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Is there anything I can do about skin sensitivity that doesn't involve painkillers?

Hi There,

I’m sitting here at work and experiencing the most annoying and painful skin sensitivity on the right side of my abdomen. I’ve had it before, but this time it just won’t go away. It’s the annoying burny feeling sensation that hurts even when nothing is touching it. I’m on day three of it (usually it lasts a few hours - but not this time) and I’m stranded at work, with nothing but paracetomol.

Does anyone have any suggestions about things I could do to relieve it a little?

Many thanks x

Hi

Normal painkillers won’t touch it - as you’ve discovered. A quick fix is to confuse your nerve endings by trying cool packs which will relieve it for a while but if the burning comes back then you may need to apply a hot pack which sounds odd but it may remind your nerves what hot really feels like and reset them. It sounds strange but I heard it on these boards and tried it in desperation once and it worked.

However, I had a sensory relapse 4 years ago where my left arm was burning so badly that nothing relieved it. I spent a week trying to sleep with one arm in mid-air (impossible by the way). It felt like I had ants under the skin and I was wearing vest tops in October as I couldn’t bear anything anywhere near it. My MS nurse (the local one) eventually got to me and prescribed amitriptyline which took another week to kick in. By that time I was zombie-like.

I’m still on amitriptyline now because if I try to cut down the itching and burning starts to return mildly and I just start taking them again because I’m not every experiencing that pain again.

If you’ve had this for a few days now, I suggest you ask for a neuropathic painkiller. Many of the ones used for MS (eg amitriptyline) are antidepressants but when prescribed at low doses they are used for neuropathic pain. A useful side effect is that you get a good night’s sleep too :slight_smile:

Tracey xx

Thanks so much Tracey - I’ll give it all a go!

How about trying a TeNS machine. I haven’t done this for the type of problem you have btw but might be worth a go. Cheryl:-)

Thanks Cheryl - definitely going on the to try list :slight_smile:

Completely agree with Tracey - conventional painkillers don’t take the right road to address this kind of problem. Here is a link to what the main part of this site has to say: http://www.mssociety.org.uk/what-is-ms/signs-and-symptoms/pain/treatment-and-management

One suggestion that I would add, and that has helped me, is a cream (prescription only) that is made out of the active ‘hot’ ingredient in chilli peppers (seriously!) Applied to the skin where the trouble is, it somehow seems to puzzle the frazzled nerves and calm things down. I think it is called ‘Axsain’. It is prescribed mainly for post-shingles pain, apparently, (which is similary unimpressed by conventional painkillers) and the GP prescribed it to me when I was having MS stabbing pains during a relapse That pain had had the edge taken off it by carbamazepine, but was still keeping me awake a bit. Worked really well. It is important to make sure that you don’t touch your eyes if you have touched the skin with the cream on (as anyone accustomed to cooking with chillies knows already). Can be a useful option, if you want a (relatively) drug-free approach - or, at least, a useful boost to the drugs.

Good luck.

Alison

Hi,

Thanks Alison for your suggestion about the chili cream. I’ll see if I can get some.

I tried the cold and hot therapies last night and found the cold definitely helped. Once the skin warmed up again the sensation returned and I tried the hot. That did help, but not as effective as the cold.

Still, I’m feeling much better than I did at this time yesterday and although I can feel the sensation returning, I hope it won’t be too bad.