What’s the best treatment for pain after shingles? Several studies have investigated this issue, and their results were encouraging. Among those who reported pain reduction, those with postherpetic neuralgia reported an overall decrease in their burden of illness – a measure of the duration of pain. Medications can help to reduce the pain, but the treatment you choose should be tailored to your particular condition. The following article explores the available options.
Although most patients recover completely after shingles, there is a small percentage of patients who develop postherpetic neuropathy (PN), a painful condition that affects the nerve fibers in the skin. The disease often begins weeks or months after shingles has healed, and its symptoms include itching, numbness, and sensitivity to light. It can also develop before the rash appears. Taking antiviral medication within 72 hours of shingles infection is also associated with a reduced risk of postherpetic neuralgia.
Although chickenpox is not a serious illness, it is a risk for some people. Premature or low-birth-weight infants, pregnant women who have never had chicken pox, and people with weakened immune systems are at risk. This infection can be easily passed from person to person through shingles blisters. Once the blisters develop, the virus can spread and cause postherpetic neuropathy.
Treatment with antiviral medications after shingles is not required for a cure, but it can help relieve pain and keep shingles from returning. There are two main types of antiviral medications available, acyclovir and valacyclovir. Acyclovir is the most commonly prescribed type and famciclovir is the generic equivalent. Both medications are effective against the virus, but one of them is more effective at relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
Although the majority of cases of shingles affect the skin, 20 percent occur in the eye. It is important to seek medical treatment if you suspect that you have shingles, as this can cause permanent vision impairment. In general, shingles symptoms will show up on the eyeball or inside eyelid. In rare cases, shingles can affect the cornea, which is the clear dome covering the iris and the whites of the eye.
The use of steroids for the treatment of acute herpes zoster is not yet established. The effectiveness of these drugs is questionable and much of the research conducted so far has not been conclusive. Although it does appear that steroids reduce inflammation, further research is needed. The current study suggests that the use of steroids for acute shingles may be beneficial in the short term. The study did not involve a placebo group.
The study included 349 patients. The study did not find a significant difference in the duration of pain relief between the two groups. In addition, patients receiving steroid therapy for seven days were more likely to experience complete healing. While no difference was found in the rash on day seven, the longer course of therapy did reduce pain on day 14 and day 21. However, the steroid treatment had a higher rate of adverse events.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help you cope with pain caused by shingles. These medicines include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These can only provide temporary pain relief. Opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone, are prescribed by your doctor. Although they can relieve pain, opioids can lead to dependency and addiction.
In the early stages of an outbreak, over-the-counter pain relievers can help you manage the symptoms. Some liquid medications, such as lidocaine, can also be applied to the rash to ease the pain. Antibiotics, which can treat bacteria present on the skin, can help alleviate pain associated with shingles. However, you should not use these drugs for prolonged periods of time, as these may increase the risk of side effects.
A study on the relationship between stress and shingles found no relationship. Researchers looked at data on over 39,000 individuals and examined the stressors in their lives. These included death, divorce, or a spouse’s declining health. Although this study did not find a correlation between stress and shingles, the researchers did note that a weakened immune system may contribute to the development of the disease. Thankfully, there are ways to strengthen your immune system and prevent shingles in the future.
Getting help with routine tasks like cleaning and cooking is essential after shingles. Ask your family and friends to help you with those tasks. They can also lend a hand in other ways. Social support is a great way to cope with shingles. While social distancing is still advised, it can help you recover in other ways. By identifying your stress triggers, you can use this information to improve your stress management after shingles.