Brachioradial Pruritus and Neck Problems

brachioradial pruritis and neck problemsBrachioradial Pruritus and Neck Problems

In part 1 of this series we had discussed a rare condition called Brachioradial Pruritis (BRP) and how NUCCA Spinal Care was able to get to the underlying cause of the condition and eliminate it by correcting problems in the neck.

BRP is an enigmatic condition with a controversial cause; some authors consider BRP to be a photodermatosis (sensitivity to sunlight leads to changes in the skin) whereas other authors attribute BRP to compression of cervical nerve roots (nerves in the neck).

Several dermatologists have done research into this condition that makes sense with what doctors are seeing in upper cervical chiropractic offices.  They sought to investigate the presence of neuropathy (nerve related problem) in patients with BRP.  They performed studies of the median, ulnar, and radial nerves (nerves leaving the lower portion of the neck that go into the arm) in consecutive patients with BRP, including measurement of sensory and motor function.

Included in the study were 7 patients, 5 men and 2 women, with an average age of 58.3 years (range: 42-72 years). Of the patients, 4 (57%) had abnormal responses on testing that were diagnostic for cervical radiculopathy, and 3 of these patients had prolonged distal latencies of the nerves tested, which may be interpreted as sensory motor neuropathy secondary to chronic radiculopathy.  The fourth patient had polyneuropathy secondary to diabetes mellitus.

They authors concuded that BRP may be attributed to a neuropathy, such as chronic cervical radiculopathy. The possibility of an underlying neuropathy should be considered in the evaluation and treatment of all patients with BRP.

In another study the Medical charts of patients with BRP seen in the Division of Dermatology of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center between the years of 1993 and 2000 were retrospectively analyzed. On the basis of clinical index of suspicion, some patients had undergone radiography of the spine.  Of the 22 patients with BRP, 11 had cervical spine x-rays. The x-rays showed cervical spine problems that could be correlated with the location of pruritus in each of these 11 patients.  All 11 showed the connection!

The authors concluded:

"The main cause of brachioradial pruritus (BRP) is not known but there is evidence to suggest that BRP may arise in the nervous system. Cervical spine disease may be an important contributing factor."

NUCCA Spinal Care is focused on correcting structural problems with the alignment of the head, neck and spinal column.  When the spine is misaligned it will cause degeneration of the spine and interference with the function of the nerve system.  Frequently in our office looking at the x-rays of hundreds of patients with upper cervical misalignments we will see that a majority of the degeneration is in the lower cervical bones...C5, C6 & C7.  This is the area where the nerves leave the spine and go into the arm and hand.  By correcting the alignment of the spine the pressure can be relieved and the degeneration and nerve irritation can be stopped.

If you have itching or burning in your arms or have been diagnosed with Brachioradial Pruritis than an upper cervical evaluation is warranted.  To find an upper cervical specialist in your area go to or or if you are in the Redwood City, California area to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Pete Tsiglieris of Advanced Spinal Care in Redwood City, California is an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Sunnyvale. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain and weakness. More information can be found on our website at


J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Jun;48(6):825-8.

J Am Acad Dermatol 2003 Apr;48(4):521-4

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