Brachioradial pruritus is a form of itchiness that distinctively manifests over the brachioradialis muscle that extends from the shoulder up to the forearm, right below the elbow. This condition usually affects middle-aged women who live in warm climates but also affect men of all ages and those around the world. The indications of this condition include burning, tingling and itchiness on the upper part of one or both arms and extends up to the shoulder and upper back.
Scratching the affected skin does not usually alleviate the itchiness and can actually aggravate the symptoms. Many individuals with brachioradial pruritus often notice that the only way to relieve the itchiness is by applying an ice pack which is also useful in coming up with a diagnosis.
What are the causes?
The exact cause of brachioradial pruritus is not quite clear but seems to be linked with chronic exposure to the sun as well as cervical spinal disease. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can result to damage of the nerve fibers in the skin that can make the nerves more susceptible to pain and itchy sensations.
Otherwise, the crushing of the nerves which depart the spinal cord from the cervical region in the neck can trigger the indications of brachioradial pruritus. Among individuals who have cervical spine disease, they are susceptible to develop brachioradial pruritus and extensive exposure to UV radiation is responsible for triggering the symptoms.
Management for brachioradial pruritus
It is important to note that the indications of brachioradial pruritus are hard to manage. Oftentimes, before the right diagnosis can be given, many are provided with various treatment measures to alleviate the itchiness including topical corticosteroids and oral antihistamines where either is likely to be helpful.
Even the application of heat such as using a heating pad can even aggravate the symptoms while applying an ice pack can relieve the itchiness momentarily.
A diagnosis of brachioradial pruritus is usually made by a dermatologist based on the symptoms experienced by the individual, location of the itchiness, lack of response to the usual measures for itchiness and momentary relief provided by an ice pack.
An X-ray of the cervical spine can reveal degenerative disc disease or even osteoarthritis which further suggests a diagnosis of brachioradial pruritus.
There are several therapies that have been utilized for the condition but have mixed success results. It is important to note that capsaicin cream which is applied topically is the widely used treatment but must be used on a regular basis and can lead to irritation of the skin. Some can greatly benefit from cervical spine manipulation while medications taken orally that control nerve pain are also used as well as drugs for seizures.