Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Can You Do For Nerve Pain From Shingles

How Long Does Nerve Pain Last After Shingles

How to treat 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.

Best Treatments For Lasting Shingles Pain

Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain: What Works, What Doesn’t

Doctors call it postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. It’s caused by nerve damage left behind by a case of shingles. Shingles itself comes from reactivation of a chickenpox virus, varicella zoster. The virus travels down nerve fibers to cause a painful skin rash.

When the rash goes away, the pain usually goes with it. But for 12% to 15% of people the pain remains. If your shingles pain lasts eight to 12 weeks after the rash goes away, you’re part of an “unfortunate minority,” says pain researcher Andrew S.C. Rice, MD, of Imperial College, London.

“Among people with PHN, some have their pain resolve in the first year to 18 months after the shingles rash goes away,” Rice tells WebMD. “But if they have pain longer than that, it is not going to go away on its own. In either case, a person must deal with the pain.”

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Shingles

Shingles typically affects older people, but it can also occur in healthy younger persons and even in children. Those whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer, HIV infection, AIDS, or treatment with certain medicines are also at increased risk of getting shingles.

  • Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles later in life. About 1 in 3 people who have not been immunised against chickenpox or shingles will get shingles in their lifetime.
  • Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease. People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk of getting more severe disease, even if they are young.
  • Women have a higher risk of getting shingles than men.
  • Most people who develop shingles have only 1 episode during their lifetime. However, you can have shingles more than once.

An attack of shingles during pregnancy will not harm the unborn baby. The mother is already carrying the varicella zoster virus before developing shingles and there is no increase in the risk of passing it on to the fetus if shingles develops. However, an attack of chickenpox during pregnancy can be serious and requires urgent medical attention.

Recommended Reading: What Are Shingles Made Of

How To Treat Nerve Pain Caused By Shingles

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 31 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 84% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 88,320 times.

Pain Management For Postherpetic Neuralgia

Shingles Treatment in Donegal

Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles, which is caused by the chickenpox virus. The condition affects nerve fibers and skin, causing a burning pain that lasts long after the rash and blisters of shingles disappear. There is no known cure for postherpetic neuralgia, but the pain management experts at Novus Spine & Pain in Lakeland, Florida can help you manage the pain.

Recommended Reading: What Causes The Shingles Virus To Reactivate

Treatment Of Herpes Zoster

The treatment of herpes zoster has three major objectives: treatment of the acute viral infection, treatment of the acute pain associated with herpes zoster and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia. Antiviral agents, oral corticosteroids and adjunctive individualized pain-management modalities are used to achieve these objectives.

S To Maximize Efficacy Of Prednisone

While you are taking prednisone, you should take it with food in order to reduce side effects like nausea. Follow an effective diet plan to keep your weight maintained, as Prednisone can sometimes increase your hunger, due to which you end up eating more. As prednisone can lead to loss of vitamin D and calcium, you may be prescribed some supplements to go along too.

Regular blood tests may be taken to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine and to decrease or increase your dosage as needed. When you are treated completely, prednisone is not stopped abruptly, and needs a gradual reduction in dosage. Sudden stopping of the medicine can lead to serious side effects in the long run. So, whatever you do, always talk to your doctor beforehand. Remember to read about the symptoms of withdrawal from prednisone, as it is common for people to develop dependency when taking this drug.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How Long Does it Take for Prednisone to Work, we recommend you visit our Drugs & supplements category.

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Hearing Loss And Facial Weakness

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.

Treatment For Lingering Shingles Pain

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

Most cases of shingles clear up within a month or so. After you have shingles, its unlikely that youll get it again. But as we mentioned above, some people develop PHN, a complication that follows shingles. Older people, women, and those who had more severe shingles symptoms seem to be at higher risk of developing PHN, but its not clear why others never develop it.

Nerve blocks are injections containing local anesthetic to numb nerves contributing to PHN pain. Other minimally invasive treatments include nerve ablation and steroid injections to treat inflammation related to shingles.

We offer several nonaddictive prescription medications for nerve pain. Oral antidepressants or membrane stabilizers can reduce symptoms of PHN. For some people, topical medication like capsaicin cream can temporarily relieve pain.

You dont have to turn to addictive opioid pain medications if you have shingles pain. Dr. Soin and our team are here to help you find relief with a personalized treatment plan, whether its nerve-blocking injections or medication.

If you still have nerve pain after shingles, you dont have to suffer in silence. in Centerville or Beavercreek, Ohio, or book an appointment online to learn more about the PHN treatment that could be right for you.

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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

Preventing Nerve Pain After Shingles

But if you’re worried about PHN, don’t despair. There are medications that can cut your risks of getting the condition. There are three antiviral drugs used: famciclovir , valacyclovir , and acyclovir . These medications need to be started within two to three days of the onset of shingles.

“If you look at the clinical trials with any of these drugs in people over 50,” says Dworkin, “they cut the rate of pain at six months in half. That’s a very significant improvement.” They are also very safe and have few side effects, he says.

But who needs the drugs? Dworkin says there’s not a clear consensus yet.

There are some obvious cases. “I think everyone would agree that someone who is over 50 and has severe symptoms should get preventative treatment,” he tells WebMD.

But for younger people or those with fewer risk factors, the course is less clear.

“Some people think that everyone who gets shingles should get preventative treatment with antiviral medicines, because the medicines are so safe and have such few side effects,” he says.

Others argue that preventative treatment should only be given to those at greater risk. The main reason for this, Dworkin says, is cost.

“A full course of treatment could cost anywhere between $100 and $160,” he says. “That can add up, and insurance companies might not want to pay if the risks are very, very low.”

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Rebooting The Nervous System

Its like restarting a computer, Dr. Rosenquist says. When its running slowly or acting weird, you restart it. We are trying to turn that nerve off. When it comes back on, hopefully, it will send an appropriate transmission as opposed to a pain transmission.

Treatmentoptions for PHN patients include:

  • Intercostal nerve blocks: A local anesthetic can be injected between two ribs.
  • Thoracic epidural injections: Anti-inflammatory medicine can be injected into the space around the spinal cord to decrease nerve root inflammation and reduce pain.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: Medications such as amitriptyline may be used to relieve pain.
  • Membrane stabilizers: Medications such as gabapentin can be used to reduce the pain associated with PHN.
  • Capsaicin cream: This topical cream can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain temporarily.
  • Patientswith refractory PHN rarely need opioid pain medication. However,you should be evaluated by a physician. We cant make a blanket statement abouttreatment. It is individualized, she says.

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    What You Can Do About Nerve Pain That Lingers After Shingles

    Shingles and Shingrix

    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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    Study Assesses Relief Options Against Shingles Pain

    • Study Assesses Relief Options Against Shingles Pain

    The painkiller oxycodone is effective at treating the acute pain of shingles, an illness that often causes severe pain which can become long-lasting and sometimes even permanent.

    The study, published in the April issue of the journal Pain, is one of the first to carefully evaluate different methods to relieve pain during a course of shingles, which many patients say causes the worst pain they have ever experienced. Effective pain treatment is crucial. Not only can the pain of shingles disrupt peoples quality of life, but it is also possible that the less effectively the pain is treated, the more likely it will become a long-term problem that can change a persons life forever.

    Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same bug that causes chicken pox, and only people who have had chicken pox are vulnerable to shingles. About 20 to 30 percent of people will get shingles at some point in their lives the odds climb to 50 percent for people who live to the age of 85.

    For most patients, the first symptom of the infection is pain, quickly followed by a rash where the pain first appeared. The rash appears most often on one side of the chest or face, oftentimes causing dozens of small pimple-sized lesions. Some patients also get flu-like symptoms like a headache and lethargy. The illness usually lasts about three or four weeks.

    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

    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?

    Management Of Herpes Zoster And Postherpetic Neuralgia

    New treatment for the pain of shingles

    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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    See A Pain Management Specialist

    Sometimes the nerve pain is just too intense to manage on your own. If youre experiencing moderate to severe shingles pain, see a pain management specialist for treatment options to help you stay comfortable while you heal.

    If youre suffering from shingles related pain and nerve damage, we can help. For more information, contact Republic Spine and Pain to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Austin, Georgetown, or Lakeway, Texas.

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