Skin painful to touch but nothing visible

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My teenage daughter has an area of skin on her upper back that is painful to touch, even lightly (for example clothes touching it), but the skin there looks completely normal - no sign of redness or a rash. What could cause this? I thought it might be shingles (she had chicken pox when younger), but that usually causes a rash. 

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  • Posted

    I can tell you it’s not psoriasis .. get to a dermatologist After 30 years of going to doctors for this you should always go to a dermatologist affiliated with a teaching hospital to get the best care not some guy who works alone in his own practice
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    • Posted

      I assure you, if it continues I will book her an appointment with a dermatologist- we have private health cover, so no problems there. Also we live near Oxford, so tend to use the Oxford teaching hospitals.
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  • Posted

    Sounds like Allodynia.   Has she had a an injury to the area?    Its a heightened awareness of skin pain in patches. Sometimes this can subside quite naturally,especially if she [and you] can ignore it, but if it continues she may need some help in desensitization. You could try giving her Ibuprofen  twice a day for 3 days.... 

    Has it become sensitive due to a label in her clothes rubbing or scratching?

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    • Posted

      Thanks Marina. She has had it for several days now and we have noticed that it doesn’t hurt in the morning but gets gradually worse over the day so that by the evening she is very uncomfortable and cannot stand to be touched on this small area on her upper back.  She describes it as an itching / burning feleling. The itching makes her want to scratch but it really hurts when touched. There is absolutely nothing visible. The skin looks totally normal. It seems like a nerve thing to me where the nerves are hyperactive and hypersensitive and are registering touch as pain. At night the nerves get a bit of rest and feel better but over the day they are aggravated by movement. I had vulvodynia (vulva pain) and this seems very similar to that, but on the back.
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    • Posted

      oh, yes, she hasn’t had any injury or trauma to that area. However, when it started there appeared to be two tiny puncture wounds on her back in that area, just tiny blood spots but no swelling or redness. Those have gone now.
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  • Posted

    It does sound like a reaction to an insect bite. As you say,the skin has become hypersensitive. You could try getting some Lanacane skin cream from any chemist and trying that for a week. Then stop and see if it has subsided. If not,its best to see your doctor.
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    • Posted

      We got some lanacane yesterday and I applied it but it didn’t seem to make much difference. Also my applying hurt her. I have done some online research and it seems like she has got a mechanical (tactile) Allodynia: 

      Static mechanical allodynia – pain in response when touched

      Dynamic mechanical allodynia – pain in response to stroking lightly

      I think it is the dynamic one because it doesn’t hurt when I touch the area but it hurts when I stroke it, even lightly.

      We have no idea what caused this. She has had no trauma to that area of skin, or repeated rubbing.

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  • Posted

    Hello, did you ever find out what your daughter had? I have had exactly the same symptoms for three days and the doctors say it could be me trying to get shingles but no one is sure. Thanks 
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    • Posted

      The Drs said my daughter had singles and the rash would appear in a few days. It never did. Then they said she had a trapped nerve and gave me ibuprofen gel to rub in. I’ve had trapped nerves and they don’t feel like that. Rubbing or stroking the skin is the exact thing that causes her the pain (touch without horizontal movement is fine). Basically the drs don’t know. They are stumbling in the dark. I know quite a bit about neuroceptive pain (pain due to nerve malfunction rather than injury, disease or infection) due to having vulvodynia. She still has it but has been having acupuncture which is helping. After each a weekly acupuncture session she feels very relaxed and is no longer is pain, but the pain gradually returns over the week. However, the treatments are having a cumulative effect and she was getting better but is now in the midst of mick exams and the hours of sustained, tense hunching plus stress has not helped. We are hoping once the exams are over acupuncture treatment will cure it for good.
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    • Posted

      Hi there any more progress on this? I have the same issue with a patch of skin sensitive to light stroking on the lower part of my leg! 
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    • Posted

      She is having acupuncture which is helping. It is slow progress, as anything nerve related is, but she is gradually getting better.
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    • Posted

      Hello, I have a simular problem with my leg and was wondering does your daughter have anxiety? Because I do and I was thinking that the extra stress anxiety gives me might have been effecting it. Just curious, trying to figure out my problem too.
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    • Posted

      Hi Hannah I went to my GP and he thinks mine is a side effect of repeat shingles further pain the leg ( post herpatic neuralgia)
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    • Posted

      It did seem to get worse when she had her mock exams. But she was also hunching over a desk for long periods during the exams (she is tall), so there are several confounding factors.
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    • Posted

      HI Hannah 

      I’ve been suffering from anxiety and had this sensation in my leg For the last few weeks. Do you suffer from anxiety and isn’t this something you have had? X

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    • Posted

      The leg thing for me lasted one day after me scratching it for weeks. No else has mentioned itching beforehand. It was very painful yesterday to sit but its a lot better today. I do have anxiety though.
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