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Itchy Arms
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Itchy Arms

Starting in August, I get extremelly itchy arms.  It is only on my arms, top side.  It is uncontrollable and so extreme I itch until I have broken skin.  It is actually more than just an itch.  It feels deep from within, like a prickly intense feeling inside my skin.  It usually subsides sometime in January or February.  This year I actually started itching end of June/July.  This is going to be a long season if itching for me.  I am miserable.  Ice seems to help, probably numbing it.  I take Neurotin 100mg during the day as needed for itch, which has been a lot lately.  At night I take a Neurotin 300mg.   This has been getting me throught the night most of the time.  I just hate being tired all of the time.  This is my 8th year with this problem.  I have been to dermatologists, neuologists, general practitioners, and allergists.  Nobody seems to be able to help me.  Like I said, Neurotin helps, but I can't function on it and I have had to take a lot of it lately.

Help, please!
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The itch being seasonal and always in the same place suggests that it may be a contact dermatitis, irritant or allergic, to an exposure that only occurs during this time of year.  Carefully catalogue your exposures during this time.  You may be able to come-up with an answer.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh my gosh, you described EXACTLY what I've got going on.  This is the second year I've had this.  It started last August and when it finally stopped months later I thought I was done with it.  Then it started again this past summer in late July!  There are no bumps, spots, rash, etc. - nothing visible on my skin at all, but my arms itch like crazy!!!  Only on the top/front, and I scratch until I'm raw, nothing helps.  Here's what doesn't make sense to me about the contact dermatitis idea:  
The time of year when this starts we have a lot of skin exposed - why does this only affect our arms?  Also, I have tried topical hydrocortisone cream and benedryl spray and neither helped at all, and like you said, it feels like it's actually UNDER the skin.  I even wondered if I was having nerve problems since there is nothing visible on my skin and it's such an intense crawling/prickling feeling inside my arm, up & down the front of it, like following the nerve path.  If we both have this seasonally though, then I don't know about my nerve theory.  Something's causing it.  It keeps me up at night too, I don't sleep well at all.  I'm tossing and turning and scratching all night and even unintentionally disrupting my husband's sleep because of it.  I'm curious about exposure though - where do you live?  I'm in Illinois.
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Avatar_n_tn
I live in Florida and suffer from the same "itchy arms," and have for several years.  No rash, no bumps, no discoloration - just INTENSE itching on tops and sides from the elbow down.  I have never noted whether or not it is seasonal; but it does come and go.  I also have psorasis, but not on my arms.  In the past I have taken ultra violet light treatments for this condition and have always wondered if that did some type of damage to the nerves in my arms.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I live in Pa.. I've had this for at the least, 5 years. I itch on both upper arms.No rash, only heat AFTER I start scratching&scratching&scratching. On a specific day it can come and go but lasts for about 30 minutes until I try something to stop it. This year I noticed it started the end of August. The prior months I had alot of sun exposure and No problems until late August? It seems to come as mysteriously as it goes. Last year when it stopped I didn't take note of what,when,how, or why it stopped. I thought I was done with it. I've tried antihistamine,alcohol.rubbing ivermectin( thinking maybe it's parasites??) on my arms,rubbing alcohol on arms,vaseline,hydrocortisone cream, Dr.prescribed cream,etc...etc...etc... Research suggested maybe it could be nerve related from neck injury( I had  whiplash 6 years ago) I told my chiropractor and spine specialist about radial pruitis and I could tell they thought I was a Nut. They never heard of that. So I am at a total loss as to what this is. I scratch till I bleed. It is a prickly,crawly itch.I wake during the night from it. Tonight I rubbed vaseline all over my arms. Yesterday I took anti inflammatory pills. I don't what it is but there sure are a lot of us suffering from this.
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Avatar_n_tn
I live in NJ and have the EXACT same scenario, it is like I wrote all of these posts myself. I also know a handful of other woman in my town with the exact same problem. None of us can find answers or relief!! Unbelievable that such a strange ailment is so common, on every detail. Anyone have thyroid or stomach issues as well?? i am grabbing at straws. I too did the dermatologist, allergist, chiropractor and tried every cream available. February can't come quickly enough, that is when the itch will mysteriously disappear. Good luck!!
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Avatar_n_tn
i ave been having the same exact problem for about 3 months now tried everything hydrocortsone lanacane goldbond you name it i tried it i even went to the doctor and was presribed predisone cream which did not work i found a prescribtion of bactrobane which was prescribed to my son for a rash on his face and sence using it myself the itching has stopped i put it on about 4 times a day and have not been itching at all no sleep lost hope ths helps you  Anthony D. NJ
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Avatar_n_tn
This is not a histimine response situation, and anti-histimines do no good whatsoever.  I have had this for over 10 years, comes in September and leaves around December.  The only thing that works for me is 50 mg elavil and 600 mg neurontin in the evening.  The rational:  Although both of these drugs were not intended to relieve pain syndromes, this 'side-effect' was found accidentally and both drugs are now being used for this purpose.  The term brachioradial pruritis has been coined in reference to whatever it is that is causing this itching, though nobody seems to know what that might be.  Years ago I was sent from 1 doctor to the next looking for a diagnosis and treatment.  These included the dermatologist, neurologist, internist and gynecologist.  Each ruled out their own territory as being responsible.  However, a neurologist friend of mine suggested that the itching was along the pain spectrum and told me to try elavil and neurontin.  At the time, both were not widely used for pain although now they are being employed frequently for this purpose.  I still have no useful information, no specific treatment, and only a stop-gap medication solution.  I still wake myself up scratching, and then get an ice pack to numb the place on my arms.  This is an incredibly frustrating problem, and the lack of interest from physicians is atocious, in my opinion.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is the first year that I have experienced the symptoms that have been discussed here and nothings that I have tried works to relieve the itching either.  I am a landscaper plus I do all the grounds keeping on our 16-acre hardwood forest property in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of Virginia.  Symptoms began in mid-September and occur only on my right upper arm from wrist to elbow.  This is my dominant arm.  Are any non-outdoor types contracting this problem?  Do men experience this problem?  It appears as though I would be wasting my time running around to doctors looking for a cure.
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I've had it the last few weeks!  I think/hope mine is to a reaction from medication!  I'm really medication sensitive and have experienced hives before (I know this it's not hives).

Good luck to all.......it's miserable.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow! I have the same problem! Starts at the same time ad you guys, maybe when summer stops? You guys described exactly how it is for me. I haven't found a way to stop the itching. I itch until it bleeds, then it's red and puffy. SO EMBARASSING! it is mainly at my elbow. PLEASE HELP!!
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