Preventing Postherpetic Neuralgia From Becoming a Chronic Problem

Shingles is a painful condition affecting about one million Americans. Long after a shingles outbreak has disappeared, you could be left with a new problem called postherpetic neuralgia. It’s a common condition that many shingles sufferers deal with. Postherpetic neuralgia is a form of neuropathy that causes painful burning and tingling, sometimes for years at a time. 

The team of doctors at MDPain in Greenwood Village and Parker, Colorado, are experts in neuropathic pain management. Using state-of-the-art techniques, our neuropathy specialists start treating your pain immediately, preventing postherpetic neuralgia from progressing any further.

What is postherpetic neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles that affects 10-20% of shingles patients. The condition causes skin and nerve fibers to continue burning after the shingles outbreak is clear. This is considered neuropathic pain because it’s the result of a change in nerve function. 

Nerve fibers have a chance to become damaged during a shingles outbreak. When nerve fibers are damaged, they can no longer carry messages from your skin to your brain. Instead, the message is confusing, causing long-lasting pain.

Doctors usually find postherpetic neuralgia on a patient’s torso, and on only one side of the body. This is where shingles outbreaks typically occur, and this disorder is limited to the same area where the flare-up first happened. If you’re dealing with pain lasting more than three months after the shingles has healed, you may be developing postherpetic neuralgia. 

Other notable signs and symptoms include:

What are the risk factors?

Your risk for postherpetic neuralgia increases with age, usually affecting mature adults over 60. Other risk factors include:

Treatment for postherpetic neuralgia

If you’ve had a shingles outbreak, but the pain doesn’t leave when the rash disappears, you could be dealing with this uncomfortable condition. Antiviral medication has no bearing on postherpetic neuralgia pain because it isn’t an infection. Instead, treatment focuses on easing the pain and soothing the misfiring nerves. There is no cure, but there are many treatment options.

The interventional pain management specialists at MDPain are experts in treating neuropathic pain. Starting early treatment can help prevent the progression of postherpetic neuralgia. The doctors aim to provide pain relief by treating the underlying condition, which might include:

Are you dealing with chronic pain? Let our neuropathy specialists stop your distress and discomfort by calling us today at one of our two convenient locations.   

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