It's been a longwinded mystery, this nerve pain effecting my scalp that I would describe as an intrusively restrictive experience. Painful, itchy, burning and/or severe cold sensation, and something very sci-fi in the way that it tends to zap and radiate an uncomfortable electrical charge, made worse in cold weather or in the coming of and during thunderstorms. (As I write this I am literally under blankets keeping warm from the knowing that it feels like -52 degrees outside as Chicago embraces the Polar Vortex).
Over the years it has become more or less a constant sensory issue, and at times excruciating, to the point the result has led me to seek varied methods of pain management and a need to address hair loss, a rather unfortunate, yet common result of this type of 'nerve damage', when the neck, head or scalp is involved.
Truth be told, what we've discovered as a cause leading to this issue is very possibly a combination of factors, (look up Mirena and hair-loss, low and behold it's a thing, and yes I had it promptly removed), and the biggest challenge has been to break down the pieces in order to reach the 'root' of the problem with a hope to see the condition improved. (Punny, isn't it;).
So, what is this nerve damage component? After many visits to doctors and specialists, labs and biopsies were inconclusive, meaning it is not likely dermatological or autoimmune related. And with many cause and symptom overlaps it has proved a tough diagnosis to reach. We knew it was most likely nerve related due to the behavioral markers of the issue. But, how was it tied to autonomic neuropathy? Or, was it?
While we still have questions the truth is unraveling itself from the mess, and with no known cause found in labs or biopsies, an MRI was performed. This revealed a cervical spine that has seen some pretty harsh wear and tear, and certainly could cause Scalp Dysesthesia, finally, a name for the rather unpleasant symptoms I endure.
I can trace back the years to any number of accidents and sports related injuries which involved my neck. Certainly these things have a way of catching up with the body, and can and do cause degeneration and ailments such scalp dysesthesia. But, that wear and tear also just as commonly causes pain, stiffness and the odd headache from time to time. My initial thought was to latch onto this idea, after-all, it would be an easier fix, rather than to accept it as a matter of a central nervous system malfunction. And, if we can put this pain and hair loss down to a cervical spine issue, it truly would be wonderful... see problem + fix problem = pain leaves and hair grows.
Thing is, so far there is no sign of nerve impingement. Without that, could a problem with the neck be the cause of dysesthesia? I do plan to dive into that option, however it's highly unlikely. Unfortunaly, without a physical restriction to a nerve, we then have to look at potential other ways nerves are cued to behave abnormally. This is not to say that a messed up neck doesn't play a role in dysesthesa, as it certainly can add to the discomfort associated, and make the diagnosis that much more difficult to achieve. Reality is, there are other known causes of dysesthesia, and unfortunately for me, I already live with the diagnosis of one such cause.
[Dysesthesia is a combination of the Ancient Greek words "dys" and "aesthesis" and translates to "abnormal" or "sensation."]
Essentially, this is when a person experiences painful, itchy, burning sensations, as mentioned, which is caused by nerve damage and associated mostly with neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), or nerve degenerative diseases, often caused by injury.
Let's look a bit closer at the causes
Dysesthesia is caused by nerve damage, which means their behaviors become unpredictable, causing inappropriate or incorrect signaling. These confused messages go to the brain, which is often unable to understand them. Consequently, the brain simply picks a known sensation or mix of sensations with which to respond. In the case of dysesthesia, impaired nerve firing can cause the brain to stimulate abnormal, uncomfortable sensations, ranging from a mild tingling sensation to sharp, stabbing pains.
Understanding the underlaying cause is important when determining a clearer understanding of treatment and prognosis, basically, whether it is neurologically based such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or other dysautonomia diseases - as is in my case. Or, as a result of a spine injury, as an example, cervical spine which could lead to scalp related dysesthesia.
Getting to know the symptoms
Symptoms vary between individuals, but most cases tend to cause similar symptoms that impact the skin, scalp, face, mouth, torso, arms and legs.
- itching, burning sensation that may resemble a crawling under or on the skin
- restrictive sensation, especially in the trunk or torso, sometimes called an 'MS hug'
- unexplained painful sensation, which often radiates or spreads
- tingling feelings
- feelings of "pins and needles"
- the sensation of being on fire or severe cold
- an uncomfortable, hard to describe sensation or feeling of hitting the funny bone or mild muscle spasms
- aching feeling similar to sore muscles
- the sensation of electric shocks
- sharp, stabbing pain
- pain or irritation, even from minor or no touch
- hair loss if the scalp is affected.
Just where does CBD fit in?
The knowledge about just how CBD effects parts of the body, systems, and specific conditions is growing everyday. Its intrinsic benefits related to MS or other nerve related degenerative diseases is not new.
CBD targets neurons in the nervous system that are responsible for transmitting pain signals through regions of the brain and the spinal column. It reduces chronic pain caused by inflammation, and it also has a calming effect on neuropathic pain – which occurs as a result of certain receptors shutting down.
Many cases of dysesthesia are caused by progressive conditions, meaning they become worse over time, so be mindful of these symptoms and certainly seek the care and advice of a doctor. In the meantime, here's a few topical remedies that can bring you relief and comfort to targeted parts of your body.
A few of 4phive's great products to try!
4phive's Scalp Elixir was actually developed to offer relief from these abnormal nerve sensations at a time before we knew what the cause was. To this day, it seems the only remedy that works at relieving the itch, pain and pulsating and radiating electrical activity. I'm sure like everything else, people will have varied results, however it works within 60 seconds which is truly miraculous for me, considering my level of pain and discomfort is often time debilitating. I highly recommend giving this product a try if you feel you be experiencing any of these uncomfortable symptoms on your scalp.
Another great product to check out is 4phive's Muscle & Joint OptiMSM Cream. It's a wonderful and potent cream intended for the alleviation of pain and discomfort associated with muscles, joints, and nerves. In addition, it does wonders for skin-specific conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and other skin irritations and inflammation.
The bottom line
It's always important to work together with your doctors and care teams, but holistic remedies are out there and some better than others. I encourage you to be the best advocate for yourself and how you care for your body, and one simple way you can do that is by being mindful of products you use.
All 4phive products are specifically formulated with the mindset of holistic quality with results driven potency and the over-all goodness of all-natural ingredients.