Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Have you ever heard of sore hair?

Q. I'm 88. For some time, I've been plagued by "sore hair." My scalp isn't sore — only the tip ends of my hair. My dermatologist says it's a medical problem. My family doctor hasn't a clue. Have you ever heard of this?

A. I don't think the pain could actually be coming from the tips of your hair. Hair is dead protein, not living tissue, so it doesn't have nerve endings.

Although you say your scalp isn't sore, I wonder if you might have a case of scalp dysesthesia (pronounced dis-es-THEE-zee-a). It can be hard to tell where a sensation is coming from exactly, so your scalp may be involved, even if it seems otherwise. Dysesthesia is a sensation — often unpleasant, sometimes painful — caused by an ordinary stimulus or even no stimulus at all.

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