If you have a painful rash, it is usually a sign of shingles. Herpes zoster, commonly referred to as shingles, is caused by the chicken pox virus, so the rash-like symptoms are similar; however, shingles usually occurs in a smaller area of one side of the body. In most cases, this condition affects older people or those with a poor immune system. No cure exists for this viral infection, but shingles treatment includes medications, such as antivirals, pain relievers, antibiotics, and steroids.
The rash of shingles will heal and go away, but sometimes the pain that comes with the rash will linger. If pain continues after treatment for the rash, you may have postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Symptoms include headaches, pain, and nerve problems, and the condition can last from one month to many years. Older patients, those over 50 years, who have significant pain and rash with shingles are most likely to acquire post herpetic neuralgia. Treatment for post herpetic neuralgia includes medications such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids for pain relief. Qutenza, topical capsacin (which is what makes hot sauces hot), is a new, very effective treatment to post herpetic neuralgia. With treatment, symptoms may subside in about one year. Our doctors will consult with you, review your records, perform an exam, and help you find appropriate therapy for shingles treatment.
At The Helm Center, we use contemporary techniques to diagnose and treat your pain. You may call us today to schedule your consultation with one of our specialists.