People who continue to feel pain long after the rash and blisters heal are experiencing a pain called postherpetic neuralgia which basically is damage to their nerve fibers caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus. Nerve fibers essentially send messages from the skin to the brain. Damaged Nerve fibers due to shingles are not able to send messages to the spinal cord as they normally do and it is believed that the body may perceive these “mixed messages” as pain signals.
Age and PHN are related. Older people are more susceptible to PHN. PHN usually does not develop in people under age 50. Over 40% of patients with shingles age 60 or older develop PHN. After the shingles rash has healed, 75% of people over age 70 have pain at 1 month, and 50% still have pain after 1 year.
Treatments for postherpetic neuralgia depends on the type of phn pain you experience. Generally for~post herpetic neuralgia these include:
> Drugs that inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin
> Certain anticonvulsants
> Injected steroids
> Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
> Spinal cord or peripheral nerve stimulation.
> Lidocaine skin patches
There are even some alternate remedies that have been tried by those suffering from PHN such as hypnosis, acupuncture, diluted apple cider vinegar, colustrum and vitamin B5.
Two highly effective alternative medicine treatments for PHN pain are Menastil and EZ Pain Relief. Both are nonnarcotic, nonaddictive topical solutions that effectively penetrate the skin to reach the inflamed area to cause the nerve ends to relax and allow the blood and oxygen to flow back into the painful area to effectively cutoff the pain signal to the spinal cord and therefore to the brain. You still have the PHN condition, since these products are not cures, but you will not feel substantially less pain with the use of either of these products.
Multiple pain relief treatment regimens as notated above for postherpetic neuralgia generally brings complete pain relief.
But most people still experience some pain no matter what the treatment, and a few don’t get any relief at all. Although some people will live with postherpetic neuralgia the rest of their lives, most people can expect the condition to gradually disappear during the first three months. For about 10 percent to 20 percent of people with postherpetic neuralgia, the pain may persist for a year or more.