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Intense electric shock sensation across skin


I have had eczema and severely dry skin for many years with intense itch, burning, stinging and prickling but recently I have developed a new symptom of intense electric shock sensation whenever my skin warms up even slightly. I.e. When I drink a warm drink, eat food, sit in part sun, room warms up slightly, sit in car, warm shower etc. It occurs without any physical activity but of course this also warms up the skin setting it off.

So when my skin warms up even slightly (despite being middle of winter and otherwise feeling cold) I get intense sharp shooting electric sensation all over my chest and back. It feels like nerve pain but it is my skin which is extremely dry and inflamed. It is totally different from the prickling sensation when dry skin stretches i.e. when moving etc.

It is so severe I have to rip my shirts off or run a cold shower in the middle of winter! I was struggling with heating due to my skin and eyes drying out but now I can’t even use more passive warmth such as a (warm) hot water bottle, a blanket, drink warm tea or soups to keep warm. The only way to stop the painful sensation is to cool my skin down which in itself is not pleasant as I get a lot of muscle pain and locking up in the cold. The sensation simply doesn’t stop until my skin in cooled down.

It happens atleast once every day and seems to be spreading further. It is unbearable and I haven’t found anything that helps other than cooling down my skin.

Does anyone else experience this or has anyone heard of this symptom before? Any help or suggestion appreciated.


  1. I've had this happen (and still sometimes do) while going through TSW (topical steroid withdrawal), and I know in my case it is definitely a nerve issue. Your skin contains a lot of nerves, and it is where a lot of your pain receptors are as well. So it does sound like something to do with nerves, but I am no professional. I'd definitely suggest asking your doctor if you haven't already.

    Otherwise, I can say skullcap, which is a plant, helped me and still continues to with nerve pain and other nerve issues. So, it might be worth looking into. I hope you get some answers and relief soon! -Nina ( Team Member)

    1. Thanks everyone for the replies.
      Unfortunately mine can’t be related to topical steroid withdrawal as I have not taken any steroid treatments. Was yours triggered by heat/skin warming up? Mine is always triggered by warmth. I’m not really sure what to do from here. I was really hoping it was a temporary issue but it doesn’t seem like it is going to go away. My doctor said it sounds like neuropathic pain due to inflammation and suggested I could try a particular medication, but he thought I probably wouldn’t tolerate it (which I agree is likely to be the case).

  2. Hi ! I've had eczema my whole life, and a few years ago, I was sitting at work, and when I leaned back in my conference room chair, it felt like it set my back on fire and I was getting shocks everywhere! After a few days of this I also started feeling like someone was poking me with a needle randomly on my body and it would make me flinch, and sometimes yell out. Long story short, I found out that I was going through steroidal withdrawal (SWD) and it was horrible! My dermatologist at the time prescribed this foam that I was supposed to put on every 4 or 5 days when using steroidal creams, in order to prevent the effects of withdrawal, and it really worked for me. I don't remember the name of it.... Try asking your doctor about it and read up on it to see if those symptoms match yours at all. I pray for quick relief for you, and reach out if you need support. I'm here.

    1. HI - thanks for sharing your story. This sounds really troubling. It may be something your doctor could look at? I know I personally had similar symptoms to you on the lower part of my back, back in the lockdown and it transpired it was shingles. It was extremely sore to the touch and it felt like the electric shocks you describe. I'm not saying yours is Shingles but it might be something exacerbating your skin so it might be worth getting checked out. The doc put me on a course of some anti-viral pills and it got better within a couple of weeks. I hope you find some relief soon. Let us know how you get on. All the best - Pete ( Team Member)

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