Itchy, Burning, Stinging Arm with no Rash!
This is for all of you who have gone to the doctors time and time again and come home none the wiser. Perhaps the doctor has just looked at you for the umpteenth time and politely tells you its all in your head! Perhaps that is what you think as well...perhaps you are doubting the reality of your itch and believe that it is all psychosomatic and its just a matter of getting your head together and telling yourself that your itch isn't real! That is until you wake up again scratching an arm that just won't stop itching!
Well...let me tell you it is not in your head. Your condition has a name. If you suffer the following:
- chronic itchy arm with no visible rash
- burning itch
- stinging itch
- scratching does not relieve your itch
- an ice pack helps to relieve the itch and burning...as long as the ice pack burns more than your arm
- You get relief from anti-histamines
- sunlight, heat, cooking, and light touch aggravate the itch....
Then you just may have Brachioradial Pruritis.
I am not qualified to diagnose any illness or skin condition!
I am writing to you from my own experience and sharing with you the relief I felt when I finally did receive a diagnosis...Even though there is no treatment...I felt better knowing that I was not imagining this itch that had bothered me for over six years! I was sane!
When I finally was sent to a specialist Dermatologist, who took one look at my arm and noted the damage to my skin from chronic scratching, and when he listened to my lament about this itch...he just nodded his head and said, "I know what you have".
I couldn't believe my ears. I was overjoyed that there was a diagnosis...so of course I asked him to tell me what it was and how can it be fixed....He just nodded sagely and said, "I'll get to that later, but for now let's do a full skin check".
What! He'll get to that later!! And so he did.
He patiently explained to me that my arm condition was caused by my nerve fibres and possibly compression of nerves in my neck. Then he let me have the bomb-shell news!! There really isn't a cure...but we can help to alleviate the itch somewhat....and then he gave me a print out with the following information...
I hope that you find this article useful if you think that you may have this condition.
The following article is taken from a very informative and reputable Dermatology site DermNet NZ.
If you suspect that you do have Brachioradial Pruritis...then please go and see your doctor armed with this article and ask him or her to at least consider the possibility!!
Over the course of many years I have read many desperate pleas for help on many forums...all asking the same questions! What do I have? I am going insane with the itch, burning, stinging! Why does my doctor say there is nothing wrong? Will I ever get some help?
Well, I hope that this article helps you. I hope that you can rest a little better knowing that there is help but not a cure...that you are not imagining an illness, and I hope that you can find some relief!
I have to add that Brachioradial Pruritis was what led me to begin making natural soaps. All I use now is my Castile soap or Goat Milk soap and I am able to get through a night without itching!!
Let me know if this article has helped you. Leave a comment and help others with the same condition!
Article from DermNet NZ
The affected skin may appear entirely normal. Visible changes may arise from rubbing and scratching the affected area. These include purpura and ecchymoses (bruises), hyperpigmentation (brown marks), hypopigmentation (white marks), lichen simplex (a type of eczema), prurigo and scarring. There may be changed sensation when this is tested for with pinprick, cotton wool or heat and cold. Reduced or absent sweating may be noted in the affected area.
Brachioradial pruritus occasionally expands to involve the lower legs or generalises to other sites.
Cause of brachioradial pruritus Brachioradial pruritus is due to a neuropathy of the small C fibre nerves. As brachioradial pruritus appears to be more often reported in sunny climates than in cooler areas, long term sun exposure may cause damage to the nerve fibres within the skin
In many cases, brachioradial pruritus is clearly due to nerve damage or radiculopathy in the cervical spine (neck), when it may be due to:
- Cervical vertebral osteoarthritis
- Cervical rib
- Cervical spinal tumour
- Nerve compression or myelopathy for any other reason
When compressed nerves atrophy (shrink), C fibres in the skin can proliferate.
A localised neuropathic itch may also expand to involve other dermatomes.
Treatment of brachioradial pruritus Treatment is not always successful. Effective measures include the following:
- Cooling lotions as required (camphor and menthol).
- Cervical spine manipulation. This must be done by an appropriately qualified health professional.
- Electrical cutaneous nerve field stimulation.
- Capsaicin cream – this depletes nerve endings of their chemical transmitters.
- Local anaesthetic creams.
- Amitriptyline or other oral tricyclic taken at night.
- Anticonvulsant agents including gabapentin and pregabalin.
- Topical ketamine and amitriptyline has been reported to provide rapid relief.
- Kwatra SG, Stander S, Bernhard JD, Weisshaar E, Yosipovitch G. Brachioradial pruritus: a trigger for generalization of itch. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 May;68(5):870-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.11.026. Epub 2013 Jan 29. PubMed PMID: 23374230.
- Poterucha TJ, Murphy SL, Davis MD, Sandroni P, Rho RH, Warndahl RA, Weiss WT. Topical amitriptyline-ketamine for the treatment of brachioradial pruritus. JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Feb;149(2):148-50. doi: 10.1001/2013.jamadermatol.646. PubMed PMID: 23426470.
- Flores S, Davis MD, Pittelkow MR, Sandroni P, Weaver AL, Fealey RD. Abnormal sweating patterns associated with itching, burning and tingling of the skin indicate possible underlying small-fibre neuropathy. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Feb;172(2):412-8. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13576. Epub 2015 Jan 18. PubMed PMID: 25597261.