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Can Shingles Cause Lower Back Pain

How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

Shingles Pain withDallas Pain Specialist Dr. George Farhat

Shingles typically lasts 4-5 weeks. It begins with the initial reactivation of the virus and onset of symptoms. It ends when crusts of the rash fall off and the pain and the itching stops, and blisters heal. Antiviral medicines, such as valacyclovir and famciclovir, help reduce both the duration and the severity of shingles.

If Ive Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox Can I Still Develop Shingles Later In Life

Unfortunately, yes, despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective and the effects of vaccines lessen with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who did not.

Help Is Available For Phn

Fortunately,early treatment for shingles can lower your chances of getting PHN.

For some people, the pain becomes refractory, or resistant to treatment, explains Dr. Rosenquist. So we want to treat shingles as fast as we can ideally as soon as somebody feels a tingling or burning sensation, even before a rash develops.

Sheadds that whenever nerve pain is involved, some people respond to treatment andsome dont.

However,medications taken orally or injected that can target the affected nerves may beable to stun the nervous system into behaving properly. That meanstransmitting the appropriate signal to the brain.

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See A Pain Management Specialist

Sometimes the nerve pain is just too intense to manage on your own. If youre experiencing moderate to severe shingles pain, see a pain management specialist for treatment options to help you stay comfortable while you heal.

If youre suffering from shingles related pain and nerve damage, we can help. For more information, contact Republic Spine and Pain to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Austin, Georgetown, or Lakeway, Texas.

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What Is Shingles And What Are Its Causes

How long does shingles last? Timeline and treatment

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, but is most often found on the torso.

Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Following the chicken pox, the virus lies asleep or dormant in nerve tissue. It never truly goes away though. The virus may awaken as Shingles years later. This occurs especially in times of stress or illness.

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Week Three: More Blisters

If your blisters persist for more than two weeks, this is a red flag that your immune system is not functioning as it should. You should visit your healthcare professional again. And remember, if your blisters appear on your face at any time, quickly see a healthcare professional. Just like the rash, when blisters develop near or in the eye or the ear, it can cause lasting damage, such as hearing loss, blindness, facial paralysis and brain swelling, according to The National Institute on Aging.

If Ive Had Chickenpox Once In My Life Can I Get It Again

Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

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Who Is At Risk From Shingles

Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles later in life. About one in three people who have not been immunised against chickenpox or shingles will get shingles in their lifetime.

Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease. People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk of getting more severe disease, even if they are young.

Can I Get Shingles If I Havent Had Chickenpox

New treatment for the pain of shingles

No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

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Shingles Symptoms And Treatment Options

  • NSPC Team

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash, usually in a stripe pattern around one side of your chest or back. This infection is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Over 95% of people are infected, with the virus remaining silent inside their nerve cells. An estimated one in three people may eventually develop shingles in their lifetime, when the virus becomes active again.

Shingles is common in people whose immune systems are weakened by stress, a disease, or advanced age. Ideally, these people receive booster vaccinations in order to minimize the risk for shingles. However, a vaccine does not always prevent outbreaks.

If prevention of shingles through vaccination is not possible, early treatment is your next best option. Your primary care or emergency room doctor is likely to start treatment with antiviral medications and light analgesics. However, this may not adequately control your pain. You will benefit by continuing your treatments with a pain specialist. A pain specialist can treat postherpetic neuralgia, a common and disabling type of pain that can last for months after a shingles outbreak.

When To See A Pain Specialist

Chances are that once you develop shingles, you will rush to your primary care physician or the emergency room for treatment. Your physician usually recognizes a shingles outbreak due to the tell-tale rash. Testing is not necessary but can be done.

There is no cure for shingles. However, starting treatment early on, can speed the healing process. Your PCP or ER doctor might start you on light pain medications and antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir or Valacyclovir . However, this treatment is not strong enough to prevent post-herpetic neuralgia.

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Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of The Body

The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of the body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area it does not spread over your whole body. The torso is a common area, as is the face.

Are There Natural Ways To Boost The Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

Q& A: Shingles

Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles. So limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods. Eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, dont smoke these are all good living tips, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles, but also many other diseases and health conditions too.

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How Common Is Shingles

Shingles affects 1 out of every 3 people in the United States. More than 1 million cases of shingles are diagnosed every year. The risk of shingles increases as you get older, with about half the cases occurring in people over the age of 50. Shingles develops in about 10% of people who have had chickenpox at an earlier time in their life.

What Increases Your Risk

Things that increase risk for shingles include:

  • Having had chickenpox. You must have had chickenpox to get shingles.
  • Being older than 50.
  • Having a weakened immune system due to another disease, such as diabetes or HIV infection.
  • Experiencing stress or trauma.
  • Having cancer or receiving treatment for cancer.
  • Taking medicines that affect your immune system, such as steroids or medicines that are taken after having an organ transplant.

If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox, her baby has a high risk for shingles during his or her first 2 years of life. And if a baby gets chickenpox in the first year of life, he or she has a higher risk for shingles during childhood.footnote 1

Post-herpetic neuralgia is a common complication of shingles that lasts for at least 30 days and may continue for months or years. You can reduce your risk for getting shingles and developing PHN by getting the shingles vaccine.

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Sciatic Herpes Zoster Suspected Of Lumbar Disc Herniation: An Infrequent Case Report And Literature Review

  • 1Department of Orthopeadics, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China
  • 2School of Basic Medicine, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China
  • 3Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China

Background: The symptoms of sciatic herpes zoster are sometimes difficult to distinguish from sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation. We describe a case of suspected lumbar disc herniation with sciatic herpes zoster to reduce the rate of misdiagnosis.

Case Report: A 55-year old man, male, developed low back pain after carrying heavy items 20 years ago. Characteristics of symptoms: 1. Symptoms were aggravated in the upright lumbar forward flexion position 2. The VAS score was 89 points and the VSA score was 0 point 3. It can be relieved when rested in the supine position 4. It came on intermittently with radiation pain in the right lower limb. There were several attacks every year. One month ago, there was radiating pain in the right lower limb. The pain was from the back of the right hip, behind the thigh, in lateral crural region, to the back of the foot. And Symptoms worsened for 10 days. The VAS score was 8 points. Pain could not be relieved by rest or changing posture. There was no back pain, no lower limbs, weak walking, no claudication and other symptoms. Analgesics and neurotrophic drugs are ineffective. After the application of antiviral drugs, the radiation pain in the right lower extremity was significantly relieved.

Month Two To Three: Lingering Itch

Treating Nerve Pain in the Back, Neck and Legs

The lasting itch one can experience once the shingles rash clears is called postherpetic itch and it most commonly develops on the face and on skin thats already suffered sensory loss. Translations: Your skin is likely already feeling numb there. And since individuals are more likely to scratch numb skin too long and too vigorously, its important to turn to your healthcare provider for advice. He or she will likely suggest topical local anesthetics to help quell the urge to itch.

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Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem

The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.

When To Seek Medical Advice

Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.

You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.

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Do I Need To Stay Away From Children Pregnant Women People With Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After I Get The Zostavax Vaccine

According to the CDC, it is safe to be around babies and young children, pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system after you get the Zostavax vaccine. Even though the Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened live varicella zoster virus, the CDC says there is no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine.

Is It Possible To Avoid Shingles

Lumbar Sympathetic Block

Most people get shingles only once, but it is possible to get it two or more times.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles later in life. There is a shingles vaccine that may help prevent shingles, or make it less painful. The vaccine is recommended for adults ages 60 and older, even if theyve previous had shingles.

For children and adults who never had chickenpox, there is a vaccine that can help avoid getting the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles.

For anyone who has never had chickenpox and has not received the chickenpox vaccine, it is best to avoid contact with people who have shingles or chickenpox. Fluid from shingles blisters is contagious and can cause chickenpox, but not shingles.

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The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain

Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.

Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.

“Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”

Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.

“The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”

If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.

Your Good Health: Nerve

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 78-year-old woman, and I am in my 10th week of shingles. I have them on my left chest and back and on my upper arm. I cant go anywhere because I cant stand when my clothes or bra touches me. I now have severe shooting pains on my arm area, mostly at night but also during the day. The rash on my chest, although mostly healed, is still very painful. Im desperate for help. I use lidocaine, which helps for an hour or so. This is my second bout of shingles. I had them 10 years ago. I was advised by my internist not to get the shingles vaccine after that last bout. Is there anything I can do?


Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the recurrence of the chickenpox virus after years or decades of the virus being dormant. The herpes virus can escape the immune system during times of stress or simply as we age.

Pain around the time of shingles is nearly universal, but the duration of time is variable. The type of pain you have now is caused by damage to the nerve and is called acute neuritis.

Once the pain has lasted more than four months, the diagnosis of postherpetic neuralgia is made. Unfortunately, postherpetic neuralgia can last a very long time for people over 65 with persistent, active PHN, the average duration of symptoms was about three and a half years.

Treatment of acute zoster, preferably within 24 hours of the onset of rash, but certainly within 72 hours, with antiviral medications can also help prevent PHN.


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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles usually begins with one week of flu-like symptoms. There may be itching, tingling or pain before a rash develops. The rash itself is often accompanied by an aching, burning and stabbing pain. The pain can be anywhere on the body but most often on the chest and back resulting in severe chest pain and back pain. There are fluid-filled blisters that last approximately seven to ten days and heal within two to four weeks.

Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain

Causes and treatments for shingles

There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:

  • Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
  • Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
  • Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.

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Bed Rest For Hip Lower Back Shingles


Hi everyone, this forum has been very helpful during a long two weeks!

I’m a 31 year old woman now on day 14 with very painful shingles. I’m on my last couple of days of acyclovir which seems to have settled the rash and some of the pain from an extreme level at the start.

The shingles are on my lower back extending to hip down thigh and the pain is extreme shooting and stabbing all along that nerve, it seems to have started from the groin lymph node and the pain is worst right there. With painkillers I was getting to the point where I could walk around a bit the last couple of days. But yesterday I had to sleep the whole day and take more painkillers as punishment for going for a walk uphill. Since it is in a nerve that really affects walking should I rest in bed more? I can’t do this for a month without going nuts but at the same time I’m frightened of it not getting better since I seem to have a bad case! Has anyone else ever had it affect a lymph node so badly, also has anyone else had experience with it affecting walking?

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