Shingles Pain – What Are the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment?

One hardly ever equates lower back pain with herpes zoster or shingles. However, when there are wounds in the lumbar region brought on by this infectious disease, intense and debilitating pain is sure to be experienced. This problem is known as Postherpetic Neuralgia, and the pain caused from this condition is called Shingles Pain.

What is Herpes Zoster?

A contagious disease, herpes zoster is brought on by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VCV). In patients who have experienced chickenpox when they were young, the virus would infect the dorsal root ganglia of the nerves where it would stay in a latent state. Shingles will occur when this dormant virus is activated by some unknown process. While herpes zoster may appear at all ages, it mostly spotted in adults and particularly in the elderly.

Signs and Symptoms of Herpes Zoster

Within the dermatome of the skin, vesicular eruptions will develop, similar to chickenpox but without the rash, and these will develop unilaterally or on one side. However, unlike chickenpox which is itchy, the wounds of herpes zoster are excruciatingly agonizing, generally because they follow the nerve branches within the dermatome. Dermatome areas that are frequently associated in shingles are T-3 to L-3 and the lower back. Quite often, even before the lesions turn up after 48 to 72 hours, pain will be experienced within the dermatome as the condition begins to occur. The pain at this stage is called Acute Neuritis.

Although timeframe of the disease is between 7 to 10 days, it may take as long as 2 to 4 weeks before the skin returns to normal health and pain disappears.

How Shingles Pain Develops

From Acute Neuritis to Postherpetic Neuralgia. After several months or years that the disease has been resolved, 50% instances of herpes zoster patients, who are 50 years old and above, can manifest this illness yet again. This is referred to as Postherpetic Neuralgia.

Quite rare in younger age groups, postherpetic neuralgia is the most unbearable complication of herpes zoster and it can manifest in both normal and immunocompromised people. This problem is largely an ailment of the elderly. Hypesthesia and hyperesthesia, which are the decrease and irregular boost of sensitivity to sensory stimuli, respectively, may also be experienced in the damaged dermatome, apart from the severe unbearable pain.

How to Treat Shingles Pain

At the beginning of the ailment, famciclover, a medication of choice for herpes zoster, is provided to prevent further problems of postherpetic neuralgia.

It can be very difficult to manage a patient experiencing postherpetic neuralgia. For some patients, non-prescription NSAIDs will help reduce the problem while for others tougher narcotic types utilized in collaboration with tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and fluphenazine are needed to reduce the situation. Cautious patient monitoring is critical though to protect against drug reliance.

Pain relief for 4 to 12 hours may be given with the application of lidocaine skin patches. Not only will it ease acute neuritis, corticosteroids may also be used to protect against the occurrence of postherpetic neuralgia. Made by Merck, the vaccine Zostavax is not only effective for shingles but it can also protect against postherpetic neuralgia. It is best to administer Zostavax to individuals above the age of 60.

Presently, when it comes to shingles, there are so many treatment choices out there. When a valuable remedy is seen, it could supply profound alleviation for shingles pain for the rest of their lives.