Acupuncture can help brachioradial pruritus

Brachioradial pruritus is a neurogenic itch syndrome. It affects the areas of the upper arm and forearm with presumptive dermatomal distribution of cervical spinal nerves C5-C6. The itch of brachioradial pruritus is described as intense, burning and pricking. The discomfort is typically worse at night, for some patient, may interfere with falling asleep. Exposure of the affected areas to sun and wind may precipitate an episode, as may radiculopathy of the cervical spine. Despite the severity of symptoms, no associated erythema or skin eruption is seen. Evidence of excoriation or lichenfication may be present in the affected areas. Walsman first described the symptoms in Florida in 1968.

I have treated brachioradial pruritus successfully with acupuncture.

Case 1: The patient’s first visit was on Oct. 29, 2009. She was a 58 year-old female, complained of intense burning and itching on lateral upper arm and forearm of left side for 5 years. The symptoms began on forearm and later spread to upper arm. The symptoms gradually became more frequent and it was markedly accentuated by arm movement or arm touching other object. Physical exam showed nothing abnormal.

Case 2: The patient’s first visit was on July 30,2011. She was 49 year-old female, complained of intense pruritus of lateral upper arm and forearm. The itching was limited to one side of extremitis. The pruritus would come on suddenly and last approximately one hour. It occurred 2-3 times a week. Physical exam: hypersthesia in innervation of cervical spinal nerve C5-C6 of both upper extremities.

Therapeutic methods: apply acupuncture needles to the following acupoints:

1. main points: Jiaji  points at both C5 and C6;
2. supplementary points: from lung meridians hand-taiyin, with electro-acupuncture.

Therapeutic effect:
after treatment ( 5 times for case 1; 4 times for case 2 ), the clinical symptoms disappeared.