Shingles Pain

Shingles Pain
Shingles Pain

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus—the same virus responsible for chickenpox. While shingles typically affect older adults or individuals with weakened immune systems, it can occur in anyone with chickenpox. One of the most distressing aspects of shingles is the excruciating pain it can cause. Let’s delve into the nature of shingles pain, its causes, and potential treatment options.

Symptoms of Shingles

The symptoms of shingles often only affect a limited area on one side of your body. These signs might consist of ache, tingling, or burning, and touch sensitivity. A few days after the discomfort, a red rash appears, blisters that are fluid-filled, crack open, and then crust over, along with itching. Some individuals also go through symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue and light sensitivity. The suffering can be excruciating for some people. The discomfort may be confused for issues with the heart, lungs, or kidneys depending on where it is located.

Even though they never get the rash, some patients nevertheless feel shingles agony. The shingles rash most frequently manifests as a band of blisters that wraps across the left or right side of the chest.  Also, on one side of the neck, face, or around one eye, the shingles rash might appear.

(Mayo Clinic)

Factors Influencing Shingles Pain

Several factors contribute to the intensity and persistence of shingles pain. Mayo Clinic suggests that age plays a role, as older individuals tend to experience more severe pain. Additionally, a weakened immune system and certain underlying health conditions can increase the risk and severity of shingles pain. The location of the rash is also significant, with lesions closer to the face or eyes often resulting in more intense pain due to the involvement of highly sensitive nerves. (Mayo Clinic)

Problems Caused by Shingles

Shingles can result in additional complications. Most often occurring shingles consequence is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). In the regions where you had the shingles outbreak, it creates excruciating pain. Usually, it improves within a few weeks or months. But PHN discomfort can last for years in some people, which can make daily life difficult. If shingles impact your eye, vision loss may result. It could be either transitory or ongoing. If you have shingles within or close to your ear, you might experience issues with your hearing or balance. The muscles on that side of your face may also be weak. These issues may be transient or ongoing. Very infrequently, shingles can also result in pneumonia, encephalitis, or even death. (Medline Plus)

Diagnosis and Treatment of Shingles

Your doctor will do a thorough physical examination and inquire about your medical history, including whether you’ve ever had chickenpox. Based on the distinctive rash, your healthcare professional may probably recognize shingles immediately. Usually, only one part of the body or face may develop the rash. It manifests as red patches, tiny vesicles filled with fluid or pus, or scabs. Skin scrapings for testing may also be taken by the medical professional.

Fortunately, there are several therapeutic options available to control shingles discomfort and encourage recovery.  Antiviral drugs, which can lessen the length and intensity of the rash and, as a result, lessen discomfort. To treat discomfort, doctors may also prescribe painkillers, such as prescription narcotics or prescription opiates. Additionally, topical lotions, lidocaine patches, or creams containing capsaicin can reduce localized discomfort. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or nerve blocks could occasionally be suggested to treat severe or persistent pain. (John Hopkins Medicine)

Shingles Can Be an Emergency

Shingles pain can be an agonizing experience that extends beyond the duration of the rash. Understanding the causes and treatment options for shingles pain is crucial for individuals affected by this condition. Antiviral medications, pain relief medications, and various topical treatments are available to manage pain and promote healing. If you suspect you may have shingles, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly to reduce the risk of complications and find relief from the pain.

Works Cited

“Shingles.” Shingles | Johns Hopkins Medicine,

“Shingles.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Aug. 2022,

“Shingles | Herpes Zoster.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine,,cause%20problems%20for%20many%20years.

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