia = sensitivity to pain.

Hyperalgesia in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Along with FMS and ME/CFS, hyperalgesia is associated with some inflammatory conditions and damage to certain types of nerves. It also can be a response to immune-system cells called proinflammatory cytokines, which your body releases in response to infection.

Hyperalgesia is a common underlying feature of a category of illnesses called central sensitivity conditions, which includes FMS, ME/CFS, irritable bowel syndrome, restless legs syndrome, and several other conditions.

This pain type is different from allodynia, which is a pain response to something that's not normally painful. You can learn more about hyperalgesia and other pain types, including how they're treated, here:

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