The pain of shingles

Posted June, 2008

Shingles is an outbreak of a rash or blisters on the skin that may also cause severe or debilitating pain. The pain generally affects only one side of the body or face. It's caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus, the same virus that causes Chickenpox. As we age, the virus (which lies apparently dormant in the body for long periods) can reappear in the form of shingles.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that two of every ten persons are affected by shingles during their lifetime. About a half-million people a year are attacked by this painful ailment in the United States.

Although it's most common in people over the age of 50, anyone who's had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Shingles is also more common in people with weakened immune systems, such as what happens as a result of HIV infection, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, transplant operations, and even emotional stress.

The early signs of shingles include a burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching. The rash or blisters are present anywhere from one to 14 days.

If Shingles lesions appears on the face, the disease can lead to complications in hearing and vision. For example, if shingles affects an eye, the cornea may become infected, and this can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.

Another common complication of being infected with the shingles virus—and one with which we are well equipped treat at Robb Pain Management Group—is called Postherpetic Neuralgia (or PHN).

In this type of disease the pain from shingles persists for months, sometimes years, even after the rash or blisters have healed.

If you suffer from this painful condition and have tried other treatments with no positive results, you should contact us to arrange a consultation.

We can help relieve the pain of PHN.

Click here to read why "standard" treatments for shingles usually fail.