What You Should Know About Shingles

Shingles are a form of viral infection characterized by the development of a red skin rash and a burning or painful sensation. They normally appear as a linear arrangement of blisters on a single side of your body, more commonly the face, neck, or torso. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 out of 3 people in the US will develop this condition at some point in their life. Let’s explore shingles and the treatment options offered by Dr. Mahan Ostadian.

What Are Shingles?

Shingles are a type of viral infection that leads to the development of painful rashes on either the left or right side of the body. The main viral infection that causes shingles is referred to as the varicella-zoster virus, which also triggers chickenpox. After you get infected with the varicella-zoster virus, it stays inactive in the nerve tissues around your brain and spinal cord, where it later presents itself as shingles.

Although shingles are often not considered a life-threatening illness, they can be very painful. Fortunately, vaccines are used to lower the risk of shingles, and early diagnosis can help lessen the chances of developing an infection.

Shingles are also associated with Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which causes persistent pain after a shingle breakout. This condition can be debilitating.

Symptoms of Shingles

Pain resulting from shingles normally varies from one person to the other as well as depending on the location of the shingles rash. Some people also experience shingles without necessarily developing a stripe of blisters. Nonetheless, below are some of the common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Burning, tingling, pain, or numbness
  • Fluid-filled blisters that burst open and form crusts
  • Itching
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Development of red rashes that are mostly painful

·         Fatigue

  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Fever

When Should You See a Doctor?

It is often advisable to consult your healthcare provider when:

·         You notice the development of painful rashes that are widespread.

·         You or your loved one has a weakened immune system as a result of chronic illness, cancer, or current medication prescription.

·         Develop painful rashes near your eye

·         You are 60 years and above, as you are exposed to life-threatening complications.

Available Treatments for PHN

PHN is a serious condition associated with Shingles. Some of the available treatments we offer at Republic Spine and Pain to address it include:

  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • Antidepressants
  • Steroid injections
  • Pain patches, i.e., capsaicin, lidocaine
  • Epidural injections
  • Nerve medication
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit
  • Nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation

Our team of pain management experts will work closely with you to come up with a suitable treatment plan that will provide you with quick and effective relief from your shingles problem.

Conclusion

Extensive research has shown that shingles affect 1 in every 3 Americans and can last for a number of weeks. Moreover, shingles can lead to Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is a severe nerve pain complication. At Republic Spine and Pain, our team of board-approved pain management professionals applies their skills to providing nerve damage care and shingles treatments. Feel free to use our online booking tool or call our office in Austin or Georgetown, Texas, for more information.