itchy can't scratchy

Whats the deal with those itches that you can’t really tell where they are? Or sometimes you have to rub your hand to stop an itch on your foot. What the heck is going on?

WAG…I know there is such a thing as referred pain (I once suffered from pains down the back of my right thigh, when the actual problem was in my lumbar region), so maybe there is such a thing as referred itching?

I DO know what you are talking about; I get it and its really annoying!

Sometimes when this happens, you can actually scratch the itch at a different location. For example, it seems that your foot itches but scratching there doesn’t help, so you scratch further up your leg and happen to find a spot that satisfies the itch. It seems to me that it’s a “ghost itch” and you have to find the true area along the nerve pathway, but I don’t have a clue why this would happen.


Here’s another angle, if you need a different way to treat an itch (or if you aren’t confused enough.) Scratching an itch works by temporarily overloading the skin nerve receptors around the itch. Scratching tends to tear up the skin, though, so you end up with a bloody scrape and a risk of infection. Another way to get the same overload is to smack the spot a few times with a flyswatter or, say, a chopstick. Bounce the bristles of a toothbrush on the skin. Don’t use something heavy, or the bruise will outlast the itch.