Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

post-herpetic neuralgia Houston Texas

One minute you’re a healthy and active 50-something-year-old, and the next minute you’re battling shingles. As if the painful shingle virus isn’t bad enough, you might have been dealt the unlucky hand of having to deal with post-herpetic neuralgia. On top of an agonizing rash for weeks on end due to shingles, you now have to manage debilitating nerve issues that could last for months, if not more. If you recently had the shingle virus and are still suffering from pain symptoms, medical attention is necessary for helping you to heal. The Texas Pain Care team in the Sugar Land, Missouri City and Houston areas can help you find relief and help you get back to enjoying your daily life. Get relief from post-herpetic neuralgia in Houston, Texas with our expert team.

What is Post-Herpetic Neuralgia?

Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a complication of the shingles virus, which is also known as herpes zoster. Shingles is a virus infection that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Adults who had chickenpox as a child, or those who never received the chickenpox vaccination, are highly at risk for experiencing shingles later in life. Shingles appears as a painful rash, generally on one side of the body, which turns into blisters. After the rash/blisters are treated, pain could still be present. This condition is post-herpetic neuralgia, which is a life-altering pain. 

Post-herpetic neuralgia generally occurs in the same general area where the shingles outbreak manifested. While the most common symptom is burning pain, additional symptoms can include: 

Similar to shingles, some people might experience mild symptoms while others might experience severe symptoms. The common factor is that post-herpetic neuralgia is far more painful and more life changing than shingles. 

What Causes Post-Herpetic Neuralgia?

Post-herpetic neuralgia is a result of nerve damage during a shingle infection. Depending on the severity of the shingles rash, it could damage nerve fibers in the skin where the rash occurs. The damage causes the nerves to become confused, so they send exaggerated pain signals to the brain. This means that even the slightest touch can cause excruciating pain. 

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body. If the virus becomes active, it causes shingles. About 10% to 20% of people who experience shingles will also develop post-herpetic neuralgia. 

Early treatment is crucial to avoiding post-herpetic neuralgia. Patients who seeked medical care once they first noticed (within three days) the signs and symptoms of the shingles virus and who began treatment were half as likely to develop post-herpetic neuralgia. 

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What Does Post-Herpetic Neuralgia Feel Like?

The most common symptoms of post-herpetic neuralgia include: