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How Long Does The Nerve Pain Last From Shingles

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Phn

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health
  • Up to 1 in 6 shingles sufferers aged 70-79 may develop PHN. 4
  • Risk and severity increases with age.
  • For more information about shingles and PHN please talk to your doctor.


  • Oxman MN et al. In: Arvin AM et al., editors. Varicella-Zoster Virus: Virology and Clinical Management.2000. p246â75
  • NCIRS Herpes Zoster Fact Sheet. March 2020. Available at: http://www.ncirs.org.au/ncirs-fact-sheets-faqs/zoster-vaccine-australian-adults
  • Hall and Partners. ‘It’s Not ‘Just’ Shingles’ Patient Survey. Oct 2012.
  • Stein et al. Vaccine 2009 27:520-9
  • Who Gets Postherpetic Neuralgia

    About 1 out of 5 people who have shingles will have these sharp, ongoing pains afterward. Certain things can increase your chances of getting it:

    • Age: Most people who get postherpetic neuralgia are older than 60.
    • Gender: Women seem to get it more than men.
    • Early symptoms: People who have numbness, tingling, or itching before a shingles rash even appears tend to get the lingering pain later.
    • Pain at the start: If you had severe pain or a rash during the beginning of your outbreak, you have a greater chance of the neuralgia later.
    • Other health problems: People with ongoing conditions that can weaken the immune system, like HIV and cancer, seem more likely to get it.

    Risk Factors For Nerve Pain After Shingles

    Researchers have long known that older people are more likely to get PHN, the nerve pain after shingles, but recent studies have found other factors that increase risks.

    In one study published in the journal Neurology, researchers — including Dworkin — looked at data from 965 people with shingles. The researchers identified five risk factors for developing PHN in people who had been recently diagnosed with shingles:

    • Presence of symptoms before the rash appeared, like numbness, tingling, itching, or pain
    • Severe pain during the illness’s initial stages

    Importantly, the researchers found the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of developing PHN.

    For instance, 17% of women with shingles and 26% of those who had severe pain went on to get PHN. But 50% of women who were over age 60 and had symptoms before the rash, severe rash, and acute pain went on to get PHN.

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    Can You Get Shingles In The Eye

    Its most common to get the shingles rash on your chest, back or legs but you can get shingles on the face and eye, Rapuano says. About 15% of cases involve shingles in the eye area, he says.

    However, theres a difference between having shingles around the eye and having shingles in the eye, which doctors refer to as eye involvement, Rapuano says. A patient can have shingles around the eye area without the eye itself being involved, he says.

    About half of people who have shingles on the forehead or nose will also have eye involvement.

    Ocular shingles typically occurs in one eye on the same side of the face as the rash. It typically occur after the shingles rash on the body has resolved, Rapuano says.

    A patient who has had shingles on the face may feel like theyre healing well but then notice a symptom such as redness in the eye. When this happens, patients need to see an eye doctor right away, Rapuano says.

    How Bad Is Shingles Pain

    How is Shingles Transmitted, How long is it Contagious &  How Long Does ...

    Pain. Eventually, most people with shingles experience a localised “band” of pain in the affected area. The pain can be a constant, dull or burning sensation and its intensity can vary from mild to severe. You may have sharp stabbing pains from time to time, and the affected area of skin will usually be tender.

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    Who’s At Greatest Risk For Lasting Shingles Nerve Pain

    Persistent nerve pain after a shingles infection is more common than you might think. Around 10 to 18% of people who get shingles will experience PHN. In most people, shingles nerve pain goes away on its own after a few months. But when this pain lingers, it can be challenging to manage.

    Risk factors for this complication include:

    How Long Will The Effects Last

    The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.

    If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.

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    If You Have Shingles Symptoms Get Treatment Now And You May Avoid Permanent Nerve Pain

    Shingles, a viral infection of the nerve roots, affects 1 million people in the U.S each year. Most people recover from their bout, but for as many as 50% of those over age 60 who have not been treated, the pain doesn’t go away. It can last for months, years, or even the rest of their lives.

    These people have what’s called postherpetic neuralgia , the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin. In some cases, the pain is mild. In others, even the slightest touch — from clothing or even a breeze — can be excruciating.

    “PHN causes a great deal of suffering and high social costs,” says Robert H. Dworkin, PhD, a professor in the department of anesthesiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. “It can severely disrupt people’s lives.”

    But the good news is that there are drugs that can help treat and even prevent PHN, and doctors are learning more about who is at greatest risk of developing this debilitating condition.

    Experiences On How Long Shingles Last

    Shingles: Pathophysiology, Symptoms, 3 stages of Infection, Complications, Management, Animation.

    Greetings everybody!

    Hope you guys are having a good day so far.

    I wanted to ask everybodys experience on the first time you had shingles how long did it last from the first first stage until the last stage where the rash and blisters went away from the affected areas.

    Im currently on day 7 and on the stage where Im noticing the red spots rash are turning into blisters and getting really painful. I have to sleep on a certain angle to get a good nights rest. Since the shingles is affecting my lower left chest, side and back.

    Any feedback or experience would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1 like, 18 replies

    Also Check: What Are The Early Symptoms Of Shingles

    Soothing Lotions And Creams

    These lotions and creams dont speed up the healing process, but they can increase your comfort level. . You can apply topical ointments containing the natural ingredient capsaicin up to three or four times a day. This is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it contains anti-inflammatory effect to help ease the pain. When you apply the cream, the pain will increase and then go away slowly. This cream works by reducing pain signals sent to your brain.

    In addition, you can apply calamine lotion after baths and showers to soothe irritated skin and help dry out blisters.

    Shingles On Scalp With Swollen Lymph Nodes

    Swollen lymph nodes is a common symptom in people with shingles on scalp. Lymph nodes also called lymph glands are an important part of the immune system. These nodes are located throughout the body, they are however only visible and palpable when enlarged or swollen.

    Lymph node will often swell in one location due to an infection, an injury or a growth of a tumor. Shingle on scalp is a viral infection. As said, lymph nodes are part of the immune system which helps fight infection in the body. These nodes work by carrying lymph fluid, nutrients and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream.

    The location the nodes are swollen can help identify the problem.

    • A swelling on side of neck, under the jaw or behind ear will in most cases swell when you have a cold or a sore throat. The virus causing shingles can also be a cause for the swelling.
    • A swelling of the nodes in armpit is often caused by an injury or an infection in the arm or hand
    • Lymph nodes above the collarbone, on the other hand, may be as a result of an infection or growth of a tumor in the areas around the lung, breasts, neck or the abdomen.

    Shingles on scalp can lead to complication if improper treatment is not taken. According to the national health services united kingdom, complications of shingles are more likely if you have a weakened immune system, or older than 50-60 years of age.

    Apart from the swelling of the lymph nodes, other complications of shingles will include the following:

    Recommended Reading: Is There A Rash With Shingles

    How Long Does Shingles Last With Valtrex

    Among the best treatments for shingles is Valtrex because of the speed at which it works. For the best results, start using Valtrex as prescribed as soon as the first signs appear. This drug is also referred to as valacyclovir.

    Even that, it is important to understand that Valtrex will not actually cure shingles but only fastens the healing process. Generically known as valacyclovir, it reduces how severe the length of the shingles outbreak is.

    The most common prescription is 1000mg of valacyclovir three times a day. You are advised to take the drug within the first 48 to 72 hours after you notice the first symptoms which are burning and pain on one side of your body.

    Valtrex is therefore ideal if you want to reduce the discomfort caused by shingles. Sores heal faster and new ones are prevented from forming with use of valacyclovir.

    Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox

    Shingles and Shingrix

    Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who didnt.

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    Is The Zostavax Vaccine Still Being Used

    Yes. The CDC, however, recommends Zostavax for adults age 60 and older, but not routinely for people aged 50 to 59. Zostavax is given as a single-dose shot versus the two-dose shot for Shingrix. Zostavax is less effective than Shingrix in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia .

    You can consider Zostavax if you are allergic to Shingrix or if Shingrix is unavailable because of supply shortage and you want some immediate protection from a possible case of shingles and/or postherpetic neuralgia. Because its a weakened live vaccine, it may be dangerous if you have cancer, HIV, or take steroids, chemotherapy or other medications that suppress your immune system. Ask your healthcare provider if the Zostavax vaccine is an option for you.

    What Is The Prognosis For Postherpetic Neuralgia

    For the majority of patients who develop PHN, the prognosis is good although they may have to take pain medications for about one to three months. For others, the prognosis is fair to poor if the pain is severe, lasts longer than three months, or markedly reduces their quality of life. PHN occasionally results in permanent nerve damage however, the disease is not fatal.

    Read Also: What Shingles Vaccines Are Available

    What Does Postherpetic Neuralgia Feel Like

    You usually have pain on one side of your body, where you had the blisters. The feeling is described as shooting, sharp, or stabbing. Other signs you have neuralgia include:

    • It hurts to be touched: Sometimes, you canât bear clothing rubbing on your skin. You might feel discomfort from a light breeze.
    • Long-lasting pain: This condition can last 3 months or longer after the shingles rash has healed. In some people, itâs permanent. For most, it gets better over time.
    • Other sensations: Sometimes, you might feel burning, itching, tingling, or aching along with the shooting feelings. Some people feel numb or get headaches.
    • You may also get a fever and generally feel worn-out.

    Help Is Available For Phn

    New treatment for the pain of shingles

    Fortunately,early treatment for shingles can lower your chances of getting PHN.

    For some people, the pain becomes refractory, or resistant to treatment, explains Dr. Rosenquist. So we want to treat shingles as fast as we can ideally as soon as somebody feels a tingling or burning sensation, even before a rash develops.

    Sheadds that whenever nerve pain is involved, some people respond to treatment andsome dont.

    However,medications taken orally or injected that can target the affected nerves may beable to stun the nervous system into behaving properly. That meanstransmitting the appropriate signal to the brain.

    Also Check: What Does Shingles Look Like On Your Head

    Shingles & Postherpetic Neuralgia

    It stays dormant for decades, waiting for the right time to reactivate or awaken. When the virus wakes up, it will spread along and within the closest major nerve to its sleeping place causing a painful condition we call shingles. Shingles usually begins with fever and headache, accompanied by itchiness and oversensitivity in a distinct and limited area of your skin. This resolves into a characteristic stripe, or belt like rash in which small blisters form. The pain can be intense and even last for years after the rash disappears, a condition referred to as postherpetic neuralgia . PHN is notoriously difficult to treat, so choosing the right pain management doctor is crucial.

    At the Ainsworth Institute of Pain Management, we are uniquely trained and specialized in treating shingles and PHN. Our board certified pain management specialists can offer a combination of treatment options, many not available anywhere else.

    What causes the varicella zoster virus to reactivate is not fully understood. It is known, however, that shingles are likely to appear when someones immune system is impaired, either by age, disease or psychological stress.

    Can Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved a shingles vaccine, which can reduce your chance of getting shingles and PHN. The recombinant herpes-zoster vaccine is recommended to prevent shingles in adults ages 50 and older. The vaccination is given in two doses, two to six months apart. The two-dose vaccine is 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection lasts at least for four years after you get vaccinated.

    If you have never had chickenpox or have children who have never had chickenpox, getting the chickenpox vaccine can help prevent getting this infection in the first place. If you never get chickenpox, you will not have the varicella-zoster virus in your body and will not get shingles or PHN.

    Read Also: What Causes Shingles On Your Body

    What Are Symptoms Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

    Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include:

    • Blistering rash in and around the ear on the affected side
    • Pain deep in the ear
    • Rash that usually appears before the facial paralysis
    • Facial paralysis
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    • Secondary infection of blisters of the skin of the ear canal, outer ear, or both, resulting in cellulitis

    What You Can Do About Nerve Pain That Lingers After Shingles

    Treating Shingles Organically Treating Shingles Naturally For Pain

    Chronic pain that continues after a case of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . It is estimated that about 20% of patients will experience this type of nerve pain as a complication of shingles.

    Those who have had chickenpox are at risk of developing shingles later in life. People who develop PHN are generally age 60 and older. Although there is no cure for PHN, there are several methods of pain management that can ease symptoms. Fortunately, the type of pain that arises from postherpetic neuralgia improves over time.

    Neuralgia affects the nerves, causing structural and functional damage. It can feel like a stabbing or burning pain that radiates along the affected nerve.

    Neuropathic pain is not caused by an external injury or stimuli but originates from inside the nervous system. When the herpes-varicella zoster virus is reactivated in the form of shingles, scar tissue forms alongside nerves, creating pressure, and sending pain signals to the brain.

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    How To Prevent Transmission

    You cant catch shingles, and you cant give shingles to someone else. But you can give others chickenpox.

    After you have chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus stays dormant in your body. If this virus reactivates, shingles occurs. Its possible to transmit this virus to others who arent immune while the shingles rash is still active. You are contagious to others until all areas of the rash are dried up and crusted over.

    To catch the varicella-zoster virus from you, a person has to have direct contact with your rash blisters.

    You can help prevent your transmission of the varicella-zoster virus by:

    • keeping the rash loosely covered
    • practicing frequent handwashing
    • avoiding contact with people who may not have had chickenpox or who havent been vaccinated against chickenpox

    Last medically reviewed on August 24, 2017

    10 sourcescollapsed

    • Cohen KR, et al. . Presentation and management of herpes zoster in the geriatric population.

    What Are The Complications Of Shingles

    Symptoms of shingles usually dont last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include:

    • Postherpetic neuralgia . The most common complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . This continuous, chronic pain lasts even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present. The affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. If you had severe pain during the active rash or have impaired senses, you are at increased risk for PHN. The elderly are also at greater risk. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. Pain relievers and steroid treatment may be used to treat the pain and inflammation. Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.
    • Bacterial infection. A bacterial infection of the skin where the rash happens is another complication. Rarely, infections can lead to more problems, such as tissue death and scarring. When an infection happens near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can happen. This can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

    Also Check: How Long Does Shingles Itch Last

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