FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter November 2003
Shingles and Post Herpetic Neuralgia
Shingles is a painful disease. It starts with a painful and very tender rash with blisters. A quarter of cases occur in the face. It is more common in the elderly and in people whose resistance is low because of illness or stress. It is caused by the chickenpox virus, which remains dormant in the body after the chickenpox infection. Roughly 20 percent of those diagnosed with shingles go on to suffer long-lasting pain from post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition that can be more painful than shingles. Although most people suffer with shingles for about a month, the pain and skin sensitivity can continue for months or even years in some patients with PHN. Shingles can be treated with antiviral medication provided it is given within 3 days of the rash appearing. There are some studies that show that this may not reduce the frequency of PHN.
At Complementary Medicine we have helped people from age 4 to 90 with the pain of shingles and PHN. We use a combination of acupuncture and high frequency lymphatic drainage. If we can start treatment of shingles during the active lesion phase most of the time we reduce or eliminate the pain in 2 or 3 visits. PHN may take longer depending on how long the pt. has had it and how much nerve damage has been done. We are starting to use the cold laser for more chronic pain suffering. So the earlier we start treating the better.
Dr. Glenn and Julie Smith