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UPPER ARM ITCH-I'M NOT CRAZY EITHER
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UPPER ARM ITCH-I'M NOT CRAZY EITHER

I just read "upper arm itch" from some lady that posted a few years back and was so relieved that someone else described to the letter what has been happening to me. But I was disappointed in your response that she was just obsessing about her body and basically needed to get a life. I am happily married with 2 sons, a great career, home, friends and social life. I do have stress in my sales job, but have had that since I was 18. (I'm now 31)I don't have time to obsess about something that would trigger me to have the miserable itching spells I'm having.Upper arm tingling, piercing sensations that scratching doesn't help..I've resorted to actually slapping my arms and have recently found an athletic spray for back pain actually numbs the surface of my skin. Went to ER last night because it was so bad, was prescribed "neurontin" , seems to take the edge off but is it just covering up a bigger problem? Should I see a dermatoligist first, then neurologist? ER physician gave me list of tests to get done: ESR,CBC & C-Reactive Protein???Indication:Idiopathic Pruritus. He said it's an extremely long process to get to the bottom of itching problems. Been seeing a chiropractor 3x week for back pain I've had on and off for 7 years;been getting adjusted and treated with muscle stem therapy..back's never been better and i've never gone this long w/out back going out..chiropractor is an RN and says maybe from getting corrective adjusting therapy for back is stimulating nerves???Had complete preventive physical bloodwork done..all ok with kidneys, liver, thyroid, etc.Had itching really bad at ankles, but not anything compared to itching on upper arms & shoulders. Made tracks on arms from scratching, afraid of it happening in public, because I cannot resist the urge to scratch...i should say rather, that it isn't an urge that I can control...just like i told my husband when he told me to stop scratching..this isn't up to me..it's an involuntary reaction that wakes me up in the middle of sleep or while driving or just working...trust me..i don't want to scratch, but i have to...driving me crazy..don't have time for several doctor's visits, any help appreciated!
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I see a lot of itchy patients, but your description seems to have a different quality, not to mention a greater intensity, than the usual.  Itch does not usually prompt an emergency room visit.  Still, your symptoms do not remind me of any particular disease, serious or otherwise.

I think you should see both a dermatologist and a neurologist, in that order.  For the skin doctor to see what needs to be seen, you'll need to avoid covering the area with scratch marks.  Try using Sarna or pramoxine, two over-the-counter anti-itch preparations, as often as needed to suppresss the urge.

I understand you're busy, but these symptoms are interfering with life and functioning, and you need to clarify and treat them if possible.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
23 Comments
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I'm curious, doues a rash accompany this itch?
recently i have had a sever itching on the underside of my forearms, where there is no hair and the skin is soft and sensetive. it seems ta develope a rash after a few hours, but i am not sure if that is just from scratching. it looks like tiny little welts usually at the pores and follicles. the condition fades away after 3 days or so if i can resist the urge to scratch. the sensation is very similar to poison ivy, a warm burning itch that makes you grit your teeth. i have had it twice in the past 3 months, and those are the only occurances i have ever experienced.
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no rash...my thing is internal....the only rash that i get is from scratching it too much....good luck to you!
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Reading of others dilemma sure is helping. I thought I was alone with this problem. I have suffered with the "upper arm itch" for past 13 years. Doctors, both GP and derm do not know the cause or have diagnosed one. The derm I saw several years ago prescribed "Tiamol" a 1/2 % menthol compound. This helps, if applied daily, however does not cure. For years the only relief was to freeze my arms with ice or snow. As well, this itching only occurs on the arms (upper side) from the wrist to shoulders and along both side of my neck/top part of front shoulder area.

The area never develops into a rash, but produces an awful amount of heat (blood flow?) and after a few days a very small pimple-like (inflammation/white blood cells?) appears.

To my knowledge no other family member has this and I've ruled out environmental(work place) toxins. Sun does not affect as winter months, when covered up, occurences are as often.

Stress? No more than at at time when I did not have this. The only changes I've made are to quit smoking, alcohol consumption (nary a drop) and started a physical exercise program 13 years ago.

I wish you relief because I know what it is like and pray you can tolerate this awful nuisance until a cure is found. Good luck.
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i know the torture of upper arm itch....i have found something that works for me...an over the counter pain rub called capsacin..it is a muscle rub that produces a burning sensation on the skin...the relief is not immediate...within hours you should have measurable relief...i use the the highest power HP rub...you may have good results with the regular formula...beware when you shower...hot water can feel like scalding water ...even 24 hours later...dont rub it on skin that you have torn up with itching..
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To everyone who has this problem....just got results from bloodwork test done monday...(hs-CRP)...I don't know if the things that showed up in my blood are the reason for my itching, but i'm so glad i took the tests..i'm only 31 and now know that my risk of stroke or heart attack is 2x greater than normal...the test shows higher than normal levels of the protein secreted by the liver associated with heart disease....anyway...going to internal medicine guy 2morrow and dermatologist....will keep you posted!
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I have long been the "victim" of insane itching.  It comes and goes periodically.  I also get the itching on my back.  When I scratch I get welts from it.  Sometimes the barest touch will make me itch and get welts.  My doctor says it is a histamine reaction.  The pressure of my clothes ie: the sleeve of my shirt or my bra causes my body to release histamines to that area.  This causes me to itch.  There is a medicine that he gives me that inhibits the histamine release and keeps me from going nuts itching.  I have to take it for weeks at a time occasionally to keep the itch at bay.
  
   Jen
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Avatar_n_tn
"Itch does not usually prompt an emergency room visit".....well, Doctor, this kind of itching certainly does!
Same problem, same symptoms, and I've tried everything listed on this site, every over the counter product, home remedies, presciption steroid creams and lotions and I've had biopsies (no results). I've been to a family doctor, an internist, and a dermatologist and no one has any idea what is causing this. My dermatologist said he had never seen or heard of this kind of problem so I printed 15 pages from this forum and took them to him, just to show him.......SEE I'M NOT CRAZY! My severe, uncontrollable itching is only on my left arm, only on the top side about 6" above and below my elbow area. The open sores and rash only come from or after the excessive scratching. I've only had this for 2 years now, summer and stress do make it worse, and it's unbareable at night causing lack of sleep. Benadryl no longer works. Last year, the itching was only about 3" above and below my elbow. My symptoms seem to progressively get worse. Have your symptoms spread to a larger area of your body (In this forum, see: Severe itching from head to toe)? Someone in that forum suggested "gasoline" to control the itching. Sometimes at night my itching is so severe I've wondered if they meant to light it after applying it....

Please pass on any information you can. I WANT ANSWERS TOO!!! The medical profession seems to be baffled.

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SherryG

I read with much interest your most recent
comment re: high levels liver/protein. Very
interesting. I've always believed my itching
problem is "internal" so to speak.

As well,I did have a heart attack last summer
and it sure surprised many, considering my diet
and exercise regime, especially me.

This news as either associated with the "itch"
or higher risk of heart problems is much welcomed
Please keep posted.

Thanks a bunch
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Check out my post on 10-17-02 BLONG1717.
OK. Now after all of the craziness I have been through in the past three months. IT STOPPED ITCHING. WHY? WHY? WHY? I have no idea. I did itch a little last night at a restaurant with my wife and two friends and rubbed a little ice in the 3 inch spot on my left forearm and I was OK. It has been 24 hours and no itch.It always ends the same way, it ends as sudden as it started.
Is it a culmination of sun exposure and then at the end of summer really comes to a head? I have been applying capsacin HP .075% and then Hawaiian Tropic #45 sunscreen and wearing long sleeve shirts. I did apply Fluocinonide Cream USP .05% (recommended by another person) and wiped it off after 20 minutes because I had to hold my 6-month old baby. I did not use this again but do you think it stopped because of this one 20 minute application?
I also took about 5 Neurontin 300mg capsules over a 7-day period. Who knows what helped if anything.
So now it has pretty much stopped. Lidoderm patch helped a lot!! Ice pack helps the most. Sarna anti itching lotion helps if the itching is not too severe.
My father had this problem also but he said he gave it to me when I took over the family business. HA! He still has a little bit of itch but it is on his neck. He hits it with a rub on stick of Benadryl and that does the trick. My itch gets pissed off when I put something on that is that weak.
My itching is living hell. Same as all of the others, but no rash. This is some sort of neurological problem and when it flares up that will be my next stop, a Neurologist.
I hope we find a reason and a fix. Exhausted in Houston. Brian
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I would say that it is the cause for your itching.  This is based on the things that I have heard before.  Sometimes itching can be a symptom of something that is greater.  This is only my opinion and what I've heard.  How is your white blood cell count?  have you ever had any neurological symptoms?  Just wondering...Chad
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I'm 50, and have had ezema for my whole life, except for a 6 year period when I lived in Hawaii from age 22 - 28.  It just went away, and I thought it was a miracle!  Which makes me wonder about things in the water, or air pollution, or some other factor out of my control here in NC.  

Right now, I have very itchy red patches on the upper back of arms, inside elnows and knees, back of neck.  I also have unusual-for-me itching all over my legs, buttocks and back.

As someone just pointed out, only the top of my head never itches, and that's the oiliest part of my body as it's bald. This may be a reason to reduce bathing to a minimum or eliminate soaps.  Soaking in a tub offers temporary relief, but seems to aggravate the larger areas like legs and back.

Unfortuneately, I learned long ago that scalding water stops an itch (not for long) and so I've done plenty of damage to my skin with hot water. The rush of endorphins causes a mini skin orgasm at the site, but a second later you're in pain from the scald. Weird.

I wish there was some magic substance to use as a healing agent. I tried pure aloe, no luck.  HAS ANYONE GOT A SUGGESTION FOR WHAT TO PUT ON SKIN THAT HAS BEEN SCRATCHED AND DAMAGED?

I get some relief from the mentholated Gold Bond lotions, but have given up on hydrocortisone for the most part as it no longer works for me.  So many lotions out there have at least one ingredient that causes more itching.  WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

Has anyone tried elimination diets?  That's next, starve the bugger if it can be tamed through diet!
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ok...same old story as the rest of you...no doctors know what the hell is causing the itch...has really gotten better though..i'm a health nut..eat right , exercise, take vitamins...probably more than i should....just curious, is anyone with the "itch problem" taking any supplements that contain ginseng, damiana, l-arginine, ginko biloba? or is anyone using HRT? (hormone replacement therapy?  the reason i ask is because my gyno told me months ago my testosterone level was "dangerously low" and started me on a low dose testosterone cream...but i'm almost certain my itching started before that...anyway, also been taking a supplement called ArginMax for women which includes the herbs i mentioned ....stopped the HRT and the ArginMax for a few weeks now and itching has almost completely gone away...get little twinges every now and again, but basically back to normal...i wish there was a way i could know if it had anything to do with supplements?
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Hi everyone. I was so relieved to find this web site. I've had this crazy arm itching for about a year and a half. Right now my arms are full of sores from scratching. I get the same kind of symptoms that most of you have. Intense, unbearable itching, tingling, a feeling that a thousand needles are stabbing me at once. I can hardly stand it sometimes. I've been to four dermatologists, had blood tests, a biopsy. I've been told it was scabies, lupis, lyme disease, allergies, my nerves, etc. I finally saw my family physician who ran more blood tests and has tried her best to figure this out. She is now at a loss. I'm hesitant to go to another dermatologist yet I don't know how I'm going to live with this the rest of my life. I know there are worse things in life but this really gets to me sometimes.  At least now I know that other people have this, I was beginning to think I was delusional. Right now I'm using a steroid cream called clobetasol propionate cream. I put it on in the morning and at night with some aloe vera cream. This seems to be helping for now but I've been down this road before. I've tried every lotion, cream, prescriptions many times and it will clear up for awhile and then get bad again. I've spent hours and hours researching at the library and on the web for answers. It's encouraging to read your posts here. Has anyone tried anything recently that seems to help or seen any new doctors? There has to be an answer for this somewhere in the world. Thanks.
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This is amazing, I feel like everyone looks at me crazy when I have one of my 'itching' spells.  Mine attacks both of my forearms.  Mine has been so severe it seems like self mutilation is the only way to find relief.  Guys I have burnt my arm with a lighter, shaved my arms, slapped them until welps cover my arms, put my arms under scalding water it all helps for that moment but it comes right back.  I did go to a dermatologist who suggested it was my nerve endings and that it possibly had to do something with the back.  I have severe back problems and was quite intrigued to read of the one who had back trouble.  The only SAFE relief that I get now is from Zostrix cream.  It's the kind that burns, problem is when you sleep at night and you put your face to your arm you end up waking up with your face on fire.  No win situation.  Huh?  Oh doctor also told me that if this is what it is then it can occur in the arm the thigh or back of the shoulder blade.  Again I am so glad to know you guys are out there.  I made my husband sit down and read everyones note so he would understand.  You have described it to a tee!!!
Thanks,
Lesley/Alabama
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Hi all,  It's called NEURODERMATITIS.  Basically a case of "the nerves."  I got it a couple years ago and scratched and beat my arm up with a wooded spoon hoping to replace the itch with a hurt...to no avail.  The best thing for this problem is to IGNORE IT.  Once you scratch that first itch, you are locked into a viscious cycle of scratching and itching....the more you scratch, the more you itch.....  I've learned not to scratch that first itch and it will go away quite rapidly.  If I accidently do scratch that first itch, before it gets out of control, I put on some hydrocortisone cream and cover my arm with an ace bandage and try to ignore it.  Jay
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Hi again. I just read Leslie's comment about her doctor suggesting it had something to do with her back problems. This blew my mind because I've had back problems for years and was just diagnosed with degenerate disk disease. Maybe we are all getting somewhere. Anyone else with back problems?
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fibre mialgia covers alot of symptoms.....ive heard two here.the degenerative disc and the stabbing pains and itching.you may want to read up on it.it attacks nerves and and joints and can eventially become dissabling.
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I have the same itching on my lower left arm.

I know this might sound crazy but this is worth a shot.  If you only itch on one arm and its the arm you wear your watch on, try not wearing a watch for a week or so.  See if this helps.

Second, before bed, wash your arms with a good disinfectant soap (not deoderant soap because they contain incrediants that may cause the itch).  Make sure you rinse your arms thoroughly.  Then try to sleep with your arms outside the covers.  having your arms get to warm may open your pours and cause you to sweat slightly.  Your arms should remain as cool as possible to reduce any possiblity of causing the pours to open which could trigger the start of the itching process.

Let me know if this works.
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I itched horribly. Doc said it was not hives. did a blood test. hasn't come back yet. put on triath something. used cortisone in various forms. that and westcort and 1% and and and...didn't work. was looking up on internet what in the world is it, found something on eczema. would wake up in the middle of the night itching. am an herbalist, didn't like using non herbal things. at this point it didn't matter. started 9-1-02. came and went.
Found sesame oil mixed with calendula infused oil worked to take away much of the itch. sesame has light cortisone light qualities, I read on a site written by some doc. it helped some. not enough. i know about calendula, mixed of that that infused oil in with the sesame, it worked. mix it yourself or get some at blue sage naturals.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2002, was watching a healing preacher on t.v. name benny hinn. He said 'God is healing a lady with an allergic skin condition'. I claimed it, it hasn't itched since and my skin is returning to normal. Hallelujah.
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  Thank god I am not alone.  I also have had this "itching" in my upper arms for several years now. My doctor dismissed me because there were no physical evidence that she could see. I often have this happen at night as I get into bed but have had it throughout the day as well, most frequent at night though. I tough I might have been allergic to my pillow but that is not the case.  It feels like pins and needles prickling,    uncontrollable itchy feeling. Occasionally I will have a small red dot or dots up to 4 after itching it awhile but no other physical factors. It is really random.  It drives me crazy.      Is this caused by stress and if so, why would it only affect my upper arms.
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