Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

What is Shingles Pain?
Shingles is a viral infection, much like chicken pox, caused by the varicella-zoster virus. If a person has ever had chickenpox, the virus still lingers in the nerve tissue of the spinal cord and brain. When the virus reactivates as shingles, it is excruciatingly painful and can become chronic if treatment isn’t promptly applied.

How Does Shingles Pain Develop?
Shingles pain is localized, usually radiating around the rash that develops. Pain can range from mild to severe, with many patients describing the feeling of dull, burning, and gnawing pain. Other symptoms associated with shingles pain include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness, tingling
  • A red rash
  • Itching
  • Blisters that break open and crust
  • Fever/chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Achiness

What Treatments Can Help Relieve Shingles Pain?
While there is no cure for shingles pain, prescription medication is widely utilized for treatment. These medications include:

  • Acyclovir
  • Valacyclovir
  • Famciclovir 
  • A combination of medication and injections, depending on the severity of the patient’s pain

Because shingles is such a painful condition, your physician may also recommend anticonvulsant medication and numbing agents (i.e. lidocaine).