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Pain Management & Anesthesiology located in Union, Scotch Plains, Bloomfield, South Bound Brook, New Brunswick, Old Bridge and Woodbridge, NJ


About Shingles

Shingles is a distressing, often painful condition caused by the chickenpox virus. If you develop shingles symptoms, visit the Union Anesthesia Associates team at one of their convenient offices in Union, Scotch Plains, Bloomfield, South Bound Brook, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, and Woodbridge, New Jersey. The pain management experts specialize in treating shingles complications like postherpetic neuralgia pain. Call your nearest Union Anesthesia Associates office today or schedule a consultation online to benefit from effective shingles treatment.

Shingles Q&A

What is shingles?

Shingles (herpes zoster or adult chicken pox) is a skin rash that most often affects adults over 60. The virus that causes shingles also causes chickenpox. So, if you had chickenpox as a child, the virus stays in your nervous system. In later life, the virus can reawaken, causing shingles.

When the virus activates, it often generates sores along some of your nerves, resulting in pain. Sometimes, the sores don’t develop, but the shingles virus is still active and causing nerve pain.

You’re more likely to get shingles if you’re run down, sick, stressed, or have a condition that reduces immune system function.

What symptoms do shingles cause?

Shingles symptoms include:

  • Skin sensitivity
  • Painful, red, sore rashes
  • Blisters along a nerve pathway
  • Back tenderness

A significant problem with shingles is postherpetic neuralgia. This complication develops because the virus damages your nerves. It can cause severe pain, itching, numbness, and allodynia (sensitivity to light touch). People with postherpetic neuralgia often can’t bear anything on their skin because it’s so sensitive.

You’re more likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia if you already have a chronic disease like diabetes or your initial shingles treatment is delayed more than 72 hours. Your risk of postherpetic neuralgia is also higher if your shingles rash and pain are severe and affect your face or torso. These problems increase the likelihood of nerve fiber damage.

Postherpetic pain can last for months, sometimes years, causing significant distress and disability.

How is shingles treated?

Treating shingles involves taking antiviral medication and applying an anti-itching lotion. People with postherpetic neuralgia often continue to experience pain long after other shingles symptoms go away. Union Anesthesia Associates offers effective treatments if you need medical attention for postherpetic neuralgia.

You might have to continue with antiviral drugs to combat the infection and prevent further nerve damage. Some patients find that a capsaicin cream or patches ease burning pain. Injections containing steroids reduce inflammation and pain.

Advanced treatments, like radiofrequency neurotomy and spinal cord stimulation (SCS), can help with the most severe, treatment-resistant postherpetic neuralgia. These treatments interfere with the signals from your nerves to your brain. They stop nerves from sending pain messages or change how your brain perceives these pain signals.

Call Union Anesthesia Associates today or book an appointment online for expert shingles diagnosis and treatment.