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intense itchy arms syndrome

Hi, I have a problem with itchy arms. I am 43 years old women and have found many postings from women of this age experiencing this problem. This started for me about 5 years ago, on both arms a small area about the size of a silver dollar on the top of my arm right at the bend of the elbow would start to itch. I grew up in So. Florida and spend my youth baking in the sun then moved to the mountains of Colorado 14 years ago. I thought it must be damaged skin from the intense sun exposure over the years took to wearing long sleeves as much as possible when in the sun. I am convinced now that the sun does not cause it. Back then I could control the itch with Cortisone creams and I kept some next to my bed. During the past year it has spread to my entire arm. It is driving me nuts. An “outbreak” is preceded by a tingling sensation. If I scratch my skin gets blotchy red and the surface becomes raised. I have not been able to id anything coming out of the affected skin but will watch for that now that I have read some about ringworms. The itch is totally confined to my arms, not shoulders just arms. It is unbearable. I have often itched until bleeding. I get scabs and now have scars on my arms. I have on occasion had some mild itching on the bottom of my foot, I don’t know if that his related. The cortisone creams have lost their effectiveness pretty much. Benadryl cream seems to help some. I found that oral over the counter antihistamines work; I now resort to this about once a week. Also, if I rub creams on it right at onset I can sometimes reverse the direction of the itch cycle, which gets worse if I scratch it. I rub the cream on and hope for the best and if it continues I take a Benadryl so I can sleep. The itching, when it was confined to those little spots on my arms would onset in the fall and last a few months. Since about a year ago it is year round. I don't think it is heat or sun. I have made few changes to my lifestyle; still drinking coffee, not drinking enough water, not getting enough exercise (enough to really sweat). A Naturopath suggested that it might be a liver problem and I need to detox better – ie more water and exercise that makes me sweat. She said she has seen other tile setters with rashes on their entire body from grout toxins! But I wear a respiration and cover my arms when I use grout. I can see that a liver detox would be a good idea in general and plan to do one once my knee heals from arthroscopic knee surgery and I am off ibuprofen and vicodin. I had a bad bout of itchy arms last night before bed. This prompted my Google search. I am amazed how many women in this age bracket have this problem; At least I am not alone in my suffering. Most do not find relief from the usual recommendations like “don’t itch” as if that is an option, prescription creams etc. Any suggestions appreciated!
  skiandclimb on 2007-11-28
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
please try (Sulphur-30c) 2pills twise a day for 1 week then stop any change please cantact me back,Ok

Good luck
faisal qureshi last decade
Thanks for the suggestion. Should I wait until I am off the vicodine and ibuprofin?
skiandclimb last decade
although this isn't homeopathic I wanted to share this with you.

I'm 39 and have recently started getting insane itching on the fronts of my shins. I practically scratch til they bleed, then I get these red bumps- shaving seemed to make it worse so I stopped shaving.

Anyhow, I am almost 100% positive it's food related.... wheat, possibly dairy???? Due to my childrens sensitivities we don't eat either of these about 95% of the time, but sometimes we do eat out or at someone elses house and these ingredients are hidden.

My children get severe red rash under their bottom lip too but only once in awhile- we have it narrowed down to 3 or 4 foods ;-) because my children are homeschooled and 95% of our diet is nonprocessed it is easy to see when these things occur, otherwise we would need to keep a better journal ;-)

I do know also that we ALL get really itchy after a bath or shower. we don't use soap and rarely wash our hair (it's really better not to ;-)) however there is concern that we have pesticides from nearby farms in our well!!! I have a sister in the city that has chlorinated/flouridated water and skin itches and burns-they have had to install a shower filter!

So the point to this long story is the mess my legs were in. I tried ozonated olive oil, tea tree oil, plantain oil - all with partial results but no relief of the out of control itching and bumps. Then I read about witch hazel for itching- so I happen to have some double distilled witch hazel (you can try regular stuff from the drugstore) and using it 3or 4 times a day on cotton balls-left my pant legs up so it could dry, I was cleared up in under a week-even the sores that were the size of thumbtacks!!! It TOTALLY takes away the itch...sometimes I have to repeat it a couple times, but any relief was worth it. My legs are all healed up now and I went weeks without any problems...but I ate fast food the other day (which I NEVER do) and they are itchy like crazy right as I type so I'm off to get the witch hazel!!!

sorry this is so long,but i figured it might be worth trying a $2 bottle,you just never know LOL


wendypape last decade
Thank you Wendy for your reply! I will get a bottle asap. I have a small spray bottle I can spray it on even. I have gotten a bit of relief from apple cider vinegar but just a bit. The Natrupath suggested that as a way to change the ph of the skin, perhaps white hazel works the same way. I just got back from accupunture. She treated the knee for swelling and an usual red blothy skin (looks like an allergic reaction to something used in surgery) but she treated me for itch skin too, and liver health. Suggested elimination diet after a liver cleanase. She suggested Dr.Schultz Herbs.

I am seeing that a lot of people have this conditon like me just on the arms. But does that really matter. I envy your healthy lifestyle! I am married, not kids, am a full time artist and am exposed to chemicals and other toxins. My chinesse Dx thinks a good place to start is cleansing and balancing liver chi. My arms where itchy when I got to the appointment and have not itched since. Hopefully a good sign!

Thanks again!
skiandclimb last decade
If (Sulphur-30c) fails, try Mezerium 30 once a day for a week. Actually Mezerium follows very well after Sulphur. Both are sister remedies.
girilal last decade
I had an Atlasprofilax treatment four months ago and haven't had itchy arms at all since. I used to get then regularly every couple of weeks and they'd last for a few days to a couple of weeks. I'm wondering if there was a pinched nerve causing the itches and now that the atlas is aligned - no more pinched nerve. Plenty of info on the net about this treatment. It's also fixed numerous other problems for both my husband and myself as well as friends and family members.
dillonlin last decade
I've had itchy arms for several years in the winter, but last year (2009) nothing worked to ease it. I tried prescription steroid creams, moisturizing lotions of all kinds, etc. I could barely work or sleep from December to May. Ice packs and aloe with lidocaine helped some, but had to be constantly reapplied. The dermatologist was little help.. Anyway, when I started to itch this past fall, I happened upon a suggestion in a blog for witch hazel. It is an astringent, so seems counter-intuitive, but since it only costs around $2, I thought I might as well try it. To my amazement, it works. If I start feeling that prickly sensation, I dab it on my arms with a cotton ball once or twice a day, as needed. It leaves no residue and doesn't seem to dry out my skin. I can hardly believe it myself, but I can function normally, and don't even think about my arms. What a relief! When I researched it further I learned it is sometimes recommended for chicken pox and even the itch and skin pain of ALS patients. I can't explain why it works, I just know it does for me. Sometimes the simpliest remedies are the best.
COwo34 last decade
hi everyone,
i have been on these message boards since the mid 1990's and am so grateful for all of the info i have received. So, i really want to share some GREAT SUCCESS i've recently had in treating my my itchy arms, which i very much believe is Brachioradial Pruritis (an impingement of the nerves of the cervical spine). I went to acupuncture and told my acupuncturist about BP beforehand so she could look into it and figure out how to treat it, if she could. i am thrilled to report that after only TWO treatments my itching is about 90 % better!! The trick is to go pretty frequently in the beginning (a few times a week) i have my 4th treatment today and my first was last saturday and i have not had to use an ice pack in a week!! I had previously tried everything and, like all of you, only found relief in ice packs. I had been to a neurologist but he wasn't very helpful, i think you need to find one who knows about BP. anyway, i figured i may as well give my acupuncturist a shot and it has been amazing. If you do go try it here's what she's done: Electro acupuncture in my neck(which is kind of like a vibration on the needles which helps to redirect the itch sensation in the nerves. it also loosens up the muscles to help them release whatever is happening that's causing the nerves to go haywire and itch), she has also done needles on the itch points on my arms and she has also done 'cupping' which pulls the muscles away from the nerves to help release the constriction causing the itch.
i cannot tell you how amazing i feel...like i have my life back!!
please please please try acupuncture!! i know it is pricey but it is totally worth it!!
alseed last decade
I have suffered from this for several years now and find that it worsens in the hottest months of the year. I have tried numerous remedies including medication for scabies (:() which needless to say did not help either. What I have found does help is Comfrey Cream from a Health Shop - its cheap, non greasy, un-scented and easy to always carry around in one's bag.
Dumblabrat last decade
i have struggled with your exact symptoms for years and it is maddening!! the best luck i have had is with acupuncture. explain your symptoms in detail to a good acupuncturist and he/she should be able to help. it's not cheap and in the beginning i had to go a couple of times a week because it was so bad but i swear it's the only thing that has given me any lasting results!
i also saw a neurologist and he prescribed me some cream with litocane in it which numbed the area. this does work for a little bit but over time i think your body develops a tolerance to it and it loses it's efficacy.
good luck and please let me know how it goes. i feel for you!
also, my acupuncturist gave me some stuff to spray on my arms that numbed it for a while as well.
hope this helps!!
alseed last decade
Allison, thank you so much for taking the trouble to respond - I really appreciate your input.
I am actually a great believer in acupuncture and yet never even gave it a thought in this regard.
I will definitely give it a try as the idea of actually get a full night's sleep and not waking up to blood-spots on my sheets would be marvellous.
Many thanks and regards for the Fairest Cape
Dumblabrat last decade
I HAD it for years. It is now gone. I discovered that I am allergic to milk, and that is what caused it. How did I discover this? I used to drink milk alot. A gallon lasted me 2 days. I stopped drinking for a month, because we were living with someone who swore that OUR milk was hers, but that is another story. The itches stopped, and the sores that I had scratched open healed. I started drinking milk again, after we moved out, and they came back. I then noticed the coincidence, and stopped drinking milk all together. This was January when I noticed the connection and stopped drinking milk the second time. Now, not one new sore, itch, or anything. My arms are clear. Give it a shot!
PVBBB last decade
I am ever so grateful to the person who posted about the Sulphur tablets. I started using them and within a few days the itchiness had virtually disappeared. I now take 3 tablets in the morning as a precaution and am delighted to say that the itchy arm issue seems to finally have been resolved. I also tried using witchhazel but did not find it of any use.
Dumblabrat last decade
Hi-the prescription was to take them
for a week and see if they work.

They did work on you, so In homeopathy
you do not take something for a
'precaution' you take it when you go
backwards and have a relapse.

That is bc medicine has a long lasting
effect and is working on you. So you
leave it be. Otherwise if you keep taking
it when you have no problem??
It can start up the problem.

So do not take unless itch comes back.
Then stop when you have relief.
Homeopathy is not like other medicine
simone717 last decade
I have been struggling with severe itchy arm syndrome for 2 years. It flares up in spring/summer, and I get very little sleep leaving me tired, angry and frustrated. I just started seeing a holostic chiropractor who suggested increasing my fish oil capsules 1,000 mg to 3 daily. Pure magic!! To see if I really needed 3,I cut back to 2 and was itching like crazy again.
Lor1014 last decade
I'd like to add this link to the discussion. This article was the most informative I've found, and actually adresses the diagnosis I was given by a dermatologist following a work up that included biopsy.
I'm not allowed to paste the URL, but serach 'medscape
brachoradial pruritis'
[message edited by Lor1014 on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:22:31 BST]
Lor1014 last decade
Hi Skiandclimb
I am delighted to say that since I used the Sulphur tablets in May my itching has stopped and all the little bumps are slowly but surely disappearing. Definitely worth a try!
Good luck and hope it works for you.
Dumblabrat last decade
Stawberries! I've found it to be an allergic reaction to berries, blueberries and strawberries. Hence the seasonal aspect as well. Even working in the patch - the pollen I suppose.
jhurst90 last decade
I have been dealing with this issue off and on for 5 years. My GP gave me a prednisone pack for it once a year and massive doses of claritine. Claritin seemed to work, but has now become inaffective, I have had a very bad bout of it this year, finally broke Down to see a dr last week, saw a new GP my old one has left the practice, I was very dismayed, he told me it was psychological and gave me a prescription for anti depressants. I don't feel depressed! I started taking them for 2 nites, they made me irritable, have not taken them since and refuse to take antidepressants when I don't feel depressed! Thanks to the postings above, I ordered the sulphur and started to take today, fingers crossed! Hopefully they work, if not going to try acupuncture next! I had a bulging disc high up in spine 2 years ago, which was cleared with lots of physio, so who knows maybe that kicked this off in someway, it is no longer just a summer condition is now with me year around. This illness is very maddening! The only relief I get is ice packs and am up 2/3 times a night applying them, I live in Glendale AZ it is really hot here and the issue always gets worse this time of year... Also on the lookout for a more understanding GP! Thank you to this forum, makes me at least feel better that I ambit the only person out there with these symptoms!
Minikiwi last decade
I’ve had the same syndrome, itchy forearms, even wakening at night. It stopped when I stopped eating processed food. I used to eat dunkin breakfast 3-4 times a week. When I stopped it the itching stopped in two weeks. Hope this info helps.
I was just reading more of the notes here and PVBBBs note was that milk caused it so try to stop eating/drinking different things that you eat or drink much of. It might be an allergy in your case as well
[message edited by Gigaman on Tue, 13 Aug 2013 18:33:51 BST]
Gigaman last decade
I have suffered with this for 20 years, I have been prescribed creams and antihistamines and nothing last or works for long except ice. It got so bad again the I decided to find new doctors. I thought I had an autoimmune disease and was tested and my RA factor was very high yet my rheumotologist says since my ana is negative she disagrees and won't treat me for a high RA unless I insist on more testing. A new dermatologist just did 2 punch biopsies and I am waiting for the results on a second opinion on those from a specialist but she thinks it is brachioradial pruritis and I am getting an MRI on my neck and spine on Monday. I know it gets worse when I am tense and the evenings are worse too. I had the same idea last year but didn't realize there was a test for that. I also have to go for some nerve function tests next week.
I would not be surprised if it is the neck issue as mine is very stiff and inflexible and I do have 2 old herniated disk injuries in my back from a previous injury.
I sympathize with all of you as sometimes I just want to cut my arms off it is so frustrating.
20yearsnandcountin last decade

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