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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: "Ticklish" / Sensitive Neck

 axlav - Tue May 12, 2009 9:07 am

This may sound rather strange but I have been unable to wear turtle necks or fully button up a shirt for a long time (several years). The sensation of the material touching the base of my neck (the area below the adam's apple) causes feelings of discomfort and awkwardness. I usually end up unbuttoning it, or, if I try to bear with it, I end up up fidgeting with the collar every minute. I usually sleep with a shirt on, and this causes some discomfort. As a result, I end up sleeping on my front (for some reason this is more comfortable then sleeping on my back).When lying down, resting my hands on my chest and even my neck eases the discomfort greatly, as opposed to extending both arms away from the body.

I'm not sure whether this condition is neurological or psychological, or how to classify it at all. I don't have any significant psychiatric history, no phobias of strangulation or otherwise. I have never had a neck injury, or significant head injury. I havent seen a doctor yet, as this condition is kind of embarrassing and difficult to explain. Furthermore, this condition really irritates me, as it limits the choices of clothes I wear. I tend to prefer wearing polo shirts as the V-collar does not come into contact with my neck as much as a tight collar t-shirt.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:28 am

User avatar Hello,
Some folks suffer from hypersensitive skin. Different types of touches send them into a quiver or panic - it is just the way they are.
Certain conditions like reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is characterized by a hypersensitivity of the skin but usually occurs after limb trauma and is limited to the limbs.
I would be curious as to the appearance of the skin and see if there is any rash or color changes.
Empirically you could try a topical cream containing lidocaine (perhaps in a gel or cream medium) to numb the skin and see if clothing is tolerable. This would be a short term solution.
Long term you may need to do some de-sensitization exercises to get the skin acclimated to touch.
Beyond this, a visit to your family physician would be good just to double check the underlying tissue of the chest and neck area to make sure no pathology is going on.
Take care.

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