Thursday, April 11, 2024

How To Deal With Nerve Pain From Shingles

Finally Use A Cool Water Compresses

New treatment for the pain of shingles

Cool water may soothe the burning sensation from both your rash and mild PHN pain. Depending on the location, you could potentially put a cool pack on it, Dr. Kotton says, though she notes this wont help much for severe pain. Soak a cloth in ice water, take it out, and apply directly to the affected area. Ahhhhh. Another soother to consider? This pain very likely wont last forever, even if you have PHN. In the meantime, though, these tips will help you get through the worst of it.

Shingles And Your Eyes

If the shingles rash breaks out on the face, near the eye, the vision may be affected. An ophthalmologist should be consulted right away when pain or other symptoms of shingles affect the eye or the area near the eye.

Shingles painand other symptoms from an outbreak of herpes zosterusually lasts between three to five weeks. Most people experience shingles once, but in some instances, people will continue to experience pain. When this happens, its called postherpetic neuralgia .

What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is a condition of recurring or persistent pain in an area of the body that has undergone an outbreak shingles .

When the shingles virus damages nerve cells of an infected area, it often causes a painful skin rash that appears as a patch or line of painful blisters on the skin in the shape of a band. The band of blisters follows the distribution of the nerve where the virus was present before it spread to the skin.

Postherpetic neuralgia is a painful condition that often begins after shingles lesions begin to crust over and heal, but it may occur when lesions are not produced by the virus.

You May Like: How Often Do You Need Shingles Vaccine

Being Vaccinated Against Shingles Is The Best Way To Prevent Postherpetic Neuralgia Lingering Pain From The Shingles Virus Heres What You Should Know About The Causes Symptoms And Treatments For This Painful Chronic Condition

Postherpetic neuralgia , also known as shingles, most commonly occurs as a rash on one side of the torso.

This is no ordinary rash but the itchy blisters arent even the worst part.

A painful condition known as postherpetic neuralgia is the horrible gift that keeps on giving for more than 10% of people who develop it following a bout of shingles.

Oh yeah and the pain? It can be significant. People familiar with the burning, relentless feeling of PHN have likened it to passing a kidney stone mothers have described it as pain worse than labor.

When Hurting Doesn’t Stop

Treating Shingles Organically Treating Shingles Naturally For Pain

Shingles pain usually decreases within one or two months. But for about one in 10 people, the agony associated with shingles lasts for months or years. This painful condition is called postherpetic neuralgia , in which sensory nerve fibers are damaged, sending persistent pain signals to the brain.

The consequences of this pain are real and can include depression, insomnia, anxiety, and unwanted weight loss. PHN can keep you from doing your daily activities and enjoying your life. The older you are when you develop shingles, the greater your risk of PHN.

Though you may feel isolated, don’t suffer in silence. Talk about your pain with your family, your friends, and, most importantly, your doctor. There are about a dozen medications that have been shown to be effective against PHN pain. These include steroids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants. You may benefit from a prescription for strong painkillers called opioids, or your doctor may recommend a cream, spray, or patch containing lidocaine or capsaicin, which you apply directly to your skin in the area that’s painful.

In most cases, pain from PHN will eventually subside. In the meantime, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Rest, avoid stressful situations if you can, and eat nutritious foods. Ask your doctor if stretching or other simple exercises could help. And do things you enjoywhether it’s listening to music, watching a comedy, or readingto help keep your mind off the pain.

You May Like: How Long Can Nerve Pain Last After Shingles

Reducing Nerve Pain From Shingles

Pharmaceuticals and vaccination for herpes zoster.

Shingles is virtually synonymous with pain, whether it be from the rash itself, from postherpetic neuralgia , or postherpetic itch . Additionally, it can lead to serious complications involving the eye, including vision loss and blindness, as well as pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation, and even death.

Treatment of the virus typically begins with antiviralsand the sooner the better. Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are most commonly used to treat shingles. They should be administered as quickly as possible after the onset of symptoms to shorten the severity and length of the illness.

Additionally, there are simple self-care steps that can be followed to help reduce the pain and discomfort of shingles.

Long-term nerve pain from PHN is the most common complication of shingles and is experienced by up to 20% of patients with shingles The risk of PHN increases with age, as does the severity and length of pain, which can persist for months or even years.

The FDA has approved the use of analgesics, anticonvulsants, and lidocaine and capsaicin topical patches for treating PHN.

PHI, which can occur in conjunction with PHN, is caused by sensory fibers in the nerves that were damaged or died during the shingles infection. The remaining isolated nerve fibers fire when they shouldn’t, generating false sensations that fool the central nervous system.

How Common Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

PHN is unusual in people aged under 50 and if it does occur it tends to be mild. PHN is more likely to develop and is more likely to be severe in people aged over 60. About 1 in 4 people aged over 60 who have shingles develop PHN that lasts more than 30 days. The older you are, the more likely it is that it will occur. It is also more common in those people who have had more severe shingles.

Dont Miss: What Is The Cost Of A Shingles Shot At Walgreens

Also Check: How Do Adults Get Shingles

What Is Shingles And Postherpetic Neuralgia

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that also causes chickenpox. In a person who has been exposed to chickenpox — or its vaccine — the virus never really goes away. It can lie dormant in the body’s nerves.

In most cases, it stays that way. But in some — especially people with immune systems weakened by disease or treatment — the virus can reappear. This is likely to happen years or decades after the person had chickenpox.

When it comes back, the virus can cause shingles, a rash that often appears as a band on one side of the body. Early shingles symptoms can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms

Itching, tingling, or extreme pain where the rash is developing may come next, and the pain can be moderate to severe.

Are you contagious? Though people who haven’t had chickenpox can catch that condition from you, the shingles itself isn’t contagious.

For reasons that experts don’t really understand, the pain of shingles lingers for some. If the pain lasts for at least 3 months after the shingles rash has healed, a person is diagnosed with PHN. In some people, the pain will subside. In others, it won’t.

“We don’t have any idea why the pain goes away in some people and not others,” says Dworkin. But the longer you have PHN — especially after a year — the less likely it is to resolve, he says.

Opt For Otc Pain Relievers

How to treat shingles

Over-the-counter options like Tylenol can ease the discomfort of shingles rash and even mild PHN. At least for early pain, we often use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like ibuprofen or naxopren, Dr. Auwaerter notes. Theyre easy to pick up at any drugstore, but theyre not always ideal for frequent and/or long-term use. NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation and stomach ulcers, and can harm the kidneys unless taken with large volumes of water. If you experience abdominal pain or constipation, ask your doctor to help you find another option.

Recommended Reading: What Do You Use To Treat Shingles

Treating The Pain Of Phn

Exactly how best to deal with the pain is a difficult question. Rice led a research team that looked at 35 clinical trials of various treatments. The findings appear in the July issue of the free-access online journal PloS Medicine.

The most important thing to realize is these are painkillers, Rice says. You are treating the pain, not the disease itself. And this is due to permanent nerve damage. It is like a stroke. We cant make the nerve damage better, but we can treat the disability. And for PHN, pain is one of those disabilities.

What helps? Rices team found good evidence supporting:

What Is A Tens Unit

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, is a method of pain relief that involves the use of a moderate electrical current. It is a small machine, and it is battery-operated. It has leads that are connected to sticky pads called electrodes.

A TENS unit is a non-invasive method used for relieving pain. Some people are able to reduce the intake of pain medications thanks to the TENS unit.

The unit is also very convenient because it is quite small, portable, and discrete. You can carry it in your pocket, or clip it onto a belt to ensure that you have instant access to pain relief throughout the day.

It has controls that allow people to apply an appropriate level of pain relief. This can be achieved by altering some aspects of the electrical current, such as intensity, frequency, and duration.

The frequency refers to the number of electrical impulses per second. High-frequency pulses range from 80 to 120 cycles per second, and they are believed to help acute pain.

Low-frequency pulses range from 1 to 20 cycles per second and are more suitable for the treatment of chronic pain.

Need to know how to use the settings on your TENS unit? Click here

Read Also: Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Not Covered By Medicare

How Could Cannabis Help

Topical Cannabis

If you have had chickenpox, then you could get shingles and it would be wise to go out right now and make sure you are fully stocked with topical products. The amount of pain relief that a cannabis cream can give is miraculously effective and instantaneous the second its on the rash, the bad burn pain drops from an excruciating level 9 to a 2.

Edibles

I dont think I would ever be able handle a shingles outbreak without high THC, edible cannabis. The type of pain I described as electric shocks throughout the nerves can literally cause severe anxiety because its so weird and uncomfortable. Like hitting a mute button, the moment I felt the the edible starting to take effect, it was like it sent all the shocks and pain far away to someplace else.

With such a large concentration of pain receptors residing in the intestines, using edible cannabis to effectively treat the pain caused by shingles, makes sense and it works.

Read Also: Is Shingles Contagious From Person To Person

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

Pin on Ted

Shingrix is given by injection into the upper arm. Shingrix is generally well tolerated. In general, Shingrix is not recommended for: People who are allergic to any component of Shingrix. People with a weakened immune system. People who have a weakened immune system because of:

HIV/AIDS, or- cancer treatments

Recommended Reading: Why Is The Shingles Vaccine So Expensive

You May Like: How Long To Get Over Shingles

Body Pain When Sneezing

Sneezing looks like such a benign pain, however anybody who has ever had painful sneezing will inform you that its anything however. Sneezing is a natural response of your body against bacteria and viruses. Anything that enters your nose may set off the bodys reflex to sneeze, which forces whatever entered to leave the nose often through a violent sneeze.

A sneeze is a procedure that consists of many actions. An inflammation to the nose signals your throat, eyes and mouth to shut. Then the chest muscles agreement and throat muscles unwind. Air is displaced of your mouth and nose to clear the passage. So if its a natural occasion, why does my body hurt when I sneeze?

What Increases The Risk Of Long

The risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia increases with age. Four weeks after getting shingles,

  • 27% of 55- to 59-year-olds and
  • 73% of over 70-year-olds had nerve pain.

Women seem to be more likely to have longer-lasting nerve pain than men. Post-herpetic neuralgia is also more likely to develop if your eyes were affected by shingles.

Read Also: Can Shingles Start On Your Leg

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.

Hearing Loss And Facial Weakness

Treatment for shingles pain

Complications of herpes zoster oticus and Ramsay Hunt syndrome might include hearing loss and facial weakness. For most people, these are temporary symptoms, but it is possible for the damage to become permanent, especially if shingles is left untreated.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome accounts for up to 12% of facial paralysis. In some cases, it has a worse outcome than Bells palsya condition that causes temporary weakness in the muscles of the face.

You May Like: Can You Get Shingles On Your Breast

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Ive had chickenpox. Am I at risk of developing shingles?
  • What is the best treatment for my shingles?
  • The pain from shingles isnt going away. What can I do to make myself more comfortable?
  • Im on treatment for shingles. When should I call my doctor if things dont get better?
  • I have shingles and my children havent had the chickenpox vaccine. Should I get them vaccinated?
  • Is the shingles vaccine right for me?
  • Are there any risks associated with the shingles vaccine?
  • Will my post-herpetic neuralgia ever go away?
  • If Ive never had the chickenpox, should I still get the shingles vaccination?

You May Like: How Long Does It Take To Get Over Shingles

Help Is Available For Phn

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.

You May Like: Rose And Shingle Resort Orlando

Are There Treatments I Can Put On My Skin

You might find relief with topical treatments. You can talk to your doctor about:

Creams: Some of these contain capsaicin, the ingredient in cayenne pepper that gives it a kick. Examples are Capsin and Zostrix. You can buy this over the counter but make sure your doctor knows if you plan on using these.

Patches: Capsaicin is also in Qutenza, which is applied via a patch for one hour every 3 months. You need to visit the doctorâs office for this.

Lidoderm is a patch that has a numbing agent called lidocaine. Itâs applied directly to the painful area of skin. You need a prescription.

Who Is At Risk For Postherpetic Neuralgia

Pin on shingles

A case of Shingles is one thing, but postherpetic neuralgia is yet another matter entirely. Shingles pain can be combatted by treating the condition with antiviral medication and topical painkillers. For most people, the pain goes away with the infection.

Yet when the pain persists long after the rashes have gone, its a sign that a person may be suffering from postherpetic neuralgia .

The same rules apply the weaker your immune system, the greater the risk of postherpetic neuralgia. It doesnt have to be a matter of age. Certain illnesses can weaken your immune system. Procedures such as a recent organ transplant can take a toll on your body and force you to take immunosuppressant drugs to minimize the chance of transplant rejection.

There are unknown factors, too. Some people get postherpetic neuralgia others dont.

Also Check: Why Is Shingles Pain Worse At Night

How Long Does Nerve Pain Last After Shingles

Only approximately 9-15% of patients who get shingles develop Postherpetic Neuralgia. For those few patients who develop PHN, the length of time that it lasts usually varies. The majority of PHN patients have discomfort that lasts one to two months. About one-third of Postherpetic Neuralgia patients have symptoms that last around three months, and about one-fifth have symptoms that last a year or longer. Researchers are unsure what triggers the herpes zoster virus to re-emerge even after years of lying dormant. The virus may be obtained during youth, but it does not flare into shingles until years down the line. When the pain of shingles lingers long after the rash heals, it is considered Postherpetic Neuralgia. The bout of shingles damages the nerves. This means that the nerve damage caused by shingles affects a fully functioning nervous system. The damaged nerve will send random pain signals to the brain, which thereby causes a burning, throbbing sensation. Over time, the nerves of the skin calm, but due to the existing nerve damage, the pain can persist for years, even for the rest of the persons lifetime.

Popular Articles
Related news