Shingles After Effects

Understanding Shingles After Effects

Shingles is a skin condition that’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It can present itself through a painful skin rash, as well as other potential symptoms. While many people experience relief from shingles symptoms, some might continue to suffer from lingering after effects, also known as “post-herpetic neuralgia.”

What is Post-Herpetic Neuralgia?

Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a condition caused by damage to nerve fibers due to the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is the virus that causes shingles. If left untreated, PHN produces long-term pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of Shingles After Effects

PHN presents itself differently depending on the individual. The most common symptoms of PHN include:

  • Tingling or burning skin sensations
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Severe pain that can last for months after the rash vanishes
  • A tingling sensation that can last for months in the area of the rash

Furthermore, the pain caused by PHN can become so severe that it can reduce a person’s ability to function, making socializing, working, and completing everyday tasks difficult.

Treating PHN

Fortunately, PHN is treatable. Doctors will usually seek to diagnose PHN through a physical exam and ask questions about the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, imaging tests may be needed to accurately diagnose PHN.

After diagnosis, doctors will then seek to address the pain and other symptoms of PHN with medications. There are several medications for PHN, including anticonvulsants, opioids, and topical medications. Additionally, treatments such as nerve blocks and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may be used for pain management.


Shingles can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s life if left untreated. While the painful rash and blisters may heal and go away after a while, discomfort and pain can linger long after the rash has subsided, which is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

If you experience any symptoms of PHN, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. Treatments such as medications, nerve blocks, and TENS can help relieve pain and other symptoms associated with PHN.

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