Dysesthesia means “abnormal sensation”. It is a chronic pain or uncomfortable sensation stemming from the central nervous system. Usually a painful burning, prickling, or aching feeling, different types of dysesthesia affect different parts of the body, but they all result in skin discomfort without damage to the skin.
What causes dysesthesia?
Dysesthesia results from nerve damage. It happens when damage to the nerves causes their behavior to become unpredictable, which leads to inappropriate or incorrect signaling. These confused messages go to the brain, which is often unable to interpret them. Consequently, the brain chooses to respond to a sensation or combination of sensations that it knows. It is important to know that such sensations are not a sign of damage to the tissues where they are being felt; rather, the damage is in the nerves that communicate with the brain about what is happening in a particular part of your body.
Dysesthesia is commonly associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that causes damage to the central nervous system. According to research, the burning, tingling, or aching pain of dysesthesia affects 12–28% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). It can also occur due to a stroke, carpal tunnel syndrome, and various other neurological disorders.
Types of dysesthesia
Most people with this type of dysesthesia are likely to experience an intensely painful burning sensation under or on the skin of the scalp. This sensation can lead to scratching, which cannot provide relief, and hair loss.
Most people with this type of dysesthesia have sensitive skin that does not respond in the usual way to outside stimuli or touch. In some cases, loose-fitting clothes or a passing breeze may trigger sensations of pain, burning, or irritation.
Someone with this type of dysesthesia will feel as though their bite is uncomfortable without any apparent reason. Occlusal dysesthesia is an uncommon side effect or complication of dental procedures.
Oral dysesthesia involves an unexplained sensation of pain or burning in the mouth or the oral structures, which include the jaw, tongue, and gums. Some doctors call it burning mouth syndrome.
Doctors do not know exactly why this sensation develops. It may be a symptom of many different conditions affecting the mouth or body. Sometimes, burning mouth syndrome can stem from a psychological disorder. Treatment for dysesthesias include anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and antidepressants such as amitriptyline. Both modify how the central nervous system reacts to pain.