Notalgia Paresthetica: Say What?
Things are sunny and warm and bright and colorful and pleasant in this overhead shot from a walkabout last week. I need to remember we will still have some color, some warmth and un-blustery days ahead. (This will NOT be one of them.)
The weekend looks good for leaf-peepers on the Parkway, so y’all come on up, enjoy some time and spend some dollars in Floyd.
Meanwhile, I am enjoying what the NIH describes as a rare disease. For real.
I came home from Chattanooga on October 6 with what you’d expect from four days of bus rides, hour upon hour of sitting, and tension. It got much worse a few days later taking minutes at my first board meeting after coming home–like somebody stabbed my left shoulder blade with an ice pick. I think I actually hollered it surprised me so.
And two weeks later, it was the same. But different.
I made the mistake of complaining. I had realized that, while my original symptoms seemed like the all too familiar myofascial pain I have suffered intermittently for decades, the condition had become more of a skin disorder. Very curious.
Stinging, itching, shocky, raw–it was the skin just where you can’t reach, and all on the left below my shoulder blade and toward my spine.
“It’s shingles!” she declared, ” and you’d better get to the dermatologist tomorrow!” and the Queen of Dire Consequences did proceed to lay out the bleak future I was to face if I failed to comply with her warnings.
Shingles didn’t fit my symptoms. While feigning obsequious intentions of obedience, I sought my own diagnosis and found it: notalgia paresthetica.
And that is what it turns out to be. I tell you this because it is not uncommon after all, it is very strange, and you’ll think you’re making it up. Or your spouse or significant other will accuse you of whining about imaginary arthropods under your skin. She’ll say you’ve been watching too many episodes of X-files. Trust me on this one.
Because there may be nothing to see here–just your own private experience of tiny crabs crawling under your skin spreading itch powder and red chili pepper with their tiny terrible cleated track shoes.
The root cause is often trauma to thoracic nerve roots (car wreck, a fall, etc) but in my case was probably just postural overload. This is good news, because the traumatic type can go on indefinitely–years, decades or the rest of your life.
I did see a PA at the dermatologist office yesterday who quickly confirmed my self-diagnosis (told you so! dear.) and sees it not infrequently. She thought it likely that my planned course of action (cervical and thoracic stretches and Â upper torso resisted exercises) will make things better. Eventually.
Meanwhile, my little pets are doing wind sprints and jumping jacks and various other leaping and crawling gymnastics only on the left–this disorder is apparently almost exclusively on the LEFT–go figure.
So just when I thought my life was going to get boring and “normal” again, some other stuff happens. Other stuff always happens. You have, perhaps, seen the bumper sticker?