“A Long Reach”


I finished a lengthy book, Successful Aging by Daniel Leviton recently. Nothing particularly groundbreaking came through for me. He mentioned, as do most people, the need for good nutrition, exercise and social engagement. His discussion of the aging brain intrigued me since he pointed out that many blips in memory are normal and not predictive of dementia. When they occur in younger people, he points out, we think of them as scatter brained, not senile.

He did supply  one bit of information that addressed a problem that I hadn’t even realized was a problem. Occasionally I get an aggravating itch in the middle of my back that I can’t reach. Even when I manage to back up against a doorway to scratch it, the itch continues. I have looked to see if the skin on my back was dryer than usual, but that didn’t seem to be true. But Levitin, as an aside, mentioned that this particular itch not only commonly exists as we age, but that it also has a name. He pointed out that the itch is coming from aging nerves, not the surface of the skin.

I cruised the internet for more about this phenomenon and was amazed to see that it is quite common across the world. Most amusing is the speculation that back scratchers were invented to address the itch. Apparently the itch can drive some people to distraction. I will say that just writing about this has encouraged my back to itch!

So if you are older and have a spot that you just can’t reach to scratch, feel relieved. It is just another sign that you are “successfully aging.”


19 thoughts on ““A Long Reach”

  1. I have had that for a while now. I also have a back-scratcher . It is like the one in the picture, but plastic. It is very effective though. If I am outside the house, I usually use the rough bark of a tree! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  2. I have one of those back scratchers too, but while it provides temporary relief, I find that I seem to have a lot more itches to scratch when I start using it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m another one who’s peered over my shoulder in the bathroom mirror looking for lumps and bumps.
    I’m pleased to read I’m doing something successful and I’ll let you into a secret – an extra long knitting needle comes in handy sometimes 😊


    1. I shared this with a friend at the gym and the dermatologist said that the nerves were causing her thigh to itch, not the skin. So I guess it can affect places other than back.s


  4. This is crazy. I used to see my Dad rub his back against a doorway. Haha. I wonder if it was his skin or the aging nerves. I’m gonna run it by him. I haven’t felt the aging nerves yet but forty is right around the corner. At least I’ll know what’s going on. Haha. Thanks for posting!


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