When we’re young, many of us consider Chickenpox to be a simple disease – one that is almost a rite of passage as we go through our developmental years. A couple weeks off from school and time with friends suffering the same ailments leaves us almost looking forward to it, aside from the annoying itching, of course.
What we don’t know at that age is that Chickenpox is a far more dangerous disease if it presents when we’re older and can lead to significant pain and discomfort in those over 60 when it manifests as Shingles. It can also lead to a complication known as Postherpetic Neuralgia, which is a burning pain that can persist long after all other symptoms disappear. Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin, your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV, can aid you if you suffer from postherpetic pain.
How Do I Know If I’m Experiencing Postherpetic Pain?
If you’ve recently recovered from a bout of shingles and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing postherpetic pain.
- Chronic Pain: If your pain lasts 3 months or longer, and can be described as sharp, deep, stabbing, burning, or aching, and has persisted since you’ve recovered from herpes.
- Light Touches Are Painful: If the brush of fabric or a gentle touch on your skin causes excruciating pain.
- Persistent Numbness and Itching: The least common symptom, postherpetic pain sometimes manifests as numbness or itching.
When Should I See My Doctor About This Condition?
The prevention of postherpetic neuralgia starts early, and if you suspect that you may be having a shingles outbreak, you need to get to your doctor right away. The best chance of avoiding life with postherpetic pain is beginning an antiviral treatment within 72 hours of developing the first rash symptoms associated with Shingles.
How Does Someone Develop Postherpetic Pain?
The childhood illness that seemed rather harmless and served as an excellent vacation from school had a more sinister side that wouldn’t become obvious for decades. That childhood virus becomes a sleeper agent that resides in our body for the rest of our lives. Under the right circumstances, it can bloom back to life as the painful condition known as shingles. Postherpetic pain occurs as a result of damage to the nerves during an outbreak, resulting in damaged neural pathways and confused messages arriving in the brain. These signals are confused for pain and result in severe, ongoing pain that can last for months or years.
Am I At Risk?
There are a few simple questions that you can answer to determine if you need to speak to your doctor about shingles and postherpetic pain.
- Age Over 50 Years
- Severe Case Of Shingles With Rash And Pain
- Occurrence of Other Chronic Diseases
- Shingles Occur On Your Face Or Torso
If any of these conditions apply to you, or you are simply concerned that you may be experiencing an outbreak of shingles or postherpetic pain associated with a prior case of shingles, contact Khavkin Clinic for an appointment today.