Sunday, April 14, 2024

How To Relieve Shingles Nerve Pain

Treat Your Body And Mind

Get Rid of Shingles Pain Fast Dr.Berg

You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.

5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:

  • Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
  • Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
  • Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.

6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:

How To Treat Shingles

There are many different options for the treatment of shingles symptoms. While these treatments will not cure the viral infection, they can shorten the duration of the infection and help to relieve the pain associated with shingles.

Antiviral Drugs

Prescription antivirals such as Acyclovir or Valacyclovir can dramatically reduce the risk of complications. To be efficacious, it is recommended that these drugs are administered in the first 72 hours of the rash forming.

Antihistamines

For patients with itchiness at the rash site, antihistamines such as topical Benadryl can help.

Calamine

Calamine lotion can also help to relieve the pain and discomfort of a shingles rash.

Capsaicin

A topical application of capsaicin can help to relieve acute pain at the infection site. Prescription-only capsaicin patches can be used in the treatment of nerve damage pain resulting from PHN.

Steroids Can Sometimes Help

Dr. Auwaerter notes that some older research done in the early 2000s supports the use of the steroid prednisone taken with an antiviral for short-term shingles pain relief, as well as a decreased risk of developing the more serious PHN. Steroids may be especially beneficial for people over 50, who are at higher risk for PHN. However, they can increase your risk of immunosuppression over time, so theyre generally used for shingles for just one to two weeks. If youre trying this approach, work closely with your doctor to manage the appropriate dosing.

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Are There Other Ways To Ease The Pain

Most people with postherpetic neuralgia use medication to control their symptoms. But there are other ways to control the pain, too. They include:

TENS : You use a device that shoots tiny electrical currents into the area of pain on the skin. This helps block the pain.

Cold packs: Try a gel-filled one to numb the area unless cooler objects make your neuralgia worse.

Comfortable clothes: Go for looser fits and fabrics such as cotton and silk.

What Are The Risk Factors For Postherpetic Neuralgia

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Age is a high-risk factor for postherpetic neuralgia. The older a person is when shingles develops, the more likely it is that the individual will develop postherpetic neuralgia. People over 60 years of age have about a 60% chance, while people 70 or older have about a 75% chance, of developing postherpetic neuralgia after getting shingles.

People with a family history of close relatives who developed postherpetic neuralgia are at a higher risk of developing this painful condition.

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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.

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Management Of Herpes Zoster And Postherpetic Neuralgia

SETH JOHN STANKUS, MAJ, MC, USA, MICHAEL DLUGOPOLSKI, MAJ, MC, USA, and DEBORAH PACKER, MAJ, MC, USA, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia

Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 15 61:2437-2444.

Patient information: See related handout on shingles, written by the authors of this article.

Herpes zoster results from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. Unlike varicella , herpes zoster is a sporadic disease with an estimated lifetime incidence of 10 to 20 percent. The incidence of herpes zoster increases sharply with advancing age, roughly doubling in each decade past the age of 50 years. Herpes zoster is uncommon in persons less than 15 years old. In a recent study,1 patients more than 55 years of age accounted for more than 30 percent of herpes zoster cases despite representing only 8 percent of the study population. In this same study, children less than 14 years old represented only 5 percent of herpes zoster cases.

The normal age-related decrease in cell-mediated immunity is thought to account for the increased incidence of varicella-zoster virus reactivation. Patients with disease states that affect cell-mediated immunity, such as human immunodeficiency virus infection and certain malignancies, are also at increased risk. Chronic corticosteroid use, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may increase the risk of developing herpes zoster.

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What Causes Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia begins when the virus that causes chickenpox affects an individual. After having chickenpox, the virus remains in the body forever. The virus can reactivate, usually decades later, and produce shingles lesions. The reactivation of the virus is thought to be due to stress on the body from either another infection or if the patients immune system is compromised that allows the virus to escape the nerve cells.

The nerve fibers damaged from the chickenpox virus are unable to transmit normal sensation messages from the skin to the brain. Instead, the sensation messages become confused and exaggerated, causing chronic, often excruciating, pain that can last months or even years. However, postherpetic neuralgia does not occur in everyone who suffers from shingles.

How Can I Make The Neuropathic Pain Go Away

New treatment for the pain of shingles

Neuropathic pain occurs biochemically, making it a very fluid system that can often be quickly modified, resulting in pain relief. Many different chemicals in your body may be involved in your pain, and therefore it is worth trying different types of medications to see which ones work best in your case.

For many, treating the nutritional and thyroid deficiencies and eliminating the muscle spasms, which are compressing your nerves, may be enough to eliminate your pain. Others may need to take medications to suppress the pain while we look for ways to eliminate the underlying cause.

The best way to tell which chemicals are involved in your nerve pain is to simply try different medications to see what eases your pain. Basically, it is like trying on different shoes to see what fits best. The good news is that we have a large assortment of shoes that you can try on and that are likely to help you.

It is, of course, critical to begin by eliminating the underlying causes of neuropathy and giving the nerves what they need to heal. This includes the nutritional support weve discussed. In addition, the involvement of free radicals in nerve excitation was found in 1995, supporting the use of antioxidants in nerve pain. Since that time, the antioxidant lipoic acid has been shown to be helpful in diabetic neuropathy and should be tried in other neuropathies as well. You will be amazed at how much benefit you may get over time simply from optimizing nutritional support.

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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.

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?

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Which Antiviral Medication Is Best For Shingles

The antiviral medications used to treat shingles are , , and . They are all effective at helping shingles rashes crust over and heal, and they help reduce pain as you are healing.

In head-to-head studies, a 7-day course of valacyclovir worked faster than a 7-day course of acyclovir at reducing pain. Famciclovir is equivalent to valacyclovir for healing shingles rashes and reducing pain from them. Acyclovir needs to be taken 5 times a day, while Famciclovir and valacyclovir both need to be taken 3 times a day.

Its worth noting that these antiviral medications dont prevent postherpetic neuralgia, which can happen to some people with shingles. And antiviral ointments like Zovirax will do nothing for the rash from shingles.

Characteristics Of Shingles Pain

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The varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in your nerve cells after you have chickenpox. If it reactivates, the virus travels through a nerve path in your body. Common descriptions of shingles symptoms include sensitivity to touch, itching, and nerve pain.

Cases of shingles often begin with a strange, tingling sensation in your skin. Then, oozing blisters develop. You can transmit the virus to people who havent had chickenpox at this stage if they come in contact with the blisters.

Once the blisters crust over, others cant get the virus. People who have had chickenpox cant catch the virus from others, because its already in their bodies.

The blistering patches characteristic of shingles usually appear on one side of your torso, wrapping around your waist. In rare cases, the rash may develop on one side of your face. Pain and blistering may last for several weeks.

Over-the-counter medications are generally ineffective for shingles. Depending on the severity of your condition, steroid or antidepressant medication can help manage symptoms until the blisters clear up.

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Natural Remedies To Relieve Shingles Pain Outbreaks

Shingles pain can be excruciating. Thankfully, most people who experience a shingles outbreak only do so one time. However, others have recurrences. There is no cure for shingles, but there are antiviral medications that can speed the healing process. Shingles vaccination also is available to adults aged 50 and older to help prevent initial outbreaks among those at the highest risk for them.

Modern medicine is not the only solution for treating shingles pain and preventing future outbreaks. Naturopaths and doctors agree that natural treatments for shingles can help with both discomfort and relapses. If youre among the people who prefer natural alternatives for treating common conditions, this article provides information on the most effective natural treatments for shingles.

What Causes Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus . It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Individuals who recover from chickenpox can have the virus lay dormant in their systems for years. Doctors dont know why, but roughly 1 out of every 3 people who had chickenpox later have the virus reactivate as shingles.

How Common is Shingles?

For 1 out of 10 people, nerve pain postherpetic neuralgia can last for months or even years after the initial outbreak. It is one of the most common shingles complications. Age increases the risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia.

Can You Get Shingles More Than Once?

Doctor Recommendations for Shingles

What You Can Do About Nerve Pain That Lingers After Shingles

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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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.

How Common Is Postherpetic Neuralgia

Pain relief from shingles

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.

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Postherpetic Neuralgia

Common postherpetic neuralgia symptoms include:

  • Burning, sharp, jagging or aching pain in the area where the shingles rash appeared.
  • Itchiness or numbness at or near the area of the former rash.
  • Pain that is constant or comes and goes. Pain typically lasts, on average, for three months after the rash has healed, but can last for more than a year or longer.
  • Pain at affected skin area can be brought on even with a light touch .
  • Pain gets worse at night or in heat or cold temperatures.

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I Think I Have Shingles What Should I Do

Repeat after me: Call your doctor right away, within 72 hours. The earlier the better.

You should start taking an antiviral medication, preferably valacyclovir or famciclovir, within 72 hours of your symptoms starting to help reduce the severity of the infection, how long your skin rash lasts, and how painful it gets. If its been more than 72 hours, you should still talk to your provider. Treatment can still help, especially if you still see new rashes showing up.

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Who Is At Risk For Postherpetic Neuralgia

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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.

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