Pruritus pp 225-228 | Cite as

Brachioradial Pruritus

  • Astrid Stumpf
  • Claudia Zeidler
  • Sonja StänderEmail author


Brachioradial pruritus (BRP) is localized on a circumscribed area on the dorsolateral forearm along the dermatomes C5/C6. It can spread to the dermatomes C3 – Th1. The skin may be affected by acute or chronic scratch lesions, but the skin status may also remain unaffected. Often, the itch is accompanied by allodynia and/or dysesthesias and paresthesias (burning, stinging, prickling and pain). Initially considered as photodermatosis because of a worsening by UV light, in recent studies and case reports, BRP was demonstrated to have a neuropathic origin due to compressions of the spinal cord, cervical radiculopathies of the nerve root of the cervical spine by disc herniations. To exclude spinal and/or central processes as causative factors, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical and thoracic spinal column is strongly recommended. Many patients use ice packs or wet towels to reduce the itch. This so-called “ice-pack sign” might be pathognomonic for BRP. The most promising therapy at present is a combination of anticonvulsant medication, UV light avoidance, capsaicin patch application and intermittent cooling.


Localized pruritus MRI UV light exposure Anticonvulsant medication Capsaicin patch Allodynia Dysesthesias Paresthesias Pruriceptive afferent nerves Ice-pack sign 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Stumpf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Zeidler
    • 3
  • Sonja Ständer
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychosomatics and PsychotherapyUniversity Hospital of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Center for Chronic Pruritus (KCP)University Hospital of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Center for Chronic Pruritus (KCP), Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital of MünsterMünsterGermany

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