What Can Stop the Pain of My Shingles?

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If you have shingles, you know just how painful it can be. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. Learn about some of the most effective shingles pain treatments and find a method that’s right for you.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. Typically affecting people over the age of 45, it manifests as a painful rash on a specific area of the body.

And unfortunately, the pain from shingles can continue long after the rashes heal. Up to 18% of people develop postherpetic neuralgia, a shingles complication that can cause long-lasting chronic pain.

The pain associated with shingles and postherpetic neuralgia can be excruciating. Dr. Maher Ibrahim and our team at Interventional Pain Management Associates can help. We specialize in pain management, and it’s time to explore the treatment options that can help alleviate the pain of your shingles.

Shingles pain treatment options

Shingles starts with small rashes that typically spread on one side of your face or body. If you notice signs of shingles, it’s important to start treatment as quickly as possible to lower your risk of complications.

A few of the most common treatments for shingles pain are:

Antiviral medications

One of the first lines of defense against shingles pain is antiviral medication. The medication slows the replication of the varicella-zoster virus. Starting antiviral treatment within the first 72 hours of shingles symptoms can help shorten the duration of the infection and reduce its severity.

Pain medications

To manage the pain associated with shingles, Dr. Ibrahim may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

However, for severe pain, prescription medications may be more appropriate. It’s essential to consult your health care team before starting any pain medication and then follow your prescribed dosage.

Antidepressants or anticonvulsants

Certain medications that are typically used to treat depression or seizures can effectively reduce shingles-related nerve pain. These medications work by altering the perception of pain signals in your body, which can provide relief from severe or chronic shingles pain.

Topical treatments

Applying topical treatments directly to your shingles rash can help soothe the pain. Depending on your condition, Dr. Ibrahim may recommend over-the-counter remedies or prescription pain treatments.

Calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal baths can help relieve itching and provide some comfort. Lidocaine patches or creams can provide numbing relief by blocking pain signals in the affected area.

Nerve blocks or steroid injections

If your shingles pain is severe and localized, Dr. Ibrahim might suggest trying a nerve block or corticosteroid injection. Nerve blocks involve injecting an anesthetic directly into the nerves to block pain signals temporarily. Steroid injections can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Complementary therapies

Various complementary therapies can help you manage shingles pain. Techniques like acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can stimulate specific points in your body to disrupt pain signals.

Rest and self-care

While medical interventions can provide relief, it’s equally important to prioritize rest and self-care. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and prioritizing stress management can support your body's healing process.

Pain associated with shingles can be debilitating, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Dr. Ibrahim and our team are dedicated to helping you find a pain-management solution that works. Call our office in Hamilton, New Jersey, office at 609-838-2900.