What is skin pain?

Skin pain is a common symptom of neuropathic pain, a pins-and-needles (prickling) sensation sometimes referred to as paresthesia, or of different types of burns to the skin. Painful skin is the result of injury to or pressure on a nerve in the skin. Other causes include damage to nerves in the skin from exposure to extreme heat or cold or to toxic compounds.

Neuropathic pain may be caused by peripheral neuropathy, a disorder in which the peripheral nerves that relay signals between the body, the brain, and the spinal cord lose function. Peripheral neuropathy can be due to a number of specific diseases and disorders, including alcoholism, diabetes, HIV infection, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune nerve disorder. Depending on the cause, skin pain may occur in a specific location on the skin or in a number of locations, and may be accompanied by redness, itching or swelling, or by other skin symptoms.

Burns, such as from the sun, heat, radiation and chemicals, are common causes of skin pain. Other injuries, such as bruises, lacerations or abrasions, commonly result in skin pain. Circulation problems that impair blood flow to the skin lead to painful skin.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if a sudden skin pain characterized by pins and needles is accompanied by numbness or weakness on one side of the body; a change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness; or the worst headache of your life as these can be signs of stroke. Also seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your skin pain is the result of a severe burn or is accompanied by spreading redness of the skin or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).

If your skin pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with skin pain?

You may find that skin pain accompanies other symptoms, which can vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the skin may also involve other body systems.... Read more about skin painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes skin pain?

Skin pain is a common symptom of neuropathic pain. It is often manifested as paresthesia, a sensation of prickling or tingling (pins and needles). Skin pain can also arise due to different types of burns to the skin.... Read more about skin paincauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves