Sometimes being itchy and unable to scratch can be exasperating. Fortunately, a little scratching is enough to make the comecome disappear.
However, as a result of brain tumors, strokes, autoimmune disorders, or even as a side effect of some medications, an itch that is impossible to calm can assail us … no matter how much we scratch ourselves to the point of bleeding .
An extreme case
The most extreme case of chronic itching is probably the case of a patient known to "M," a Massachusetts woman in her early forties who developed an itchy upper forehead after suffering from shingles .
From so much rubbing and scratching the skin in the area of the scalp, the skin was torn. We are talking about only an area of four centimeters in diameter .
As Bill Bryson terrifyingly describes in his book The Human Body :
He rubbed the area furiously while he slept, to the point that one morning when he woke up he discovered that cerebrospinal fluid was running down his face: he had scratched the bone of his skull all the way to the brain. It seems that now, more than a dozen years later, he is able to control himself and can scratch without hurting himself, but the itch has not gone away. The most disconcerting thing is that it has destroyed all the nerve fibers in that patch of skin, and yet the maddening itch persists.