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I've tried all of the over-the-counter remedies and none seem to work. Even the doctors aren't helpful; some want to prescribe heavy-duty meds and others don't see that anything will change. This leaves the problem but no solution.

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Appreciate the feedback. I hadn't tried lidocaine and no scratchers are in reach; it's just a bedeviling problem. Right now I'm using Eucerin cream at the suggestion of a geriatric doc, but it looks as if we'll have to experiment some more.
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There is a condition called notalgia paresthetica that can cause severe itching on the back generally around the left shoulder blade area although it can vary somewhat. It is due to nerve damage and is difficult to treat. I have it and let me tell you it's no picnic - I use an old metal serving fork to scratch with. The itch is to intense it can make you loose your mind! I saw several dermatologist and the best I ever got was s variety of creams. One particular cream combination, designed to deaden the nerve endings burned so badly it was more painful than the itch - which is saying something! The only thing I've found that gives any relief is lidocaine cream. Google it - I'm sure you can determine if this is the problem by reading about the symptoms and causes.
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Could this be a heat rash? It's been pretty warm up here lately.
Put his clothes through an extra rinse and avoid dryer sheets (fabric softener).
Give Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at bedtime.
Last but not least, check for bedbugs (OH! NO!)
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According to our neurologist, itching is part of the disease, usually nothing is wrong. The doctors prescribe creams, benedryl and a couple other things and if they do not work, it is the progression of the disease on the brain. Take away scratchers because, they will itch so bad, they will break the skin open.
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There could be a number of issues, ranging from something simple like clothing to something more insidious such as pesticides in food.

1. What's the onset of this? Is it consistent with starting or changing a new medication?

2. What kind of clothing does he wear? Naturals such as cotton or synthetics? The latter can cause itching.

3. What kind of detergent do you use for washing? Has it been changed lately? Do you use those fabric softener sheets (I wouldn't consider them under any circumstances because of the chemicals in them).

4. Has his soap been changed recently? Is he bathing regularly and/or do skin cells have a chance to build up? If bathing is an issue, the no rinse products can help. It's not the same as an immersion shower, but it does leave a person feeling clean. I became aware of this initially when my father was hospitalized for several months, and more recently when I was given a no rinse product when I was hospitalized. It worked well and I felt refreshed and clean.

Commercial soaps, including the liquid body washes, can have any number of chemical irritants, especially if they have added chemicals to simulate fragrances.

4. Has his diet changed, even in a small way such as adding a new food item? If so, check out that food and find out if it can cause itching. You can also go to a zero based diet - eliminate all processed foods if you use them and use only fresh foods, gradually adding foods you might have eliminated. If the itching stops but starts again with certain foods, you have your culprit.

5. I used to have a problem with my back, hips and upper legs itching after driving, and only after driving. I put a blanket on the seat; I still itched. Eventually, after a lot of thinking and some research, I traced it to consumption of a high amount of celery, which contains pesticides that can cause itching (as well as breathing difficulties). I cut back on the celery; the itching stopped. If it starts again, I know I'm eating too much celery. I think the reason it activated while driving is that the car is drier, there's no humidifier, and my skin dried out more quickly than in the house.

6. The fact that it's only on his back makes me wonder about contact with chairs, with his clothes as the intermediary fabric. Is your furniture covered with natural or synthetic fabrics? Don't be offended, but is it cleaned (as in deep cleaning) regularly? Does he use any throws, afghans, quilts?

7. I rarely use OTC remedies as I get most of my lotions from a woman who grows her own herbs and makes her own lotions. She's built up quite a nice business from this; her products are incredibly pure. For itching or dry skin, I use a coconut, ginger or chocolate cream. When my back itched, I used a mint based lotion.

You might want to ask a pharmacist which natural remedies might be appropriate; they don't have all the chemical garbage that so many OTC lotions do. But check the ingredients; even one of the so-called natural solutions contained a paraben based compound.
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