I Have Shingles! What are My Pain Relief Options?

Ever since you had chickenpox as a kid, the virus that caused it — called varicella zoster — has been hiding inside your body like a sleeping giant. As long as nothing wakes it up, you have nothing to worry about. 

In fact, the virus may lie dormant for years and years and never rear its ugly head. But, if you’re getting older, your immune system is weakened, or you’re overly stressed, sometimes that’s all it takes to roust the virus and activate it.

This time, instead of chickenpox, it gives you shingles, a painful rash that feels much more severe than the case of chickenpox you had years ago. And it can trigger a few desperate questions: Can shingles be cured? Am I contagious? How do I stop the pain? Dinash Yanamadula, MD, at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, has answers and sweet relief.

Can shingles be cured?

No. Once you get chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus is in your body for life, and once it reactivates, you get shingles. Those are the facts. But if you catch shingles early enough — within three days of activation — Dr. Yanamadula can give you an antiviral medication that may lessen the severity of potential complications, such as:

While antiviral drugs won’t cure your case of shingles, it can speed healing, shorten the duration, and help prevent or reduce complications.

Are shingles contagious?

Yes. During the time that your rash is active and until it has scabbed over, consider yourself contagious. Anyone who has never had chickenpox and has never been vaccinated for the disease is vulnerable. 

The virus is passed along by direct contact with your open sores, so to be on the safe side, you should stay away from anyone with a compromised immune system, as well as the elderly, newborns, and pregnant women.

How do you stop the pain of shingles?

The pain from shingles can be excruciating. Although some sufferers may find a measure of relief from over-the-counter pain medication, many report that the pain is so severe they need professional medical attention.

Dr. Yanamadula can ease your shingles pain with a variety of effective treatments, including:

Once Dr. Yanamadula evaluates your condition, he’ll recommend the treatment best suited to your symptoms. His goal will be to stop your shingles pain quickly, so you can rest comfortably as you wait for the virus to run its course.

If you’re one of the 1 million people in this country who got shingles this year, and you’re suffering from it right now, contact us right away so we can help you get immediate relief. 

If you’re one of the many Americans who have had chickenpox in the past but still have not yet contracted shingles, we strongly advise you to get the shingles vaccine. It may help you avoid shingles altogether, but if you do get it, it should be a much milder version. 

To find out more about preventing and treating shingles, book an appointment online or over the phone with Princeton Pain & Spine Institute today.

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