A very strange question


Not so long ago, I was chatting to my physiotherapist, and asked her something that left her stumped. I’m wondering – am I really that strange?

Sometimes when I scratch one part of my body, I feel an echo of the scratch. I feel it really, really far away from the source. Like just now, I was rubbing my feet together and felt a sensation in my right armpit. Or I could scratch an itch on my thigh, and feel it high up on my abdomen. It happens all the time. If I keep poking at the same place, the ‘echo’ is still there. The next day, the next hour – nope.

It doesn’t feel exactly the same – it’s not as if I feel fingers or toes touching me. But a nerve jumps, twitches, reacts.

This is one of those things that has gone on all my life but only after the conversation with my physio has it come to light that it might be…odd.

Anyone else experience this? If not, any friggin’ clue what is going on?

35 responses »

            • To be honest, I don’t know much about it. Touching, counting, arranging – but there’s some show on TV I caught a few minutes of, and they were calling it OCD but it seemed more like extreme phobia – lady was terrified of dust. Especially toilet-paper dust.

              Got to love English telly.

            • Actually, I believe that phobia and OCD have a link somewhere…at the very least, they are both anxiety disorders I believe. But the basic idea is that OCD manifests in thoughts and false cues that, while intellectually we may know are false, are nonetheless highly anxiety provoking and nearly impossible to ignore. That can mean any number of “ideas” or obsessions. The compulsions come in when there is a certain action or routine or ritual done in an attempt to lessen the anxiety. However, in the long run giving in to those desires usually ends up making the obsessions worse in the long run.

    • I get that too. I have for a long time although I didn’t really notice I was doing it. It’s likely related to OCD as a lot of Anxiety disorders are connected. I get “traditional” OCD meaning I must fix certain things and like them arranged visually “correct”.

      If I brush my fingers across each other on one hand I HAVE to do it to the other, and often this collapses into having to brush all those fingers together. It definitely gets worse as I get stressed. Often starting the whole have to do it on the other side thing.

      That’s part of the reason I believe I could have Asperger’s. It’s one of those things most people don’t know about me. It took my husband 15 years to catch it, now he uses it as a stress judge. LOL Last I checked they believed that OCD (and many of those stress things) are related to or are some how related to Aspergers.

      Funny.. on and on to say Me too!!

    • I’ll get hubby to find that for me to read on the iPad. It’s not a twitch… I just sometimes find a spot that when irritated – not a gentle touch – I feel a twinge elsewhere. I shouldn’t be surprised that my brain is confuzzled.

      • Nervous systems are my metier and they fascinate me. All sorts of sensory inputs can be processed by parts of the brain that you wouldn’t think were connected (the book I linked describes how this lability can be used to let blind people process visual input with their skin for instance). So a few random cross connections are probably commoner than your physio might think. Lots of people probably don’t mention them.

        • I usually don’t get to spend enough time with a heath professional to remember to ask these things.

          I had a…um, brain test. When I was 13 or so? And they said I have ‘sparks’ in my brain. Neurons doing things they don’t normally do. But I barely remember the facts, obviously, and at 13 I would only retain the coolest and/or scary parts. I wish my mom was around to tell me what test it was, and by whom, to see if I could still get a copy of the results.

  1. No you aren’t weird. I sometimes experience that. More often I have an inexplicable pain in one part of my body that I will also feel elsewhere. Like a pain deep in my calf will also shoot through one side of my chest.

  2. I don’t know which place I have to itch, or scratch, but I will feel an “echo” of it, in my stomach somewhere. I don’t know. But I know what you mean!

  3. Not an expert, but here is my thinking, based on my knowledge.

    As far as I understand, at birth the brain does not know of the correlation between a signal from a nerve and where on the body that signal comes from. The brain has to learn where on the body the signal comes from and it builds a map so to give you the correct information.

    Yes I did have these symptoms, but just a few odd times in my life, not on a regular basis. But you know, some people see colors when they hear music. The brain is a complicated machine which sometimes makes mistakes.

    • Yes, that’s the dermatomes! Pretty cool. Now I’m thinking that its odd that MORE people don’t have this happen! I have a close family member with synesthesia, and this person only recently realised that not everyone sees letters and words as colours. I think that’s pretty awesome, like having a superpower.

  4. I have a terrible habit of picking at my face, and I have noticed (and confirmed through repeated actions) that when I squeeze at certain spots on my skin surface, there are twinges in remote parts of my body, like my back. They are very small localized spots both in my face and the connected spots. I can only assume it is some nerve network…

    • Hmm, the face doesn’t correspond to the back, in that link. For me, I think I’ll make an effort to remember what point reacts where, for the future – it might make me feel better and I like an experiment, now that I have a hypothesis to work with!

  5. That would be a question for a really good chiropractor. Good luck finding one with a lot of experience who might have run into it before… but I bet they are out there.

  6. You know…I remember reading this post, and thinking “Hmm…I don’t think so.”

    Then the other day, I was scratching something and realized I have the exact same sensation! I had been scratching my side and felt an echo in my elbow. And I remembered this post!

    I guess it was so normal for me I didn’t even think it was unusual! And I do have synesthesia as well, so maybe that’s a factor.

    Haha interesting!

  7. My husband mentioned that when his neck was tattooed (the back, non of that ghetto front neck tattoo), that he could feel it in his leg. Then when I started paying attention I noticed the same thing, just not as far.

    Now that I have nerve damage I get all kind of weird feelings and pains. I get horrible stabbing pains in my knee and foot when I know it’s my back that’s stress. I can’t even remember all the weird stuff that I’ve felt because of this.

    OH! Speaking of weird and nerve damage. Most of my right foot is pretty numb. Numb enough I try to be aware of it so A. I don’t trip and B. it doesn’t get injured and I don’t know it. This summer something bit me behind the toes, which is the deadest spot. I could feel the itch but not me scratching. It was the craziest thing.

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