Dysesthesia Causes and Medical Treatment Options

Our central nervous system is amazing. Because of its functionality, we are able to sense and feel things surrounding us. We also feel what our body tries to convey. However, in certain cases, we tend to experience painful, burning or itchy sensation in an abnormal manner, and this condition is medically termed as dysesthesia. The reason for this condition is damaged nerves and majorly it is linked with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

The word dysesthesia comes from Greek origin which means abnormal sensations. The sensation is often presented as pain in specific body parts but it is not pain. It is the abnormal sensations you are going through which is pretty much difficult to understand. These sensations could be described as burning, itching, wetness, electric shock and these are caused by lesions of peripheral or central nervous system. One might experience spontaneous sensations while in some they awaken due to certain stations. The most affected body areas are skin, scalp, mouth and legs.

Paresthesia and hyperalgesia are not similar to dysesthesia however people might get confused between these three. It is because the symptoms shown by these health conditions are quite similar in nature. These two conditions also occur with multiple sclerosis and that is another reason to confuse dysesthesia with these two health ailments. People suffering from paresthesia experience symptoms such as skin crawling or pins and needles sensation while hyperalgesia is a strong response to painful conditions.

What are the symptoms of dysesthesia?

The condition can make you suffer from continuous episodes of pain and discomfort while in some, the frequency of outbreaks is intermittent. The intensity of symptoms depends on how severe the tissue damage is. The symptoms are:

  • Skin crawling
  • Burning sensations
  • Throbbing pain
  • Abnormal sensations which resembles electric shock

People who have developed dysesthesia due to multiple sclerosis experience a phenomenon called MS hug. It can be explained as a sensation being squeezed especially in the chest area. One also experiences tightness in the chest and rib area along with in other body parts like legs, hands or head.

What causes dysesthesia?

This condition develops due to damage occur to the nerve tissues. This damage makes huge changes in the way nerve tissues behave and they behave in a very unpredictable manner. This leads to incorrect or abnormal signalling causing miscommunication. The brain unable to read the signals properly and thus it tends to choose a known pattern of response which often turned into a mixture of sensations. This is why, a person suffering from dysesthesia experiences various sensations, all at once. Your brain, due to receiving these mix or abnormal messages from the nerve tissues, causes you experience uncomfortable sensations. You may suffer from mild tingling sensation to sharp stabbing pain. Every sufferer shows different kind of symptoms depending on the severity of the nerve damage.

The silver lining here is that the nerve tissue is not damaged. In fact, the nerve tissue is healthy and functional but fails to read and send the signals properly to the brain which in turn causes these mix sensations.

Which factors contribute in worsening dysesthesia?

Diabetic neuropathy

Uncontrolled diabetes or abnormally high blood sugar level causes nerve damage which leads to neuropathic pain. This can emerge as dysesthesia where a person suffers from burning pain and it could be deep and sharp.

Shingles or herpes zoster

It is a viral infection where the virus prefers to stay in a dormant state near the brain and spinal cord. In stressful events, especially in those with poor immune system, this virus gets reactivated causing burning sensation, numbness, pain, tingling sensations and abnormal sensations causing a lot of discomfort.

Post-Lyme disease syndrome

Tick-borne bacterial infection, Lyme disease, gives out symptoms like fever, headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, skin rashes, sore muscles, stiff neck and fatigue. Post treatment, certain patients experience dysesthesia with above-mentioned symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis

This condition affects the nervous system and causes the loss of myelin sheath that safeguards the nerve cells. This is termed as demyelination and can leads to abnormal sensations, burning, aching and tingling sensations in the limbs.

What are the treatment options for dysesthesia?

In many cases, treating the underlying cause for dysesthesia onset proves to be beneficial. The condition makes one suffer from depression and anxiety as well. In this case, anti-depressants are prescribed to treat these psychological ailments effectively. Treatment of dysesthesia depends on its types and underlying conditions. Joining a support group helps in boosting self-esteem and confidence.