Notalgia Paresthetica Relieved by Cervical Traction

This study, by Rhonda Low, MD, CCFP, FCFP, FAAP, Leah A. Swanson, MD, and David L. Swanson, MD, FAAD was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine in December, 2017.


Notalgia paresthetica is a syndrome of unilateral, chronic pruritis that is associated with burning pain, paresthesia, numbness, and hyperesthesia localized to the medial and inferior scapula.

The condition does not respond to anti-inflammatory drugs or traditional antipruritic agents and has variable re-sponses to numerous other reported pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies. Although the etiology is thought to be nerve impingement, neurologic and musculoskeletal causes are often not con-sidered in the differential diagnosis.

We present a report of a woman with a 2-year history of refractory notalgia paresthetica. Based on spinal imaging showing cervical neuroforaminal stenosis, the patient was prescribed a course of cervical traction. Her symptoms resolved and have not returned after 2 years of followup.

We believe this is the first case report of successful treatment of notalgia paresthetica with cervical traction. (J Am Board Fam Med 2017;30:835–837.)

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