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Can Nerve Damage Cause Itchiness?

By Cindi Pearce ; Updated July 27, 2017

Yes, nerve damage can cause itchiness. When nerve damage occurs this is called neuropathy.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can result from excessive pressure on a nerve, repetitive motions, stretching the nerve or pinching it. It may also result from a disc problem in your back or scar tissue. Diabetes, lack of vitamin B12, infections, diseases and poisoning can also cause nerve damage.

Neuropathic

Neuropathic itch is the direct result of nerve damage. Neuropathic pain occurs when the peripheral and central nervous systems malfunction and become the origin of the pain, according to Dr. Steven Richeimer, chief of the division of pain medicine at Keck School of Medicine, University of Sourthern California, Los Angeles.

Neurogenic

Neurogenic itch occurs when when opioids, an analgesic substance, are released from the brain or when a synthetic version of an opioid is taken. This type of itch is not from nerve tissue damage but originates in the central nervous system.

Pruritis

When you suffer from itching this is referred to as pruritis. The stimuli that cause you to itch can come from the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, or from peripheral nerves. When you are itching, you release a substance called histamine. That's why anti-histamines are prescribed to treat the itch.

Seek Medical Attention

If you think nerve damage is resulting in your symptoms, including itching, consult with a physician. Do not ignore nerve damage. If left untreated, it can result in permanent damage to your nerves, according to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a physician and radio talk show host.

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