Why Am I Itching Inside My Body?

An itch can pop up virtually anywhere on the body — some in more hard-to-reach places than others. If you've ever had an itch that you just can't seem to scratch, maybe that's because it was hiding in the hardest-to-reach place of all: inside the body.

Sure, it may sound a little crazy, but is an internal itch actually possible? Healthline explains that an itch that strikes below the skin's surface most often means that one is experiencing an itchy muscle. An external itch occurs when skin-related nerve endings are activated by an irritant.  After communicating this to the brain, the body is then prompted to react by scratching. However, this isn't the case with itchy muscles. Rather, it's a result of miscommunication between nerves in our muscles and the brain. In essence, our muscle nerves are firing off the wrong message. 

Why this occurs isn't exactly clear. For some people, itchiness on the inside of the body may be temporary, while for others, it may be an ongoing issue.

Various reasons you may be experiencing itchy muscles

One temporary cause of itchy muscles is thought to be running or other types of exercise, according to Healthline. This may be exacerbated if a person doesn't regularly engage in physical activity or if they are exercising outdoors in hot temperatures. Physical activity increases circulation and our muscles receive more oxygen. Although there isn't any scientific evidence to reference, experts believe that when this happens, our blood vessels essentially get a workout too. As they stretch, this may activate the surrounding nerves and prompt itching sensations. 

Certain prescription medications, or even supplements, may alternatively be responsible for your itchy muscles if itching is a known side effect. Those who are pregnant may also experience itching inside of the body as the body progressively expands. However, there are also specific medical conditions that may produce itchy muscles too. This includes fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathic itch. Thought to be caused by nervous system damage, neuropathic itching can also occur in cases of burn injuries, as experts at the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors explained.

Treatment options for itchy muscles

Of course, while we're unable to scratch an internal itch, there are some tactics we can implement externally on our skin that may help relieve the discomfort. For example, try softly applying moisturizer to the area or ice for a numbing effect. The use of over-the-counter capsaicin cream may also be beneficial (per Healthline).

Alternatively, those dealing with burn-related itching may find that wearing pressure garments is helpful, as this will slow blood flow to the area (via Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors). Similarly, taking a cool shower also minimizes blood flow and may help relieve itching sensations. Those experiencing muscle itching due to exercise can try laying on the floor with their legs positioned upwards against a wall to aid in muscle recovery. In more severe cases, medication or anesthesia may be required. For those with neuropathic itch due to burn trauma, surgery or laser treatment may be the best option.