Have you ever experienced unexplainable arm itching? Usually, itching occurs because of irritation, a skin condition (like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis), or an allergic reaction. It can also happen after a rigorous workout session because the capillary beds and arteries need to expand to accommodate the increased blood flow. Interestingly, itching, specifically on one arm, can also occur because of brachioradial pruritis, a chronic neurological condition that affects the forearms.
Besides itching, it can also cause burning sensations that can worsen at night. Flare-ups can also occur after prolonged exposure to the sun. While it can disappear after limiting sun exposure and taking medications, it can certainly come back and cause discomfort. Thankfully, there’s a promising (but unexpected) way to eliminate it.
What Causes Brachioradial Pruritis?
Brachioradial pruritis initially presents itself as arm itching without rashes. That’s why very few people confuse it for a skin problem. In truth, it’s a neurological problem that develops when the nerve roots that innervate the forearm get compressed or irritated by the following:
Misaligned spinal bones
Cervical subluxation can cause your spinal bones to shift from their original places. This leaves your nerves like the brachial plexus at risk of getting pinched and irritated.
Bulging discs are a common health complaint among aging individuals. It mostly gets triggered by constant wear and tear, but it can also develop due to smoking, poor posture, and repetitive neck trauma.
When you have herniated discs, especially on the topmost parts of the spine, your nerve roots become susceptible to nerve entrapment. Consequently, this leaves you vulnerable to developing chronic nerve pain or disorders like brachioradial pruritis.
Bone spurs are bone structures that develop because of osteoarthritis. They can impinge on nearby tissues like the spinal cord and nerve endings. These are most common among older adults, but they can also develop in younger individuals who suffer from repeated joint injury.
Metastasized cancer cells
Spinal cord and nerve compression are common health complaints among patients diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, when the cancer cells metastasize in the spinal column, the tumor growth can put undue pressure on neighboring tissues. This can lead to chronic nerve compression and neurological condition like brachioradial pruritis.
Studies note that it can also develop because of excessive sun exposure. The UV rays from the sun appear to damage the C-fibers, a type of nerve fiber that transmits somatic sensory signals from skin sensors to the spinal cord and brainstem.
Brachioradial Pruritis: How it Can Affect You
Unfortunately, when you develop brachioradial pruritis, you have this constant urge to scratch the affected forearm. This can lead to scratches that can potentially get irritated or infected. The secondary skin irritation from this neurological problem can spread to other body parts, such as your shoulders and neck. When this happens, you might suffer from extreme discomfort, especially when you go out during the day. The resulting skin irritation can also impact your self-esteem.
If you have the symptoms and suspect it’s not a common skin disease, we strongly recommend getting a definitive diagnosis. This will help you rule out other similar conditions, including:
Compulsive skin picking
Dermatillomania is a mental health problem linked with OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Doctors help patients cope with compulsive skin picking by prescribing anti-anxiety medications or recommending therapy and psychological counseling.
Dry and irritated skin
There’s a laundry list of things that can cause dry and irritated skin. Some of these include using harsh soaps and eating food products that you are sensitive to. Dry skin also develops during the cold season due to the lack of moisture in the air. If your condition turns out to be simple skin irritation, your dermatologist might recommend using moisturizers or topical creams to reduce inflammation.
Dermatitis artefacta shares plenty of similarities with dermatillomania. According to studies, it usually indicates pre-existing psychological problems like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. As a result, patients diagnosed with this illness need psychological and dermatological assessments to get the help they need.
Relieve Your Brachioradial Pruritis With Upper Cervical Chiropractic
The next time you experience intense and uncontrollable forearm itching, make sure to determine if it has a neurological or dermatological origin. Otherwise, it could lead to severe and irreversible skin problems. We also recommend consulting with a neck chiropractor to determine if your C1 and C2 bones have something to do with your complaint.
As mentioned above, brachioradial pruritis can stem from cervical misalignment, which upper cervical care doctors can resolve. If you hurt your neck from a car accident, recreational activity, or work-related incident, then it might help to have your cervical bones assessed. Unknown to you, your C1 and C2 bones might have tilted at a wrong angle. They might be the reason why your arm itching nerve seems to go away.
Thankfully, with the help of upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, you can address the source of your brachioradial pruritis and experience real and lasting relief. Once your bones ease back to their places, the affected nerves can heal, and you can potentially get rid of your arm itching.
Whether you’re new to upper cervical care or not, we firmly believe you will find it helpful in relieving brachioradial pruritis. So feel free to schedule your appointment with a local upper cervical chiropractic practice today!