Shingles is a recurrence of the virus varicella-zoster. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox – later returning once the virus has subsided the first time, or a chickenpox vaccine was given. Shingles can be brought on by many factors, and only occurs in about 10% of adults that previously had the virus.
What Causes Shingles:
While the chickenpox virus remains in the body after experiencing chickenpox as a child, there are a few factors that increase an adult’s risk for shingles. Some of these factors can be controlled by staying active and eating healthy to stay healthy. Issues like stress, illness or trauma may bring on Shingles. Age (especially those over 50) and a weakened immune system (such as those with cancer or HIV) cannot be controlled. It is even possible to get Shingles after you’ve already had it.
What is Shingles Like?
At first, you may experience chills, a fever or headache and tiredness. Then, Shingles appears on the body as a band of rashes that are pink and bumpy. Usually, you’ll find them along the trunk of the body, but they could be anywhere on the body. These bumps may become itchy, get broken open then scab over. You cannot spread Shingles, but you could spread chickenpox through direct contact with the fluid that comes from the blisters.
What is Postherpetic Neuralgia?
Some people who get Shingles still experience pain even once the virus seems to subside and the blisters have disappeared. This pain may become chronic, and ranges in severity from person-to-person. This is called Postherpetic Neuralagia. It can be treated using pain relief creams, or over-the-counter medications. In some circumstances, pain relief may best come from a nerve block like an Intercostal Nerve Block for rib and chest pain or a Lumbar Sympathetic Block for leg and foot pain.
If you have suffered from Shingles, and feel you may be experiencing chronic pain as a result, then please give us a call to determine the best path to pain relief.