Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a chronic pain condition that affects nerve fibers and skin from shingles, a viral infection (herpes zoster) that produces a painful blistering rash on parts of the body.
PHN is considered a common complication of the shingles virus that primarily affects populations over the age of 60. Although there is no cure for postherpetic neuralgia, there are pain reliever medications and interventional pain treatments to ease symptoms.
Causes of Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)
The virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster virus) remains dormant in the body and may react, resulting in shingles. Once the virus becomes active, it affects the nerve fibers and may cause severe damage. If extensive damage occurs, nerve fibers cannot send messages from the skin to the brain, which often results in chronic nerve pain lasting months or years.
Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain) Symptoms
Symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia usually impact the area where the shingles outbreak occurred. Signs and side effects of postherpetic neuralgia may include:
- Burning, sharp or aching pain
- Sensitivity to light touch (allodynia)
- Itching or numbness in the area affected
- Muscle weakness
Medication Management for Treating Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)
In the Medication Management process, overseen by a pain specialist, patients are given prescription pain medication for chronic pain conditions. The pain specialist informs the patient of the proper way of taking the medication and any other information they need to know.