The Causes of Painful Skin
Painful skin can be as a result of many things and is either an indication of an underlying illness or a condition affecting the skin itself. Pain in the skin can be tingling, sharp, dull and throbbing, or more of a ‘pin prick’ like sensation. In some cases, the skin is sensitive when touched while in others it requires no stimulus.
There are times when there is obvious damage to the skin clearly indicating the cause of the painful skin while in other cases damage seems absent and yet the skin is still in pain. Here are some known causes of pain experienced in the skin:
- Tactile defensiveness, a disorder of the body’s sensory part of the mid brain. The brain can no longer process stimuli fully and the person gets highly discomforted by any form of touch. As it progresses, the person feels pain even at the slightest form of touch. At this point, the person is in chronic pain and everything is painful. Seeing a neuropathy specialist is advised as the quality of life will be greatly reduced.
- Fibromyalgia can and is known to cause pain in the skin. There is no visible damage to the skin but it becomes very sensitive to pressure and the pain is a tingling sensation. The patient will feel the pain all over the skin. Why the disease causes pain in the skin is not yet known but studies are underway to figure out the connection.
- Deficiency of certain nutrients, especially vitamins such as vitamin B1, B7, B6, and B2 and the deficiency will cause stinging pain on the skin. The good news is that once you get these nutrients into your system then you will be fine. The pain should cease.
- Demyelineating disorder where the myelin sheath covering the nerve is damaged. It leaves the nerves exposed and thus pain in the skin covering them. The pain is especially felt when pressure is applied to the affected area.
- A simple migraine can have far reaching consequences as it may prompt allodynia, a condition where the skin becomes extra sensitive. The slightest touch results into a chain reaction of the skin with wide spread pain. In this case, everyday activities like dressing up etc become dangerous.
- Peripheral neuropathy in which nerves from the peripheral nervous system are destroyed. The pain can be tingling, crawling, itching, or pin-like and at its worst the patient can not bear to be touched, especially on the feet. The pain is said to be very intense and sufferers need medical attention.
- Herpes zoster is a viral disease that will result in the appearance of blisters on the skin surface. The pain can range from aching, stabbing to throbbing in the extreme. It is especially so after the resolution leaving the lesion exposed.
- Diabetic neuropathy that comes as a result of leaving diabetes untreated. It will affect all peripheral nerves and the pain at its worst is said to be almost burning or electric. Getting your diabetes treated early on will prevent damage to your nerves and so will eliminate the pain in the skin.
- Sunburn also results in pain of the skin. The intensity will be determined by the extent and time of exposure to the sun. You might want to get a tan, but before you go out in the sun, make certain to wear sun screen and also know that tanning in itself is not really good for your skin.
- Other causes include allergic reactions to chemicals in food, additives, and cosmetics, reaction to the environment such as plants etc, hormones and hereditary tactile sensitivity. Also the skin may become increasingly sensitive if a person spends too much time in a bed like people who have been hospitalized for a long time (bed sores).
Recent research released in the research journal PAIN indicated that pain, originally thought to come from the nerves in the skin, actually comes from the skin itself, especially for chronic pain patients. The skin cells produce beta, an isoform of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide(CGRP), the increased production of the molecule will then trigger the remaining nerves and cause the pain. The molecule is produced normally in the body to aid blood flow and ordinary sensations, so treatment may be difficult.
Should you start to suddenly feel extra sensitivity than usual, you should have yourself checked out by a physician to ensure that nothing is wrong or find out whatever it is early enough. At the worst, damage to the peripheral nerves, brain or worse the spinal cord could be happening and you want to know when they can still do something about it.
International research journal PAIN: Phillip J. Albrecht, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Albany Medical College and Vice President at Integrated Tissue Dynamics, LLC