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(Time)   The mystery of the human body's most annoying sensation, itching, finally explained. And suddenly you find your back itching for no reason   (science.time.com) divider line 63
    More: PSA, no reason, itching, human body  
•       •       •

11590 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 May 2013 at 12:32 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



63 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-05-23 09:42:08 PM  
Nope....not my back.....
 
2013-05-24 12:18:33 AM  
Whatever the f*ck it is, it concentrates itself in my balls, and activates itself when I get out of bed

/damn... that feels good
 
2013-05-24 12:33:29 AM  
Usually when you feel an itch somewhere, it's one of those almost invisible tiny baby spiders crawling on you.
 
2013-05-24 12:35:05 AM  
God dammit.

*Grabs back scratcher*
 
2013-05-24 12:35:09 AM  
It's not as bad as being aware of your tongue. That's when you realize how your tongue feels in your mouth and it seems like it's bigger than it should be. And the worst part is... once that feeling sets in... it never goes away.
 
2013-05-24 12:37:45 AM  
The only time I notice my back starting to itch is when I'm riding and I'm just about to start breaking a sweat.
 
2013-05-24 12:40:27 AM  
Ha! Fooled you! I was already itching before I read your headline!

I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.

Pottery was cheaper and more plentiful than paper, which was made of expensive papyrus, cloth (linen paper is literally made with linen) or in extreme cases, parchment, which is animal hide scraped clean and thin, which means that each folio sheet of paper costs you a sheep.

My life is one long pain. But I bear it well because like Lucy van Pelt, I am naturally crabby. There's a long long line of grouchy Puritans in my family tree. A lot of long lines of grouchy Puritans. We love to complain. It distracts us from the pain, annoyance and so forth.

Mutter, moan, whine, groan, biatch, complain. I have something like that on a button around here somewhere.
 
2013-05-24 12:44:40 AM  
Dammit subby. I hate you almost as much as the fact that I can't reach the itch on my back right now. Right between the tattoos on my back. Thankfully, the ex its coming over, so before I scratch her itch, she'll use her nails on my back. Does that anyway, but this way I can just lie there.

/yes, I've set myself up for that joke.
 
2013-05-24 12:47:15 AM  
There was a case concerning a woman who had a constant itch in a single spot of her scalp. She scratched so much and for so long, her psychologist determined it must have been more than psychological. She once woke up with green ooze on her pillow and it so happened that she had drilled through her cranium.
 
2013-05-24 12:47:51 AM  
I hate the itching, but I don't mind the swelling.
 
2013-05-24 01:01:19 AM  
I was told it was the Vicodin.
 
2013-05-24 01:01:42 AM  

Cytokine Storm: Usually when you feel an itch somewhere, it's one of those almost invisible tiny baby spiders crawling on you.


Or else parasitic Demodex mites.
 
2013-05-24 01:05:30 AM  
bugs....bugs under my skin, man

can't you see them? can't you?
 
2013-05-24 01:20:25 AM  
BRAIN CHIGGERS!
 
2013-05-24 01:21:04 AM  
No itching, but a possible sebaceous cyst developing on upper back now that I check...
 
2013-05-24 01:21:45 AM  
So they cured cancer already? Must have missed that.
 
2013-05-24 01:28:38 AM  
I never understood itching.

Everything about how the body works is amazing.
Bacteria gets into your body? White blood cells go berserk.
Something got into your eyes? They water to flush it out.

Something stings you? Your body has a reaction that keeps making you scratch, which makes things worse.
 
2013-05-24 01:30:01 AM  
Here's a picture of a bedbug, in case you weren't itchy by now:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-05-24 01:30:12 AM  
They fight, they bite, They bite and fight and bite, Fight fight fight, bite bite bite
 
2013-05-24 01:39:01 AM  
i3.ytimg.com
 
2013-05-24 01:42:05 AM  
I Didn't read the article,  but... how is it a mystery?  The purpose of itching is to get bugs off you.  As during most of our existence, we lived outdoors, with bugs crawling on us.
 
2013-05-24 01:44:05 AM  
As a life long sufferer of pruritis due to cholestatic liver disease...this news pleases me.
 
2013-05-24 01:44:06 AM  
25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-05-24 01:44:18 AM  
I get terrible, what I call "prickly-itchies", when I try to go to sleep. They are random, no particlular spot is immume. Feels like a light to moderate needle prick that immediatly iches. Will completly drive me screaming curse words crazy trying to get to sleep. Only alieviantion is booze (which is a viable option, just not always practicle), or Gabapentin (which I take for my neuropathy in my feet).
 
2013-05-24 01:56:00 AM  
Oh there's a reason
 
2013-05-24 01:57:37 AM  

2chris2: I Didn't read the article,  but... how is it a mystery?  The purpose of itching is to get bugs off you.  As during most of our existence, we lived outdoors, with bugs crawling on us.


You could be wrong about that. At least parts of it.
 
2013-05-24 01:57:48 AM  
Hoon?

images3.wikia.nocookie.net

/i want my rommy
 
2013-05-24 02:03:28 AM  

MyToeHurts: I get terrible, what I call "prickly-itchies", when I try to go to sleep. They are random, no particlular spot is immume. Feels like a light to moderate needle prick that immediatly iches. Will completly drive me screaming curse words crazy trying to get to sleep. Only alieviantion is booze (which is a viable option, just not always practicle), or Gabapentin (which I take for my neuropathy in my feet).


has you tried elevating your feets on pillows at sleepy time? Doctor Dan the Bandage Man has all the answers.
 
2013-05-24 02:10:25 AM  
My fingernails itch.
 
2013-05-24 02:34:47 AM  
I wonder how this relates to how some people with mental disorders will scratch more.
 
2013-05-24 02:36:38 AM  

2chris2: I Didn't read the article,  but... how is it a mystery?  The purpose of itching is to get bugs off you.  As during most of our existence, we lived outdoors, with bugs crawling on us.


I get some pretty bad zits sometimes and occasionally I will suddenly feel a sharp pain/itch on a spot (usually my back), scratch it, and realize there's one forming and it's time to take care of it. I've also noticed sometimes I'll scratch in the shower and it feels so good I keep going, and next thing I know there's lots of dead skin under my nails and I look like I was in a girl-fight. My theory is that it's also a way your body lets you know that the skin has renewed itself to a state where you need to help it out with the removal of the old.

/shrug
//I might just be crazy
 
2013-05-24 02:42:11 AM  
The only time itches bother me is when I'm trying to sleep. I have to be very careful to never scratch in bed, as it doesn't ever relieve the itch - it just makes it ten times worse.

Anti-itch cream helps. It must be nice to be one of those scratching-an-itch-makes-it-go-away types.
 
2013-05-24 02:45:31 AM  

MyToeHurts: I get terrible, what I call "prickly-itchies", when I try to go to sleep. They are random, no particlular spot is immume. Feels like a light to moderate needle prick that immediatly iches. Will completly drive me screaming curse words crazy trying to get to sleep. Only alieviantion is booze (which is a viable option, just not always practicle), or Gabapentin (which I take for my neuropathy in my feet).


I get those also, always seem to be just under the surface and unREACHable! Just that one tiny little spot!

No longer dread getting an itchy back because I found the absolute best backscratcher at Goodwill a few years ago for like one or two dollars. Long hardwood handle with a brass hand(r) in a claw position that makes short order of almost any itch almost anyplace!
 
2013-05-24 02:52:04 AM  

What_Would_Jimi_Do: [i3.ytimg.com image 480x360]


Damn, you beat me to it.
 
2013-05-24 03:10:43 AM  

Omahawg: bugs....bugs under my skin, man

can't you see them? can't you?


Peter (on phone): Hello? Hello?

President Jimmy Carter: Yes. Hello, Peter?

Peter (on phone): Is this the President?

President Jimmy Carter: Yes, it is.

Walter Cronkite: Do you have a question for the President?

Peter (on phone): Uh.. I, uh.. I took some acid.. I'm afraid to leave my apartment, and I can't wear any clothes.. and the ceiling is dripping, and uh.. I, uh..

Walter Cronkite: Well, thank you very much for calling, sir..

President Jimmy Carter: Just a minute, Walter, this guy's in trouble. I think I better try to talk him down. Peter?

Peter (on phone): Yeah..?

President Jimmy Carter: Peter, what did the acid look like?

Peter (on phone): They were these little orange pills.

President Jimmy Carter: Were they barrel shaped?

Peter (on phone): Uh.. yes.

President Jimmy Carter: Okay, right, you did some orange sunshine, Peter.

Peter (on phone): Very good of you to know that, sir.

President Jimmy Carter: How long ago did you take it, Peter?

Peter (on phone): Uh.. I don't know. I can't read my watch.

President Jimmy Carter: Alright, Peter, just listen. Everything is going to be fine. You're very high right now. You will probably be that way for about five more hours. Try taking some vitamin B complex, vitamin C complex.. if you have a beer, go ahead and drink it..

Peter (on phone): Okay..

President Jimmy Carter: Just remember you're a living organism on this planet, and you're very safe. You've just taken a heavy drug. Relax, stay inside and listen to some music, Okay? Do you have any Allman Brothers?

Peter (on phone): Yes, I do, sir. Everything is okay, huh Jimmy?

President Jimmy Carter: It sure is, Peter. You know, I'm against drug use myself, but I'm not going to lay that on you right now. Just mellow out the best you can, okay?

Peter (on phone): Okay..!

President Jimmy Carter: Okay.

Walter Cronkite: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Our time is up for this week, but let me remind you that it is now time to buy your tickets for the first annual "I Slept At The White House" lottery, on sale at federal office buildings everywhere.

President Jimmy Carter: I figure there's no harm in trying, Walt. The tickets are only a dollar, and maybe someone out there will win an all-expense paid trip to spend the night here with us in Washington. Good night!

Walter Cronkite: Good night, thank you very much.
 
2013-05-24 03:40:58 AM  
I'm wearing a fiberglass codpiece right now, so I'm really getting a kick out of this thread.
 
2013-05-24 03:49:15 AM  

bearded clamorer: I'm wearing a fiberglass codpiece right now, so I'm really getting a kick out of this thread.


Is it a 'Black Russian'?

Image NSFW (was on the BBC and PBS)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v514/crunchyfrog/Images/blackadder 7. jpg
 
2013-05-24 04:29:37 AM  
I had to give a speech in front of an auditorium full of people once and I suddenly developed a really itchy vag. Most excruciating couple of minutes of my life.
 
2013-05-24 04:30:11 AM  
www.successful-blog.com
 
2013-05-24 04:34:56 AM  

brantgoose: I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.


Same here.  Around August of last year I had my gallbladder removed. A few weeks after that, I broke out into large patches of moving hives (urticaria). It was a miserable, hot, itchy mess. A box of Benadryl didn't even touch it. Hydrocortizone helped but since the hives moved around so much, it was difficult to control. The doctors told me it was possibly a reaction to the anesthesia from surgery. They gave me hydroxyzine which really helped but turned me into a zombie. After a month or two, the condition finally seemed to subside a bit but still, anytime I brush up against something, or scratch my arms or back, I get those raised, itchy welts you described. Its annoying. I take a antihistimine/allergy pill every other day to try to keep it at bay. I've tried changing deodorant, soap, laundry detergent... nothing seems to help and the doctors don't seem to know what is causing it either.  It sucks!
 
2013-05-24 04:38:22 AM  
Another tally in the can't reach my itch column. I have really long hair, though, so I know it gets everywhere and I try not to think about creepy crawlies.
 
2013-05-24 05:42:49 AM  

Cappalotti: brantgoose: I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.

Same here.  Around August of last year I had my gallbladder removed. A few weeks after that, I broke out into large patches of moving hives (urticaria). It was a miserable, hot, itchy mess. A box of Benadryl didn't even touch it. Hydrocortizone helped but since the hives moved around so much, it was difficult to control. The doctors told me it was possibly a reaction to the anesthesia from surgery. They gave me hydroxyzine which really helped but turned me into a zombie. After a month or two, the condition finally seemed to subside a bit but still, anytime I brush up against something, or scratch my arms or back, I get those raised, itchy welts you described. Its annoying. I take a antihistimine/allergy pill every other day to try to keep it at bay. I've tried changing deodorant, soap, laundry detergent... nothing seems to help and the doctors don't seem to know what is causing it either.  It sucks!


You weren't told that this could be a side affect? What the hell did they use to put you out that could cause that? The whole this sounds like they farked up and are covering their asses.
 
2013-05-24 06:21:44 AM  

gozar_the_destroyer: Cappalotti: brantgoose: I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.

Same here.  Around August of last year I had my gallbladder removed. A few weeks after that, I broke out into large patches of moving hives (urticaria). It was a miserable, hot, itchy mess. A box of Benadryl didn't even touch it. Hydrocortizone helped but since the hives moved around so much, it was difficult to control. The doctors told me it was possibly a reaction to the anesthesia from surgery. They gave me hydroxyzine which really helped but turned me into a zombie. After a month or two, the condition finally seemed to subside a bit but still, anytime I brush up against something, or scratch my arms or back, I get those raised, itchy welts you described. Its annoying. I take a antihistamine/allergy pill every other day to try to keep it at bay. I've tried changing deodorant, soap, laundry detergent... nothing seems to help and the doctors don't seem to know what is causing it either.  It sucks!

You weren't told that this could be a side affect? What the hell did they use to put you out that could cause that? The whole this sounds like they farked up and are covering their asses.



I don't believe it was the anesthesia. That would have been out of my system long before now.
 
2013-05-24 06:48:59 AM  

Cappalotti: gozar_the_destroyer: Cappalotti: brantgoose: I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.

Same here.  Around August of last year I had my gallbladder removed. A few weeks after that, I broke out into large patches of moving hives (urticaria). It was a miserable, hot, itchy mess. A box of Benadryl didn't even touch it. Hydrocortizone helped but since the hives moved around so much, it was difficult to control. The doctors told me it was possibly a reaction to the anesthesia from surgery. They gave me hydroxyzine which really helped but turned me into a zombie. After a month or two, the condition finally seemed to subside a bit but still, anytime I brush up against something, or scratch my arms or back, I get those raised, itchy welts you described. Its annoying. I take a antihistamine/allergy pill every other day to try to keep it at bay. I've tried changing deodorant, soap, laundry detergent... nothing seems to help and the doctors don't seem to know what is causing it either.  It sucks!

You weren't told that this could be a side affect? What the hell did they use to put you out that could cause that? The whole this sounds like they farked up and are covering their asses.


I don't believe it was the anesthesia. That would have been out of my system long before now.


Interesting, I put it down to a lack of oil ( same condition as you )
I have a couple of fish oil capsules during the day and that's helped heaps.
 
2013-05-24 07:07:59 AM  

Badgers: Here's a picture of a bedbug, in case you weren't itchy by now:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 800x561]


I HATE YOU. fark you activated my paranoia again. Time to go check under the matresses AGAIN.
 
2013-05-24 07:56:26 AM  
DeadMouseTails

I was told it was the Vicodin.


THIS
 
2013-05-24 08:07:58 AM  

steerforth: I had to give a speech in front of an auditorium full of people once and I suddenly developed a really itchy vag. Most excruciating couple of minutes of my life.



Didn't your wife have any kinda prescription for it???
 
2013-05-24 08:23:14 AM  
I actually have wondered about this - and what causes the odd unspecified itch.  Turns out my heart is just doing something in there, I guess...
 
2013-05-24 08:28:42 AM  
Put the my hand to the back of my neck last night.  There was a tick.
 
2013-05-24 08:30:13 AM  
Dammit, subby.
 
2013-05-24 08:48:52 AM  

steerforth: I had to give a speech in front of an auditorium full of people once and I suddenly developed a really itchy vag. Most excruciating couple of minutes of my life.


You could've used the microphone.
 
2013-05-24 09:21:16 AM  
What about phantom itching?  I remember one time when my sister and I were kids, she had just got a filling at the dentist and while on the way home, she got an itch in a spot on her cheek that was still numb from Novocaine and scratching was totally ineffective because the area was numb, yet the itch was somehow still happening.
 
2013-05-24 09:30:47 AM  

Cappalotti: gainst something, or scratch my arms or back, I get those raised, itchy welts you described. Its annoying. I take a antihistimine/allergy pill every other day to try to keep it at bay. I've tried changing deodorant, soap, laundry detergent... nothing seems to help and the doctors don't seem to know what is causing it either.  It sucks!


did you try topical DMSO?
 
2013-05-24 11:50:32 AM  
Occasionally my left foot itches for no reason. Nothing a topological analgesic can't handle, but it is really annoying in the middle of the night. I wouldn't mind someone figuring out the basics.
 
2013-05-24 12:37:50 PM  
allcomedypics.com
 
2013-05-24 01:41:56 PM  

stryed: There was a case concerning a woman who had a constant itch in a single spot of her scalp. She scratched so much and for so long, her psychologist determined it must have been more than psychological. She once woke up with green ooze on her pillow and it so happened that she had drilled through her cranium.


Fortunately mine isn't constant 24-hours-a-day itchy, but I've had one pinpoint itch on my shoulder blade for two and a half years now.  The dermatologist says there's nothing there, but I've been tempted more than once to go in with a melon baller and "fix the glitch."
 
2013-05-24 01:45:41 PM  

brantgoose: Ha! Fooled you! I was already itching before I read your headline!

I can break out in hives at the drop of a pin. I have dermatographia (where welts rise at a scratch, so you can write on your skin with a finger nail--the name means "skin writing" or more literally "skin carving" since the Greek world for writing literally means scratching, seeing as the Greeks did a lot of their writing with a chisel or by scratching short notes into broken pottery, which they used like sticky notes.

Pottery was cheaper and more plentiful than paper, which was made of expensive papyrus, cloth (linen paper is literally made with linen) or in extreme cases, parchment, which is animal hide scraped clean and thin, which means that each folio sheet of paper costs you a sheep.

My life is one long pain. But I bear it well because like Lucy van Pelt, I am naturally crabby. There's a long long line of grouchy Puritans in my family tree. A lot of long lines of grouchy Puritans. We love to complain. It distracts us from the pain, annoyance and so forth.

Mutter, moan, whine, groan, biatch, complain. I have something like that on a button around here somewhere.


I feel your pain.  I've suffered from it for as long as I can remember.  I've used every single antihistamine that's ever been marketed to keep it under control.  Most of them might as well be sugar pills.  The only two that do anything are Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine).  I take a Zyrtec each morning and a Bendryl every night.  However, when weather extremes hit (really hot and muggy or really cold and dry), I often have to double my dosages.  Even during normal times, while medicated, I still briefly get the raised red lines if something touches me, but they won't itch. First indication that I've forgotten to take my meds are horribly itchy feet and hands, quickly spreading to my entire body.

For topical creams, I actually found a homemade one from a vendor in San Juan that is primarily made from banana peels. It works better than anything I've ever tried. Apparently you're supposed to rub the inside of a peel on your skin if you get poison ivy, and it works for regular itchiness too.

My skin is also keloid, I have a high pain tolerance and some completely numb spots on my skin, and I'm not ticklish.  I have no idea if any of these are related, but I'm the only one in my family with itchiness issues that are this bad.
 
2013-05-24 02:04:46 PM  

real_kibo: It's not as bad as being aware of your tongue. That's when you realize how your tongue feels in your mouth and it seems like it's bigger than it should be. And the worst part is... once that feeling sets in... it never goes away.


I came here to post something else, but now.....THANKS JERK!
 
2013-05-24 03:22:51 PM  
Test Lice!


Question: Did Mark Hoon have a bro with an Irish gal's name?
/melon
 
2013-05-24 03:46:08 PM  

Cloudchaser Sakonige the Red Wolf: What about phantom itching?  I remember one time when my sister and I were kids, she had just got a filling at the dentist and while on the way home, she got an itch in a spot on her cheek that was still numb from Novocaine and scratching was totally ineffective because the area was numb, yet the itch was somehow still happening.


That's actually to be expected. The pain receptor counteracts the itch receptor. Painkillers actually make itching worse.
 
2013-05-24 05:15:05 PM  

Chainsaw Turd Elf: real_kibo: It's not as bad as being aware of your tongue. That's when you realize how your tongue feels in your mouth and it seems like it's bigger than it should be. And the worst part is... once that feeling sets in... it never goes away.

I came here to post something else, but now.....THANKS JERK!


I accept your thanks.

I got the idea from the world's greatest master of evilness, Charles Schulz:

http://idothings.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/linus-and-lucy.jpg (pops)

...but I have since learned that, like an earworm, the only way to make it go away is to transfer it to other people. I win!!!!
 
2013-05-25 05:52:13 AM  

ayrlander: stryed: There was a case concerning a woman who had a constant itch in a single spot of her scalp. She scratched so much and for so long, her psychologist determined it must have been more than psychological. She once woke up with green ooze on her pillow and it so happened that she had drilled through her cranium.

Fortunately mine isn't constant 24-hours-a-day itchy, but I've had one pinpoint itch on my shoulder blade for two and a half years now.  The dermatologist says there's nothing there, but I've been tempted more than once to go in with a melon baller and "fix the glitch."


Consider yourself lucky!
Here's the article of the case : http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/30/080630fa_fact_gawande
Very good read...apparently it was basically 24/7
 
2013-05-25 05:56:28 AM  
There are mirror tricks that you could try if it's really a phantom itch. It's towards the end of the article.
 
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