(Pain after Shingles)
Post-herpetic neuralgia is a complication from infection with the varicella zoster virus (a virus more commonly associated with chicken pox). When an outbreak of herpes zoster (more commonly known as shingles) occurs, nerve damage can occur at the site, resulting in a burning pain significant enough to interfere with sleeping and appetite. While the herpes zoster outbreak typically clears up within a few weeks, the neuralgia can persist long after the rash and blisters have disappeared. In some cases, the post-herpetic neuralgia has persisted for months or even years after the outbreak has subsided.
Generally, the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia increases with age, particularly those individuals over the age of 60. However, prior to the age of 50 years, there is practically no risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia. The risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia increases to 50% after 60 years of age, then increases to 75% after 75 years of age.
—Severe herpes zoster (shingles) rash
—Severe acute pain
—Presence of a prodrome - symptoms preceding the rash by 1 to 4 days
The persistent pain resulting from post-herpetic neuralgia can drastically reduce a patient's quality of life. Currently, there are various treatments available (usually through off-label usage of existing medications), but treating post-herpetic neuralgia can be a difficult, and long, process. Fortunately, if antiviral medications are administered within 72 hours of an outbreak, the risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia is reduced by 50%.
—Sensitivity to light touch
—Itching and numbness
—Weakness of paralysis (relatively rare)
Thankfully, the symptoms of post-herpetic neuralgia are typically limited to the area of the initial outbreak. It will not spread to other areas of your body that have not already been affected by the varicella zoster virus.Quality of life can be improved through the appropriate use of pain management treatments and managing the symptoms of post-herpetic neuralgia. Proper management of symptoms is the first step in reclaiming your quality of life.
If you, or someone you know, suffer from Post-herpetic neuralgia, and is interested in volunteering for one of our many studies, please do not hesitate to call us. Or if it is more convenient for you, please fill out a questionnaire, and we will contact you as soon as possible.
We believe that everyone deserves a better quality of life, and a greater understanding of Post-herpetic neuralgia is the first step in developing improved treatments for patients suffering from Post-herpetic neuralgia.