Shingles Pain

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The pain of shingles is, for many people, quite striking in its severity. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, results from a reactivation of infection with the varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles later in life, although it is most common in older people. Shingles can appear many years after the initial chickenpox infection.

Shingles typically develops along the path of one nerve on one side of the body. Even though a blistering rash is characteristic of the condition, the pain can precede the rash. Often, the earliest signs and symptoms are a tingling or burning sensation on the skin. Especially if you have never had an outbreak of shingles, it can be very difficult to identify the pain as coming from an attack of shingles. Depending on the location of the involved nerve, the pain may be mistaken for a headache, appendicitis, heart attack or angina, sciatica, abdominal pain, or other conditions. Many sufferers have described the pain as extremely severe, and some even require narcotic pain-relief medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2013