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Hypersensitive Senses

Hypersensitive Organs, Tissues, Joints Etc.
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That in Which Drives My CSS
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The Assumed Cause of My Central Sensitivity Syndrome

Therapies to Consider
*Myofascial Release Therapy
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Past Articles
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*Permeability of the Osmotic Blood-Brain-Barrier
*Emerging Concepts in the Neurobiology of Chronic Pain
*Biofeedback/relaxation training and exercise interventions for Fibromyalgia
*Compilation of links regarding CSS, FMS, MSS, and CFS

Minnesota Chronic Pain Resources
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*Chronic Pain Programs & Clinics I Advocate
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Related Links

Central Sensitivity Syndrome Home (CSS)

My Case of Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS) | Hypersensitive Senses | Touch | Sight | Hearing | Smell | Taste | How Even Smell Equals Pain | Stages 1-6 |

My Case of Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS)

As far as I have seen and my doctors have seen my case is a bit unique when compared to those with FMS/CFS and even CSS. What I am doing here is listing my symptoms and what helped or continues to maintain my symptoms. While you may not have all of these symptoms you may have quite a few and these methods may help you as well.

Definition of My CSS: Hypersensitivity of the five senses, including Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste and Hearing. Also including hypersensitivity of all tissue and joints etc.

Hypersensitive Senses

Touch: From a soft caress to a hard fall all forms of touch are painful to me and leave marks on my body. Even the slightest itch or scratch leaves a redness for over a half and hour and the redness appears in under ten seconds. More of this is covered under Skin. My muscular pain is similar to FMS pain and it is dull, sharp, stabbing and enough to make me cry and even scream at times. The pain is 24/7 and never stops. Nervous pain is similar to the pain felt when and IV is going in or if you could try to imagine injecting a diluted ground hot pepper into the nerves that would give you a general idea. I feel every nerve in by body and almost every muscle all of the time. TO live without this pain would be as foreign to me as to remove all physical sensation from a normal person. I relate to my world not by touch, but by pain. A tap on the shoulder is like a very hard punch, caressing can lead to a burning sensation, a hard poke or bump leaves a bruise for two weeks and over working a muscle one day means not using the muscle again for at least a week. There is no touch with out pain though some lighter touches only cause pain after they are continued for a short amount of time. Meaning caressing is only painful after that area is caressed for over a minute. To grab my arm to draw my attention is to cause me mild to severe bodily harm.

Sight: The light is always to bright inside or out in fact outside light can be blinding. This hypersensitivity leads to severe tension headaches that are very debilitating. That’s which is just light in color such as a white wall does not appear white, but rather as a light. To look at a white wall and look away is the same as looking at a light bulb and looking away, the image remains. Vision is blurry be cause of this light distortion and also other visual distortions I mention more under Eyes.

Hearing: A honk of a car horn can send a pain shooting up my spine enough to render me unable to move, respond or breathe. Any prolonged quite sound begins to create headaches and mild to louder sounds trigger the headaches into full blown debilitation in no time. This is explained more in depth under Headaches. I can hear the quietest sounds and some of the highest pitched sounds most humans can not. While I can not make out what a person is saying 20 feet from me, I can hear the bass or higher pitches of their voice.

Smell: My strongest sensitivities are cigarette smoke and gasoline, but even someone’s perfume or cologne can cause nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and in severe cases vomiting and loss of consciousness (passing out).

Taste: My only form of pure pleasure. With hypersensitive taste, good food and especially sweets are all the more wonderful, but many foods can trigger nausea if they are not quite a favorite food. Certain spicy foods can cause oral skin to be irritated in the mouth similar to burning skin on hot food if the food is to salty, spicy etc such as pepper and sunflower seeds. More about this under Skin.

How Even Smell Equals Pain

*All of these stages apply to any trigger of a hypersensitive sense whether it is hearing, sight, smell or touch. Taste to this day has not triggered an attack by itself, but it does enhance other symptoms such as nausea.*

Similar to morning sickness for pregnant woman, hypersensitivity to smell leaves me always one strong smell away from full blown symptoms. Every day I carry a mask just in case I encounter a smell I can not handle. Keep in mind this is not Asthma which is an allergic reaction, this is hypersensitivity and there is a difference such as there are no treatment options like inhalers or pills. Passing a person on the sidewalk with a cigarette, the car fumes while crossing the street and so on are pure poison to my body. I can withstand a few minor smells throughout the day and not have a breathing attack, but if one strong smell does come along all smaller smells that follow that day will re-induce an attack instantly.

Stage 1 – Shortness of Breath
When I smell or breathe in a strong scent or chemical toxin such as cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, gasoline fumes, perfume and such first I become very short of breath.

Stage 2 – Dizziness & Anxiety
Next my vision begins to blur, I become dizzy and in some cases everything can go entirely “white” and I can be rendered blinded. On other occasions my mind reacts differently and instead of everything going white my eyes still sees colors and shapes, but the images make no sense to my brain. I assume this is due to a lack of carbon dioxide or oxygen traveling to the brain. The lack of carbon dioxide or oxygen to the brain is not only caused by the slow labored breathing, but also by an onset of anxiety switching slow labored breathing into hyperventilation. Keeping my breathing regular and slow keeps me from having a full blown panic attack at this point.  

Stage 2 - Nausea
The dizziness and double vision is the first and main cause of my nausea. Also, because my body thinks these fumes/smells are toxic it naturally reacts by increasing nausea to warn me of the toxins as a means to protect myself from those toxic substances. If the smell is strong enough it will induce vomiting.

Stage 3 - Carbon Dioxide
Hyperventilation reduces the carbon dioxide concentration of the blood below normal and increases already triggered symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, headache, chest pain, slurred speech and as a result can sometimes trigger fainting. This reduction in carbon dioxide could be one of the causes for Stage 4.

Stage 4 – Muscular Pain
I am not entirely sure of the dynamics of how the pain is caused at this stage. It could be from the lack of carbon dioxide traveling to the muscles causing the severely painful contractions or it could be the level of stress and fatigue brought on by the labored breathing and the triggered anxiety. Once this pain kicks in the pain is so severe I feel myself loosing my mind which if continued can lead into a psychotic episode of having no control over my mind or body actions. In this rare case I simply look out at the world through my eyes and have no control over my thoughts or actions. The pain is so deeply painful I dig and scratch at my skin, pull on my hair, bite my fingers or even hit objects as a way to relocate the pain to one point of the body to better deal with and comprehend the pain. The pain is not like being trapped in and Iron Maiden, but rather having one trapped inside out inside of you.  Suffocated by the pain itself pushes my mind more and more out of reality.

Stage 5 – Not Quite a Seizure
All of my muscles cramp as tightly as they can and the pain is horrifying, I fall to the ground hard, my back arches, my eyes roll in the back of my head and I begin to shake ferociously. It’s not a seizure, that doctors are for sure about, what Stage 5 is, is still speculative.

Stage 6 – Too Late for Coping
There are only two ways for this attack to end once it gets this far. 1. Call an ambulance to take me to the emergency room to be put on a morphine drip until my muscles relax and I can begin coping and breathing regularly and sleep it off. 2. Wait and have others watch the horrifying scene until I pass out and my body goes limp. By the time I wake up the major symptoms are gone.

*I have had several Stage 4 attacks already in 2007. I have not had a Stage 5-6 attack in 4 years. I have learned how to prevent 5 and 6 through breathing and getting immediately home to my controlled environment of no triggers. Four years ago I had Stage 5-6 attacks weekly and monthly for two years and had many throughout my childhood. These attacks were mainly triggered by a sudden increase in pain triggers, foods I now know my body can not digest leading symptoms similar to food poisoning and suddenly increased severe fatigue in which left me without the ability to cope and manage my pain allowing me to spiral into an attack.*






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A Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue & Central Sensitivity Syndrome Online Resource - Copyright 2007