You have a new patient… They don’t have the shingles rash…at least not yet… But they do have:
- Nerve pain of unknown origin;
- Highly sensitive, tingling or burning skin;
- Pain in the left side of the chest and heart attack has been ruled out;
- Pain in the neck or back that begins to radiate down one limb or around your chest;
- Body aches, fever and chills and flu and meningitis have been eliminated as a diagnosis.
They could very well be in the early stages of shingles. Before that nasty shingles rash appears. Once you do a thorough examination and determine exactly where their nerve pain originates, congratulate them for being so proactive and getting a head start on treatment. Shingles is not life threatening but it is extremely painful. And, without proper treatment early on, your shingles patient could develop postherpetic neuropathy caused by damage to the nerves in the area affected by shingles. By getting to you early, they’ve significantly lessened their chances of developing postherpetic neuropathy. To lessen the possibility of postherpetic neuropathy, early treatment is a must.
If you actually manage to start treatment for the shingles patient before the shingles rash appears, the first step should be to alleviate their pain as much as possible. Then evaluate their spine and the skeletal system paying particular attention to the area where they’re experiencing pain. Chances are, the patient’s nerves are being affected by joint dysfunction or subluxation. Once you care for their spine and take some of the pressure off the affected nerves, you can begin to realign the skeletal system so that the nerves are not being adversely affected. That will not only help with their immediate pain, it will decrease the chance of long term nerve damage leading to postherpetic neuralgia. In addition to a chiropractic adjustment and/or physical therapy to realign the spine and support proper functioning of the nervous system, provide a nutrition plan to give your patient’s body what it needs to heal.
Stress Management is Vital
Just as your shingles patients need the right diet in order to heal, they need to get plenty of rest and avoid stress as much as possible. Provide them with counseling and educational materials to help them learn to utilize stress management tools to help avoid or limit stress. The effects of stress can make a bad medical situation even worse. Some suggested techniques are:
- Exercising regularly.
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga or meditation. Any of these will calm the mind and, in turn, calm the body and nerves.
- Finding a hobby that will take the mind off postherpetic neuropathy pain.
The Final Step in Nerve Protection/Repair
Once you’ve begun the adjustment process for your shingles patient, they’re eating the proper diet to support their body and their stress is under control, the final step is repair of any nerve damage. This is where the treatment protocol we have developed can move the healing process along quickly. This allows the nerves to communicate again and that, in itself, starts the process of reversing the damage of peripheral neuropathy. As an added bonus, this treatment protocol can be used in the patient’s own home, on their own, once you’ve started the treatment and established a base line for them to build on. This will be particularly helpful if the patient actually develops postherpetic neuropathy and prolonged treatment is needed.
The combination of manual therapy, nutrition, stress management and nerve stimulation is showing great promise in helping shingles patients and those unfortunate enough to develop postherpetic neuropathy return to a pain free life, without the long term debilitating effects of postherpetic neuropathy.
We hope this information helps you implement a strong protocol for treating the postherpetic neuropathy patient.
When you are ready to provide these services, let them know you’re there to help them.