Shingles

Shingles is an infection of the skin caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, and can be a very painful condition.

There are approximately one million cases of Shingles each year in the U.S., and over the course of a lifetime, about one in three people will develop Shingles. The risk of contracting Shingles increases over time, with those who are over the age of 50 at a much higher risk. One common complication of Shingles is known as Post Herpetic Neuralgia—severe pain in the areas where the Shingles occurred.

While children can contract Shingles, it is not very common. Those with weakened or suppressed immune systems, as well as older adults are more likely to be hospitalized with complications of Shingles. The incidence of Shingles has been steadily increasing, although scientists are not sure why. It is possible that this increase in the number of Shingles cases could be due to widespread vaccination against chickenpox, which appears to boost the immunity to the Shingles virus.

Symptoms of Shingles

There are just a few symptoms associated with Shingles, including:

  • A blistering skin rash
  • A rash which appears in one or more distinctive “bands”
  • Tingling and numbness in the area affected by Shingles
  • A rash on a quarter of the face
  • Pain from the Shingles rash, sometimes described as “constant,” “dull,” “burning,” “gnawing,” “sharp,” or “stabbing”

Causes of Shingles

In most cases of Shingles, there is no clear case as to why the virus is activated and begins multiplying, however some possible causes include:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Aging
  • Certain cancers
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Unusual stress
  • Chemotherapy or radiation
  • Certain medications, including immunosuppressive drugs
  • An organ transplant

Diagnosis of Shingles

Shingles are typically diagnosed by a physician, based on the distinctive appearance of the rash. If the diagnosis is unclear, your doctor may take a swab of fluid from the Shingles blisters to test for antibodies to the chickenpox virus.

Treatment of Shingles Pain

The interventional pain management specialists at Seattle Pain will work hard to develop a comprehensive plan to treat the pain associated with your Shingles. We typically combine both traditional and non-traditional pain treatments at Seattle Pain in order to help you get relief from your pain and get back to your life. Some of the treatments we may use for your Shingles pain include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone or corticosteroids to reduce swelling
  • Prescription opioid pain medications

Are you suffering from painful shingles?

Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists

We understand that pain can completely derail your life. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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