Keyword Analysis & Research: maddening itch

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have itchy skin?

There are hundreds of reasons people itch. These range from dry skin and such skin disorders as psoriasis, to “contact” dermatitis from rough clothing, pet dander, soaps, laundry detergents and perfume — collectively known as eczema — as well as more painfully familiar conditions such as bug bites or poison ivy.

Why does my neck itch?

These include diabetes, kidney disease and some cancers. “One thing that may surprise people is that having a bad neck or back can cause itching due to damage to the nerves that come from your spinal cord,” Kim says. “Another thing people may not know is that in rare cases, cancer — particularly lymphomas and leukemias — can present with itch.”

Why does my back itch when I scratch it?

“We think the nerves that relay sensation from your back become damaged or dysfunctional, causing you to itch,” Kim says. “You’re right, it is a bit of a phantom itch because there’s no primary stimulation in the skin. Rather, the nerve itself is misfiring. It’s precisely what the classic ‘back scratcher’ was invented for.”

Do you suffer from chronic itch?

About 15 percent of the population suffers from chronic itch, according to Brian Kim, co-director of the Center for the Study of Itch at the Washington University School of Medicine. “It’s a very big problem,” Kim says. “ Studies have shown that its impact on quality of life is equivalent to chronic pain.

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