But first, what are shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox, varicella-zoster. It is characterized by a painful, blistery rash that may occur anywhere in your body but usually appears in a band-like or belt-like pattern around your torso. The infection generally starts with tingling or burning pain in the affected area, followed by a rash that develops into painful blisters in just a few days. The rash may take three to five weeks to clear.
How do you contract shingles?
The varicella-zoster can spread through direct contact with fluid from the shingles rash blisters. This virus can cause chickenpox in an individual who never had the infection nor received the necessary vaccine. It can also cause shingles in those who were previously infected by chickenpox. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus remains in your nerve tissue. It may be inactive for decades before it develops or reappears as shingles.
Why is shingles painful? And how long does the pain last?
When you have shingles, the virus infiltrates your nerve fibers, resulting in a painful skin rash. When the rash and blisters clear, the pain usually fades shortly thereafter. But in some cases, this doesn’t happen.
Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles causing damage in nerve fibers. Damaged nerve fibers can no longer communicate clearly with your brain, sending pain signals even if the shingles rash has already faded. The result is a potentially excruciating pain that can affect your health and life for months to years.
What are the symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia?
The symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia are often localized to the site where the shingles rash occurred and may include:
Sharp, burning pain that occurs even after the shingles rash has healed
Extreme sensitivity to touch, which may occur even when clothing touches the affected area
Itching and numbness at the site where the rash appeared
Why get treated at The Neuropathy Center?
You may have tried several pain medications, and yet, the shingles pain recurs. At The Neuropathy Center, we understand the difficulties of dealing with persistent pain and the side effects that may come with traditional oral medications. These medications can result in substance dependence and other problems.
We modify the traditional methods to provide innovative shingles nerve pain treatment. Our treatment plan combines nerve block medication with cryotherapy. With this approach, we get to pinpoint the damaged nerves and promote their natural healing through increased blood circulation.
Our center is located in Long Beach, but we welcome patients from Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Many patients reported significant improvements after they let us help them manage their shingles pain.