One-third of all adults will experience the excruciating pain of shingles in their lifetime. Up to 20% of them will go on to develop a painful complication called post-herpetic neuralgia that can last for years. When you need relief from the pain, Neel Amin, MD, at American Pain Experts in Oakland Park within Fort Lauderdale, Florida, can help. Dr. Amin has years of experience creating individualized treatments that alleviate your pain and help you enjoy life again. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, develops from the virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus stays in your body. It settles in nerves, where it stays dormant for years until it suddenly reactivates and causes shingles.
Older adults and people with a weak immune system are most likely to develop shingles. Other triggers that may increase your risk for shingles include:
When the virus reactivates, it replicates and travels from the nerve to the area of skin that’s served by that nerve.
The symptoms usually begin as a severe, burning pain along the length of the nerve. Patients may also feel a tingling sensation and develop a fever and fatigue.
In a few days, a red rash develops along the nerve, which is followed by fluid-filled blisters. The rash usually stays on one side of your body or face.
The area covered by the rash is extremely painful and hypersensitive. The rash lasts about 2-4 weeks, but your pain can continue.
Postherpetic neuralgia is a common complication of shingles in which your pain lasts after the rash heals. Whether your pain feels sharp, burning, or aching, it’s usually severe. Many patients find the pain to be debilitating.
You may also become hypersensitive and find that even the light touch of clothing is painful. Though not as common, postherpetic neuralgia can also cause itching and numbness.
It’s important to get medical attention for shingles as quickly as possible. Antiviral medications can reduce your pain and may lower your risk of postherpetic neuralgia, but they’re most effective when you take them before or shortly after the rash appears.
As an expert in pain medicine, Dr. Amin offers several treatments that can help patients with shingles or postherpetic neuralgia find relief from their symptoms, including:
Dr. Amin practices integrative medicine, so he considers a range of potential treatments that can relieve the pain of shingles or postherpetic neuralgia. For example, he may recommend acupuncture, a safe treatment that often reduces the pain.
If you need relief from the severe pain of shingles or postherpetic neuralgia, call American Pain Experts or schedule an appointment online.