Shingles can be one of the most painful, and uncomfortable, experiences of a person's life. This painful experience has a name — postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Fortunately, the pain specialists in our 3 Greater New Orleans pain clinics can help you treat the pain symptoms associated with PHN and shingles.
What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include:
- Sharp, jabbing, and burning pain in the area where you experienced your shingles outbreak
- Sensitive to touch and temperature change in the infected area
- Itching and numbness
- You may also experience headaches.
What causes PHN?
This pain following shingles occurs as a result of damage nerve fibers (damaged during an outbreak of shingles). These damaged nerve fibers are unable to transmit messages to your brain as they usually would. As a result, they send confused and exaggerated messages.
The result is chronic — and often excruciating pain. This pain can last for months or even years after the initial shingles outbreak.
Treatment for chronic pain after shingles
There are a number of treatment methods currently available, including opiates and antidepressants. However, our team at Southern Pain & Neurological have seen inspiring success with two types of treatment — without the unwanted side effects of certain medications.
Steroid injections treat the symptoms of PHN by using corticosteroid medications, injected into the area around the spinal cord, to reduce the symptoms caused by these damaged nerve fibers.
Intrathecal pain therapy works by implanting a device under the skin that delivers ongoing pain medication. Unlike oral pain meds, this procedure allows us to send the medication directly to the fluid around the spine. The result is less medication is needed to experience greater relief. With this treatment method, our team will perform a trial run first, to ensure the implant will deliver the level of pain relief you desire.
Pain following shingles can be excruciating. If left untreated it can last years and become debilitating and life-altering. But it doesn't have to be.
The most important step you can take is to schedule a consultation with a pain specialist. Your pain specialist will go over your treatment options, including any possible side effects. That way you can choose the best option to treat your PHN.
For your convenience, each of our locations in Marrero, Metairie, and Covington feature pain specialists with experience treating patients suffering from PHN. Contact our team today to learn more.