Shingles are a viral infection associated with an uncomfortable or painful rash. It often appears as a stripe of blisters that wraps around your torso. The same virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. For some people, postherpetic neuralgia develops after having shingles; it typically occurs because of damaged nerve fibers.
Common symptoms of shingles include:
Symptoms that can occur due to post-shingles postherpetic neuralgia include:
Pain that appears because of postherpetic neuralgia is similar to discomfort you experience during a shingles outbreak.
While anyone can develop shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, some factors increase your risk of getting them.
Shingles often affect adults over 45, and about half of people over age 60 have had the condition. Additional risk factors include having a weak immune system, undergoing cancer treatment, and taking certain medications.
Risk factors for developing post-shingles postherpetic neuralgia include:
Sometimes your nerves become permanently damaged after having shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia could last 2-3 years or longer in some cases.
Your pain specialist diagnoses postherpetic neuralgia after reviewing your symptoms and medical history. They complete a physical exam and may touch your skin in specific places, take a skin scraping, or recommend that you undergo blood tests.
To reduce postherpetic neuralgia discomfort, your specialist might recommend one or more of the following:
Your specialist might combine more than one type of treatment to offer you highly effective pain relief. They personalize each postherpetic neuralgia treatment and make changes to your regimen if needed to offer long-lasting comfort.
Shingles vaccinations can significantly reduce your risk of postherpetic neuralgia. They appear to be more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and post-shingles pain.
If you struggle with post-shingles discomfort (postherpetic neuralgia), call the Interventional Pain Management Associates office or schedule an appointment online today.