This research by Whydo is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission when you purchase through our links. Learn more
Why do we itch
Ever wondered why our bodies actually itch? Why we feel that scratching would be the best remedy to get rid of the incessant itch that appeared out of nowhere? And why we keep on scratching the same place again and again in spite of knowing that the moment we take our hands off, the itch would start again? Here are some points that may answer your questions.
Brain Triggered Itching
In sharp contrast to the general notion that itching is triggered by a physical sensation, it’s actually your brain that signals your body to scratch in retaliation. The itching sensation in your body actually triggers a neurological response rather than a physical one and stimulates your brain to send back signals to your body to scratch.
Pain Curbs Itching
This may sound funny but an itch is a kind of pain as well. However, our body perceives it to be a pain of lower priority when compared to others. Therefore, when you scratch your body, you inflict pain on it. And the brain gives its priority (and its neural pathways) to handling the pain rather than the itch. This in turn would reduce the sensation of itch to an extent, as the brain would ignore it until it takes care of the pain caused by scratching.
Irritant Triggered Itching
One of the main causes for itching happens to be irritants that work against the chemicals present in your skin to create allergies, which would result in itching. In addition to the most common irritant Histamine, over 15 other chemicals can irritate the skin and trigger the neural receptors to send back physical signals to your body to tackle the irritants by scratching.
Painkillers vs. Itching
Painkillers like analgesics can potentially aggravate itching up to the point that it almost becomes unbearable. This goes along with the previous point where we mentioned that pain curbs itching. Once you pop a painkiller in your mouth, you are cancelling out the pain and literally letting the itch run rampant on your body again. So make sure you take only those medications that control body pain in moderate amounts so that you can keep a check on the itching as well!