Shingles Pain Treatment

There are millions of cases of shingles across the world each year and approximately 3 in every 1000 people of the UK will develop the virus, with that number rising to 11 in 1000 for people over the age of 50.

Shingles is caused by a virus known as herpes varicella-zoster which is reactivated after lying dormant in the sensory nervous system following a bout of chickenpox; the virus causes a nerve infection which causes pain and a rash along the route of the affected nerve. While there is no cure for shingles, there are shingles pain treatment methods as-well as other forms of medication that can be prescribed by doctors to help ease the symptoms over 2-4 weeks that the virus lasts.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

If you begin to show signs of developing the virus then it is important to see a doctor or GP immediately so that you can begin shingles pain treatment for the condition. Common signs of the virus begin before any rash appears, these may include:

  • A general feeling of being un-well
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Tingling and burning sensations in the affected area
  • Tenderness in the affected area
  • High temperature (fever)


These symptoms can last several days before any spots appear. When spots do appear they are red and raised; in most cases they appear on the chest, abdomen or on the left of right side of the upper body, it is also possible to be affected by shingles on the face and neck. The red spots last for several days before turning to blisters which are filled with a liquid. Blisters will eventually dry out and scab over becoming increasingly itchy and irritable in the process.

What medication is prescribed for the pain?

Shingles pain treatment that is prescribed by a doctor of GP, will be given depending on the level of pain being felt by a patient. Mild to moderate pain can be easily eased through the use of over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, taken alongside antiviral medication to help prevent the virus from multiplying.

If mild painkillers are proving unsuccessful, a stronger painkiller may be recommend, this will usually be in the form of an opioid such as codeine or in more rare cases morphine.

A condition known as postherpetic neuralgia is a common complication of shingles and can be present both during the course of the virus and as an after-effect. Postherpetic neuralgia can cause extreme nerve pain as-well as burning, aching and itching and doctors may recommend the use of antidepressants and anticonvulsants to tackle and ease symptoms.

Antidepressants can work by affecting chemicals in the brain and the spinal cord which react to pain and dampen the sensitivity of the nerves. Anticonvulsants are also a very effective medication for shingles pain treatment and will also work by affecting nerve activity in the brain. Anticonvulsants can be given in the form of tablets or syrup, both of which are taken orally.




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