Author Topic: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?  (Read 2145 times)

MAlegant

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How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« on: August 02, 2008, 05:07:42 pm »
I put this in another thread and no one has responded so I thought I would try again.  It's itching, yet I can't scratch it because I can't feel it.  How can it itch?  It's driving me crazy.  Has this happened to you? Anyone? ???
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

sgerrard

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2008, 06:08:56 pm »
Well, it is a weird question.  :o

I can't say I have had the pleasure of this particular development. Lucky you! It does pose some interesting questions about how the nervous system works.

It reminds me of an account in The Brain that Changes Itself (a good book), where a man has an itch on his right hand which he can't scratch, owing to the fact that his entire right arm was amputated years earlier. A doctor spent enough time with him to discover that certain parts of the brain that would ordinarily be involved with the right hand were now being used by his face. Lo and behold, if he scratched his cheek in a certain spot, it felt to him like he was scratching his phantom hand!

I haven't found anything definitive on itching and scratching specifically for the face, but it does seem that the nerve pathways used to send itch signals are different from the ones used for feeling. So it would appear to be possible to get an itching sensation, yet not feel the scratching. I'm going out on a limb and guessing that it suggests that the trigeminal nerve is intact, so at least it gives you hope for recovering from the numbness.

Can you put some Benadryl cream on it?

Steve


8 mm left AN June 2007,  CK at Stanford Sept 2007.
Hearing lasted a while, but left side is deaf now.
Right side is weak too. Life is quiet.

MAlegant

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 06:17:50 pm »
Yes, I'm hopeful that the itch means SOMETHING is happening on the right side of my face.  Either that or I should be scratching someplace else that might, or might not need scratching.  The brain is an incredible thing, truly.  That book sounds like an interesting read--I will pick it up this week.  I may never have this much time to read again. 
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

wendysig

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2008, 07:15:54 pm »
Hi Marci,
I've never heard of a phantom itch before either but Steve's theory sounds like a real possibility.  Thanks for your note too.  I am feeling really well except for occasional head, neck  and backaches and of course, the inevitable fatigue.  I've never been this tired this long before.  Hope the Benedryl helps.

Wendy
1.3 cm at time of diagnosis -  April 9, 2008
2 cm at time of surgery
SSD right side translabyrinthine July 25, 2008
Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Extremely grateful for the wonderful Dr. Choe & Dr. Chen
BAHA surgery 1/5/09
Doing great!

Patti

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2008, 07:36:41 pm »
Marci-I am sorry to sat that it has been almost 8 years and I still get phantom itches and odd sensations on my numb face and scalp.  I never got a clear answer as to why other than cutting through nerves can do anything to those areas.  It often inteferes with sleep.  I hope yours gets better.  Patti
4 cm AN removed 12/2000
subsequent brain swelling
removal of part of cerebellum to make room for swelling brain
face, scalp,tongue numbness and partial paralysis
no corneal sensation and no tears-frequent eye issues
cognitive issues
Beth Israel North,NY

robynabc

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2008, 01:06:19 am »
My son Eric has itches on his throat and he has numbness there too.  Of course that is not on skin.  So it is a little different.  Yes it seems wierd.   We keep hoping the itching means it is healing.  I believe that could very well be the case. 
18 yr Son 4.5+ CM AN  surgery 6-27-07 at CU in Denver.Drs Lillihei and Jenkins. Complete removal on facial nerve with no paralysis at all. Paralized vocal cord that is causing swallowing & voice issues.  SSD. Went to a movie theater 11 days after surgery. Great Doctors!! That is most important.

Pembo

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2008, 07:24:12 am »
It is very weird what you can "feel" when you have no feeling. I too have had the phantom itches....
Surgery June 3, 2004, University Hospitals Cleveland, BAHA received in 2005, Facial Therapy at UPMC 2006

cindyj

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2008, 08:27:25 am »
Hey Marci,

I haven't had my AN treated yet, so no facial numbness to relate to, but I did have a masectomy and reconstruction six years ago. There is no feeling on that left side, yet I do still have an "itch" quite often and it really is the weirdest thing...

Hope you're continuing to recover nicely - you have really done so well!

Cindy
rt side 1.5 cm - Translab on 11/07/08 Dr. Friedman & Dr. Schwartz of House Ear Institute,
feeling great!

"Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing well those you do hold."  Josh Billings

amymeri

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2008, 02:07:17 pm »
I have those itches on the side of my nose.  They are maddening!  I can feel the freakin' itch but not the scratch that would relieve it!

I am 2 years out...still have them about once a week.

Amy
Amy

4 cm right AN removed restrosigmoid 4/13/06
Partial facial paralysis, SSD and trigeminal numbness for now

MAlegant

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2008, 02:35:47 pm »
Well, even if we don't understand why, we know we're not alone!  Thank you to my fellow phantom-itchers. :P
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

MAlegant

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2008, 02:37:22 pm »
Hey Amy,
Tell me about your trigeminal numbness....
Marci
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

lori67

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2008, 02:53:43 pm »
Any of you ladies ever had an epidural for childbirth?  To me it was the same sensation - I can remember my leg itching but not being able to feel myself scratching it.  I get that same feeling in my head.  I feel like I could scratch for an hour and it still wouldn't feel any better!

It is enough to make you crazy!!

Lori
Right 3cm AN diagnosed 1/2007.  Translab resection 2/20/07 by Dr. David Kaylie and Dr. Karl Hampf at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.  R side deafness, facial nerve paralysis.  Tarsorraphy and tear duct cauterization 5/2007.  BAHA implant 11/8/07. 7-12 nerve jump 9/26/08.

MAlegant

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2008, 04:33:51 pm »
Like we need anymore to make us crazy... ;D
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

carlita

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2008, 01:52:32 pm »
Mine itches all the time, it sucks because i cant feel it either. When i was in the hospital i scratched so bad that i enbded up hurting myself and star bleeding from the wound i made. Sometime i even feel like lil shocks there, u know like electricity on my face, it is very weird...
Carlita :)

MAlegant

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Re: How can my face itch if I can't feel it?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2008, 02:42:43 pm »
Carlita,
That sounds like trigeminal neuralgia or if you have no feeling there, I think it's called something else.  Ask the doc....Those stabbing pains were the only symptom that I had prior to having my TN removed.  I seriously hope they don't come back--they were unbelievably painful.  They do have drugs to treat it.  I'm sorry if you get those pains, I know what that feels like.
Best wishes,
Marci
3cmx4cm trigeminal neuroma, involved all the facial nerves, dx July 8, 2008, tx July 22, 2008, home on July 24, 2008. Amazing care at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

 


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