I am amazed by all this information. It was like a lightbulb exploded in my head. I actually burst into tears of relief that this is a real, potentially fixable problem and sorrow for all of you who also suffer. I have had a particularly bad, itchy month and was woken up at 4 am by the stinging, itching, torturous, multiplying metal spiders. So, I just typed in "itchy arm" and am astonished at how many people have this problem. Why didn't I do this sooner, years ago???? I read thru all the posts and have made some amazing connections and observations that will help me. (Why can I figure this out in 5 minutes when so many "oh, sooooo much smarter than you doctors" can't help????) Thank you all who have posted.
I am 50 and have suffered with this since I was a teenager. I, like many, have taken a hair brush to my arms (with tears of frustration and despair), regardless of the raw, bloody skin and scabs that follow. The pain felt better than the itch you can't stop. Mostly left arm, shoulder to wrist, mostly above and below the elbow, topside. Sometimes it's in my shoulder joint area. Have had days when it's really bad, both arms at once. People just don't get how bad this is. Sadly, it sounds like the medical community is also uneducated. And the fact that most here are women doesn't help. I have been told by various doctors over the years to "see a psychiatrist" for physical complaints (many that my husband also had, but he received help and medicine for a "physical" problem). Makes my blood boil, it does....We really have to be our own best diagnostic detectives. So, here are my conclusions:
1. Benadryl helps. Not always, glad whoever suggested Zyrtec. Am excited to try that.
2. Worse in heat (seasonal), hot showers vs. cold showers, swelling, inflammation on nerves....makes total sense. So does barometric pressure changes. I live in AZ and the monsoons are here. We can have sunny 115 F day, and that afternoon, it changes to a huge rainstorm and 80 F. Also, I am way more active in the summer and at the end of the day...more itchy.
3. Pillow change, side sleeping....yup, makes perfect sense...I have had neck/shoulder problems for years. Old injury, numb/tingly fingers, pain, left side and never made the connection.
4. I have a C4-5, C5-6 bulge. Wow, whoever made that connection is an angel. My hubby has a severe back injury and has these pains (well documented by the medical community) in his legs and feet. Never made the connection.
5. Stress, anxiety...causes muscle tension, often in the weakest part of my body, my neck and shoulders which causes more swelling, pinching, tightness, pain and consequently, itching.
6. Lorazepam....this has worked for me. Duh...it is a central nervous system depressant, sedative, tranquilizer, anti-convulsant which stopped my anxiety and my itching. Never made the connection there either. It makes sense that anti-depressants/anticonvulsants (depending on kind) would work.
7. Gabapentin or Neurontin works on neurotransmitters (specifically mimics GABA like Lorazepam) making them calm and keeping the nerve activity in the brain in balance, for a very simplistic explanation. Okay, want to try that!
8. I have had reproductive/hormonal problems from my 30's on. Had a hysterectomy, kept ovaries. I am on bio-identical HR. Don't know what the connection is, but itching seems to get worse when I'm out of whack.
9. My father and paternal grandmother (and myself) have a spot on the base of our neck that itches terribly, is numb and (from years of itching and rubbing), has a plum-sized, patch of thickened-skin (which just happens to be over the C4-5, 5-6). Hummmmm, could it be hereditary? I am also noticing thickened skin on my forearm, just below my elbow from rubbing and itching.
I am going to try the ice on my neck and a large dose of Motrin right after I post this. Stop the swelling on the nerve, stop the itch, again, makes sense. I am going to print out as much information on BPD as I can, take my x-rays to my chiropractor, book a therapeutic massage (the kind that hurts..lol) or two, buy something to stretch my neck at home and get back to the gym. And if that doesn't work, then I'll find a dermatologist (they seem to diagnose this more than other specialities) and go from there.
I am so grateful for you all who have spent time posting, looking for answers and making connections. I hope you all can find some relief, don't give up searching for what works for you and don't give up hope.
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