The same virus that causes chicken pox, varicella zoster, can stay in your system, manifesting as painful shingles later in life. Post-herpatic neuralgia, a chronic painful condition can result after a shingles outbreak. Proper information can be helpful to treat and even prevent this condition.

Anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles but it’s more commonly seen in patients who are older, have an illness or stress or a weakened immune system. Those over 60 are more likely to experience post herpatic neuralgia. People with face or torso outbreaks or chronic illness like diabetes are also at risk. Those given antiviral medications immediately after an outbreak had the best outcomes.

Shingles manifest as painful rashes and blisters that can last 2-4 weeks. Due to damage to nerve fibers caused by shingles, post hepatic neuralgia can last long after blisters and rashes are gone. The pain is characterized by a sharp jabbing sensation and causes the skin to be sensitive to touch.

A vaccine has been approved for those over 60, even those who have already experienced shingles.the vaccine has been shown to prevent both shingles and neuralgia. If pain does develop, multiple treatment approaches are suggested. Skin patches, creams and anticonvulsants can treat the pain, in some limited cases opioids can help but isn’t always recommended. Severe cases can also be managed with spinal cord stimulation or nerve blocks can help.

Key Points:

  • 1Stress and a weak immune system can increase the chance of shingles.
  • 2The best course of action is to get a shingles vaccine.
  • 3There are a variety of methods to help relieve symptoms of shingles.


Chickenpox has an evil counterpart in shingles, a much more sinister outbreak caused by the same varicella-zoster virus.

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