Shingles pain worse at night

It's an extra twist of cruelty - where sleep might help a shingles victim recover better, the pain from shingles is much worse at night. I think the resulting loss of sleep exacerbates things, making it even harder to recover due to lack of sleep and the associated stress that causes.

Because hot baths reduce my shingles pain, many nights I've resorted to sleeping in the bathtub. It's a dangerous move and I realize that, but I'm so desperate for sleep that I chance it. When the water starts cooling, the pain comes back and it wakes me up. Sometimes I'm so exhausted, I just let out some of the water and refill with hot so I can grab another extra bit of sleep.

I think I need to find an adult swim collar to be on the safe side.

If my work schedule permits, I'll even go to bed as early as 7:00 at night - just to get in 4 or so hours of decent sleep before the pain wakes me up. Then I'll try to catch another hour in a hot bath. By 2 or 3 a.m. I'll put on a Lidoderm (Lidocaine patch).

Somewhat counter-intuitively, drinking hot coffee also helps me. Perhaps it's because I personally find sipping hot coffee to be relaxing. Or maybe the coffee stimulates the nerves similar to the way that Ritalin overstimulates and helps folks with ADD focus better. The over stimulation theory has some legs - I've read of some shingles sufferers deliberately causing more pain to the affected area because they claim it helps. I've not wanted to put that to the test, so coffee is it for me.

I should point out that I'm a long-time coffee drinker and caffeine doesn't seem to affect me. I can drink a pot of coffee and fall asleep directly after. If you're sensitive to caffeine, I imagine it could make the shingles pain even worse. I think it probably works for me just because I actually find coffee relaxing, not stimulating.

I've also been trying to minimize stress as much as possible, trying to stick with lighthearted or funny movies, listening to classical music, meditating, and doing gentle stretching exercises often. Combined it all helps but I'm getting sick and tired of spending 24/7 either in pain or working to prevent the onset of pain.

I hate shingles.

203 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I know I'm not alone in this 2month assault of horrendous continuous pain.Night on end I too stay up with TV funny stuff sitting in defense form until pain killers kick in. Interesting that coffee does help me also.

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  2. I have found your blog to be so true. The pain worsens at night, hot baths relieve pain and coffee seems to work too. All the diets for shingles say to not do caffiene but I still drink a cup or two a day. I have given up the dark chocolate though. Unfortunately my shingles runs from my upper back through my shoulder and down my arm into my hand. Very debilitating. I can't even use my hand very much. Even typing this is bringing on pain in my arm and hand. I do take strong pain meds every 4 hours at night. My pain has been here 3 weeks and my rash has been here 2 weeks. The rash is going away but the pain remains. Hope it goes away soon too. Thanks for sharing and hopefully your case is gone by now.

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    1. I am at the same stage of shingles that you were when you and Daniel wrote this in January 2014 and Oct 2013 respectively - so hard to get any sleep. Has the pain dissipated yet?

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    2. For me, the pain lasted about 6 weeks. Until it finally stopped, I had difficulty sleeping. What was really aggravating was that right at about 4.5 weeks, the pain stopped for a couple of days. I thought I was better. Then it came back suddenly and was even worse than before. When it went away the second (final) time, I didn't quite believe it was really over. But it was. Hang in there. It will get better.

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    3. i never imagined shingles pain could be so excruciating...it's as if a hot iron is on the skin both front and back...with sharp stings extending to the chest...even wearing shirt causes pain...hot shower helps...and pain medicine Naproxen gives few hours relief...in my 4th week now...thankfully the worst stabbing pains have subsided.

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  3. Found this while searching for information, I am "new" to shingles. Only 1.5 wks in. The pain started in my shoulder run down my arm into my index and thumb. Then the rash started, doctors said " I haven't seen it like that but I believe it is shingles" so started antivirals. Pain has been ok, I can deal except for last night! Rash is much better so I thought I was getting better and things would soon get back to normal. Now I really wonder if I'll ever feel normal again. Thanks for the real information and sharing your experiences. I am holding out for this passing in a few weeks.

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    1. I felt exactly the same way - wondering if I would ever feel normal again! You will; you really will. It just takes time to run its course, usually 5-6 weeks. And unfortunately the pain may get worse before it gets better. Just hang in there!!!

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    2. It's been going on four weeks for me. Last night the pain was so severe that it had me up pretty much all night. Neurontin and a pain cream didn't help. I hope you are right about the 5-6 weeks. It's just awful. I need sleep.

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    3. Lifelearn37 did the pain ever go away? Mine started Aug 6, and a month later I am miserable! On gabapentin 3/300mg/day for the past 2 weeks and I feel no relief. I feel like I have aged 10 years.

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  4. I have had menigitis 3 times now that caused me to develop shingles. I hate it because I know when it is coming on. I have never felt so tired in my life. I could sleep standing up or on a concrete floor. My muscles ache so bad that it becomes hard to walk and not be in pain all the time. I have nerve damage in my spine that causes shooting pain and itching. The problem is my job is maintenance and I have to keep on moving. Its hard because I am not one that likes to sit still for very long and at 34 years old I feel somedays like I am 80.

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  5. Hey im new to this "shingles" i have it on my upper leg. It started out with really tight muscels and sensetive skin. Thaught nothing of it, figured i was lacking water or somthing. It was like that for maybe two weeks then i just noticed the rash yesterday. I was freaking out, went and saw the dr that day and he told me it was shingles. He wrote me a prescription for valtrex. Been on that for only a day. Dont know if its working but i do know that i cant sleep. Tonight has been the worst for not being able to sleep. Duno what to do. Not looking forward to 6 weeks of this though :'(

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  6. I feel for you, Chris! I found alternating between warm baths and ice compresses helped. I also strongly recommend the Lidocaine patches - those helped the pain more than any of the painkillers or other remedies. You can only wear them for 12 hours on, 12 hours off. The pain at night was always the worst for me so I timed it accordingly. Hang in there!!! {{{hugs}}}

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  7. A TENS (transcutaneous electrical stimulation) unit has helped my pain quite a bit, but not completely. Ice pacts help temporarily.

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    1. Cheryl, thanks for posting this. I have a TENS that i got at the mall. Thought about trying it but haven't yet. I am about 12 days in with my shingles bout and am so tired of it. The pain is, like most said here, worse at night. I guess I need to get as much sleep as I can during the day to fortify myself. I've been using pain meds but they only work for a short time and I am limited to how frequently I take them. Lidacain Patches were $100 EACH so that was out of the question for me. Gonna drag out my TENS and give it a try. I'm so over this illness, can't wait until I can see it in my rear view mirror..

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  8. Ugh I just got hit with the shingles pain. Had a tingling on my left side of my torso under my arm by my ribs, rash is small but it feels like someone has a lighter against my skin. On antiviral (doc didnt give me pain meds) and using a Zinc Oxide (diaper rash) cream but god I cant sleep. I really hope mine clears before 6 weeks, im working through it but im the sole provider in the house and ive got 2 kids to take care of.

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    1. I feel what you are going through. Im only about 1 week in. Mine also is on my left side. Have about 4 red welps. Went to dr as well gave me antiviral, pain med, predisone and antibiotic ointment. They work ok . but the pain comes and goes. I always feel the discomfort but the excruciating pain seems to be worse at night and when i move around alot. I am due to start a new job in 10 days. After reading all these posts i realize that the pain will be starting with me. Was told by dr. That until the rash goes away that it can be contagious. Usually 7-10 days due to me having a mild case. I cant even imagine having a severe case. I have known people who have ended up in the hospital. Hang in there i hear that this to shall pass..

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  9. I finished my shingles meds about a week ago. The pain went away about 4 days into the Meds although the itching never went away. Today, the pain has returned as had the exhaustion and feeling of the flu with no fever. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

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    1. Yes the lethargic exhausted feeling- always tired, feeling slow. It's part of it too.

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  10. I'm at the end of week three! I've never had this before and I'm miserable. I developed a rash from my cleavage spreading to my right underarm, and then on my right shoulder blade. The worst was the horrible pain in the right side of my chest and in between my shoulder blades. Thankfully that subsided a day ago, so I can get a little sleep with pain meds. It's a bummer for the ladies because Bra's rub on the rash...horrible stabbing burning pain! I WILL be getting an annual shingles shot from now on!

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    1. I had the shingles vaccine a few years ago, but have shingles again now... Told it could be a much worse case without having had the vaccine.

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    2. I had the shingles vaccine a few years ago, but have shingles again now... Told it could be a much worse case without having had the vaccine.

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    3. I was told once you have shingles you can't get the vaccine

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    4. You CAN get the shingles vaccine after having shingles. According to the CDC: "Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider."

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  11. Thanks for all the comments I am 26 and recently seen the doctor and told me :( In one day it spread to my back to shoulder and underarm I taking my meds 3 times a day this is my first complet day of meds! For the pain at night does sleeping pills work?

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  12. I've had the singles for 4 weeks now. This pain is demonic!!!! Get's worse at night. I been on nerve pain meds (lyrica). Seems to help me somewhat. Can't take these sleepless nights anymore. Thank you for sharing your stories, it helps to hear what other people are going through...good luck to all.

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    1. My Dr put me on gabapentin 3/300 mg /day and it's been 2 weeks and no relief. Are you still taking Lyrica or did your pain go away?

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  13. I see I'm not the only one with a lot more pain at night than during the day. It is unlike any other pain I have felt...I feel the stabbing, burning pain on the inside (rib cage area, on my back and side), but ice packs on the rash help. I'm in week 3 and I sure hope I feel better soon. I need some sleep!!

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    1. Wondering if your pain ever went away or are you still dealing with it?

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  14. Yup, got diagnosed 4 days ago, and ain't. No fun. Blistering from mid back to mid chest. Pain varies from tolerable in daytime, or when i'm busy, to monumental at night. Vicodin 10-325, take the edge off at night, but not true relief. Guess I've just joined this battle from what i've read here.

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  15. Got diagnosed yesterday, blood test confirmed shingles today. I never had chicken pox, but they said the chicken pox virus could get into my body and lay dormant in nerves. Hence why the blood test since I thought I had a pinched nerve again in my shoulder, causing pain down my left arm. I had pain start start in my should/upper arm around Aug 10th, the chiropractor told me my bursa was definitely inflamed. Did TEMS on it, seemed to help. Problem is he is in Ohio and I live in FL so can't get no more TEMS to help arm pain. The pain is worse for me at night...but I also think it's worse at night because I kept really busy with work and cleaning and packing my house ....so my mind didn't think about the soreness or pain. It felt like I had 10 tetanus shots in my upper arm, few hard pea-size lumps, and I only have few rash spots - I thought they were spider bites that gave me a reaction. I've started the anti-viral pills (horse pills and I have to break into thirds to swallow) and began a steroid pack. Nothing for pain was prescribed. Applying benedryl cream. My rash is not spreading at least not yet....in fact looks like healing. So I will remain optimistic. I did not need something the past 2 nights for the pain - and could sleep. I can relate though since I couldn't sleep for the 1st two weeks at all - took tylenol with codeine that i happened to have for migraines from my aneurysm last year...that gave me relief to sleep 4 hours about. Here's hoping for speedy recovery. I am thinking about going in my pool twice per day. Any thoughts on going in a pool? As I said I prefer to resume my usual life, forget about it....and believe it too shall go away in due time.

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  16. All of the above.....diagnosed 1.5 weeks ago. I am trying to remain positive, but at 87 years, positive is difficult in the best of times and believe me, this is definitely not the best!!

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    1. hope you got through it without too much agony...

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  17. I have all the symptoms of the pain, the burning and numbness in my right should down my arm and to my hand. My armpit is the worse. It burn like razor burn and no amount of cream makes it go away. I itch under the skin on my back and my arm. Weird thing is I have no rash. I have been like this for over a week. Because my husband is immune suppressed, liver transplants, I was advised to start the valtrex now. how long did you all deal with the pain before the rash? has anyone else had the symptoms with the rash and been treated.

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  18. Started Aug 6, with back pain and 2 days later the rash had developed with blisters. Went to Dr and he put me on valacyclovir (sp?) 3x/day for a week. The day after Dr visit a fever started and ran for about 4 days. It took rash to dry up in about a total of 2 weeks. Aug 28th went back to Dr due to extreme pain, and itch. He put me on prednisone for itch and gabapentin (generic for neurotin) 300mg pills, 3/day for pain. Had to work up to that doseage in 2 week time. Now it's been 2 weeks on both medicine and I have a little less itchiness but pain is still ever strong and present. Feel home bound, don't want to spend time outside, because heat and humidity aggravates it. Ohio weather is that way now. Thankfully, I work in air conditioning. It also keeps me up at night. The only relief I get is warm baths in Aveeno oatmeal and then also wearing ice packs strapped around my body and at night. I'm praying this wont last forever but I am getting discouraged after reading on internet it may. I am 50yrs old but feel like I have aged 10 yrs in a month. I always have been slim and in shape but the only comfort I have right now is food, probably going to pack on the pounds out of depression. Next Dr appt set end of Sept but I think I will call and ask if I can up the gabapentin, because at this time I FEEL NO RELIEF😢.

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  19. I am into shingles 11 days. I thought I had a high pain tolerance, this is beating me up. I have cried many tears over the past few days.I was prescribed an anti viral and Norco. I was so cocky at the time I didn't think I would use the Norco. I am so glad I got it! I take a pill and a half in the evening, which I thought would get me through the night, it lasts about 2.5 hours before the pain wakes me up and I start the "try to find comfort" process all over again. My pain is at night. During the day I am almost normal. I have found that for my shingle pain (located behind my right arm in the rib cage around and down front to my bottom right rib, only 8-10 spots ever appeared on the front rib) for temporary night relief I plop myself over a soft footstool on my belly with my arms hanging to the floor and my knees along side the foot stool. This sounds crazy but it works for me. I also use a herbal icy hot in the area of pain. This helps for a bit as well. A heat pad is really what has been getting me through the night. Just warm, not hot. I am so thankful for the comments above. It is nice to know I am not alone in this awful ailment. And that "this too shall pass".

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    1. Been dealing with this for about two weeks now. So typical based on all the comments (aching, burning, occasionally shooting pain in right rib cage, some rash spots, far more pain at night, coffee seems to help, etc.).

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  20. Started with a soreness at my lower back 2 weeks back. 1 week ago. Lumps started to form near back and spread to left thigh and ass. Now, i am sleeping on my right side s9 as to "air" my skin. Not sure if it helps. Stay strong! What doesnt kill us make us stronger!

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  21. Started with a soreness at my lower back 2 weeks back. 1 week ago. Lumps started to form near back and spread to left thigh and ass. Now, i am sleeping on my right side s9 as to "air" my skin. Not sure if it helps. Stay strong! What doesnt kill us make us stronger!

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  22. Mine started last week and was diagnosed yesterday as shingles. On my back and midriff all on the right hand side. Midriff is swollen too. Without a doubt the pain is worse at night. I thought I was imagining it but, after reading other comments, know that it's true. Been signed off work his week but not sure when I will be able to wear normal clothes for a 12-13 hour stint at work! Can hardly stand anything touching the affected areas. I had shingles once before on the top of my leg, which was about 20 years ago. I never, ever want this again!

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  23. Nine days into my rash, and fleece pajamas are my best friend. The pain is definitely worse at night, or when I do any sort of exertion. Grocery shopping about killed me! The pain in my lower sternum and between my shoulder blades is the worst!

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  24. I just pray for all of us! I too have a high pain tolerance, but I've never experienced any pain like that which shingles evinces. I haven't slept in the evening for seven days now, but for those of you who are Christian, I find meditating with the Lord and reading His Word help get me through the nights. Though I'm in tremendous pain, like all of you, I know that "Joy comes in the morning." God Bless you all.

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  25. Wow...Im not alone. This helps me so much! Lots of helpful info here. I am in day 8 of this nightmare. Have had mild shingle pain flares in hip & down my right leg, with NO rash...last about a week , 2 or3 x a year, no big deal. Just suffered thur it. But.....this time?!?! Began New Years Eve nite...thought my spleen would explode out of my left rigcage...went to ER. Doc thought I had Peptic Ulcer. Then the rash began and it alllll began to make sense. :( Will keep all us in my prayers!!

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  26. Hi, It helps to know How others are coping with shingles. I have been in a lot of pain and very depressed as I now have post hermetic neuralgia which I was told could last for years.Had terrible pain in my back to start with and then a rash broke out early n Christmas morning. Got Antiviral tablets n Boxing Day which is supposed to halt the spread of the rash if you get them within 72 hours. Can't sleep and don't find anything takes away the itchiness, pain and numbness. I find baths make it much worse. Now have Lidocaine ointment and Pregabaln tablets. Has anyone found these helpful?

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Whoever diagnosed you with post hermetic neuralgia was wrong. That diagnosis CANNOT be made unless the pain persists 90 days after the shingles outbreak. I am telling you this so you do not suffer undue stress. From your post, it has been less than a month so you're still in the normal shingles period. The pain is severe and it will come and go for 6-8 weeks but then it should get better. I had great luck with the lidocaine patches. You can only wear them 12 hours on, 12 hours off, but for the 12 hours on the relief was tremendous.

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    2. Thank you Emelia. It helps to hear that. A doctor diagnosed me and I have been quite depressed as can't help thinking I will never get better. There seems to be an improvement one day and the next day I am worse again. From what you say though, this is a normal pattern and the progress is slow. I don't have the patches, just the ointment as the sores are still not healed properly. I find it is the itchiness which drives me crazy too. Does this go away with the pain?

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    3. The itching does goes away not long after the pain but you're right - it drives us crazy in the meantime! What helped me the most was dabbing the itchy area with cotton balls soaked in apple cider vinegar. I would do this several times a day - basically whenever the itching became bothersome. In place of the vinegar, you can use ORIGINAL Listerine (the amber colored mouthwash). It contains several essential oils and herbs that have a soothing and medicinal effect.

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  27. Just diagnosed with shingles..had pain in my arm thought it was a bad pinched nerve. Then a rash the size of a half dollar showed up on my arm by my shoulder out of nowhere.I called the Dr she put me on a antiviral med and a nerve med. It doesn't help much as I am still in pain and the rash has spread to my armpit and behind my armpit also just a little and on my elbow and also a small spot in-between my cleavage..the pain goes from my chest all the was to my fingers. My elbow was last and somehow has the small blisters starting.
    I am a single mom with four kids and no help. My one son is special needs and I am so drained and exhausted. I just want to feel normal and not want to sleep all day. And want this pain to go away because it is no joke. I think a call to the Dr for pain meds might be a next step. I already feel off center and it really does a number on u mentally because of the lack of sleep and pain..

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    1. {{{{HUGS}}}} I feel so bad for you! Hopefully getting on the antiviral so quickly will help shorten the timespan. I won't lie - it is a long month of recovery (4-6 weeks). The good news is there will be some short periods of time when the pain will go away. Sleep as much as you can then. I know that's not much comfort but I'd rather be honest so you know what to expect. I got a great deal of comfort soaking in warm baths. I finally had to get a one of those u-shaped kid blowup swim floats they use in pools. I would put that around my neck so if I fell asleep in the tub, my head wouldn't bob under.

      Also, I don't know if you are a coffee drinker but if you are, it helped reduce the pain for me AND, ironically, helped me sleep. I know that sounds counterintuitive. If you aren't already a coffee drinker, it may have the opposite effect.

      Please post back if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to "talk" during the sleepless nights. This is when and why I started this blog. I wish you all the best and a very speedy recovery!

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  28. 5% lidocaine cream, which you can keep in the fridge and feels good cold on the pain sites. Prednisone helped quite a bit, but can't stay on it forever. I nap a lot during the day as sleep at night is so difficult.
    Good luck everyone

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  29. Hello I was diagnosed with shingles around my eyelid area which I am concerned. The rash wasn't noticeable until the 19th but there were signs on 18th. The biggest problem is during at night I cannot go to sleep because the burning/stabbing sensation is strong. I would like to know what to use so I relieve stress as painkillers do not work for me as well as sleeping pills.

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    1. My dr gave me Norco and it helps with the shooting pains. Dulls them.

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  30. Anime, I feel so bad for you. What a horrible spot to have it. Many of the things I found for relief simply would not be safe for the eye area. If you are ALREADY a coffee drinker, I found it helped quite a bit. Makes no sense, I know, but it had the opposite affect while I had shingles and helped me relax / sleep. If you aren't already used to drinking coffee, it may not have the desired effect. I also had great response to taking lysine in pretty large doses. See: http://www.thetruthaboutshingles.com/2013/07/l-lysine-and-shingles.html for my experience with that. At the very least, you will want to avoid foods that promote the virus. This includes anything high in arginine (shellfish, nuts, etc). Most protein shakes have a lot of arginine so read the label carefully if you're a fan of those. Many virtual hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery. It seems like a long haul while in the midst of it, but YOU WILL GET BETTER.

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    1. Also, Tagamet gave me great relief. For one thing (not to be underestimated) it helped me finally get some sleep. There's not much interest in it by big pharma since it's an over the counter med they can't make any $$$ on. For my original post on it, see: http://www.thetruthaboutshingles.com/2013/02/tagamet-cimetidine-and-shingles.html

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  31. As like all of you I was diagnosed with shingles omg all I do is look things up to try and find some miracle cure or a anything to find relief I've tried just about everything I'm going into my 3rd week I did get some fast results from collidal silver dried the blisters up real quick but unfortunately the pain is still there and some nights the burning itching stabbing pain is unbearable..I wish you all the best of luck

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  32. My husband developed shingles about 5 weeks ago, and he has been in absolute agony. We have tried so many topical things, apple cider vinegar worked for a while, also Listerine (gold bottle), various anti pain creams and anti itch creams, they all pretty much work for a little while then they become ineffective. He is having some relief by using good old fashioned witch hazel. He takes L-Lysine, vitamin D-3, vitamin C. After many many hours searching the internet I found something called Olive Leaf Extract and he is taking high doses of that, unfortunately because of heart issues he cant take the full high dose as it lowers blood pressure quite significantly so I would warn anyone who takes it to keep checking your blood pressure. The research on Olive Leaf Extract is quite extensive and I would recommend it. Very beneficial for all kinds of health issues. Its important to get high oleuropein content, he as been taking 22 percent and I just found 25 percent. As an adult with a serious problem like shingles its recommended to take a high dose, ideally he would be taking 10 pills (22 percent) per day. Read the labels carefully and get high oleuropein. One last thought, we tried Capsaicin cream which is recommended for shingles and I cannot tell you how much pain he was in after applying this cream. I have never seen anyone suffering so much it was truly awful. I couldn't wash it off him, adding water made the pain even worse. This went on for an hour or so, so please please try a very small area to see what reaction you get. Wait at least 30 minutes. Hope this helps anyone suffering out there. And I wanted to my sympathy to those care givers out there who are doing what they can to ease the pain of their loved ones. It's tough and exhausting my heart goes out to you all.

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    1. I meant to say that my husband is a complete skeptic about anything herbal or non-doctor recommended, but he definitely felt the pain lesson considerable since he went on Olive Leaf Extract.

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    2. That was such a lovely and helpful post from a caregiver of someone suffering from shingles. The Olive Leaf Extract information was great - thanks so much for sharing.

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    3. Emelia, thank you. As of today he is suffering a lot less, but it's not gone away. The pain area is smaller and nowhere near as severe. I think we have seen a turning point for sure. As for the Olive Leaf Extract, each time he stops taking it he feels the pain intensifying. It certainly seems like powerful stuff.

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  33. Thanks for the encouragement- I am in week 4 and the burning, numbness, and sharp pain is excruciating especially at night. My skin is so hypersensitive, praying for relief!!!!!

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  34. Thanks for the encouragement- I am in week 4 and the burning, numbness, and sharp pain is excruciating especially at night. My skin is so hypersensitive, praying for relief!!!!!

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  35. I know it is small consolation, but you are in the home stretch with 2 weeks or less to go. One thing I experienced was that after 4 weeks, the pain went away for a day or two. I thought it was over and was really happy, then shocked and saddened when it came right back. That happened again the following week before finally completely stopping. Hang in there!

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  36. Thanks all of you. It helps to know this will end. I am in 2nd week and my rash is almost gone but the pain is much worse. It is on my face (lovely) :-) from my left ear to my chin and the pain is concentrated in my ear. I know it's not really in my ear - it's the nerve beneath - but it feels like a hot poker stabbing my ear all the time. We caught It early and doc put me on antiviral med so I think that helped. I was already on gabapentin2x/day for migraine prevention so she upped it to 3x/day. It helped the first week but this week it doesn't even touch the pain. So tired of this!! I'm so sorry some of you are doing this for weeks and months! I will say this - last night I took 2 gabapentin and a muscle relaxer and it knocked me out so I was able to get a fair amount of sleep. I hope that is helpful for someone. Good luck to all of you

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  37. I am beginning week 5 and the pain is still tough to deal with - I have been on gabapentin and the antiviral. Today I asked the doctor if I should try amtriptilyn that some use at night but he gave me hydrocodon with acetaminophen combined in one tablet. Also my sister bought an abdominal binder for me because I have the nerve pain across my right flank - a coworker told her that it helps with nerve pain - it holds the skin in one place over a cotton tee and so the hypersensitivity of the skin is lessened. Cant where a bra so it also gives some support - the top of the brace is below the bra line and it lifts a little. I did not want to be on pain meds but I am giving it a try - hoping this will be over in a week or two.....I had been on a tappering dose of prednisone for bronchitis and my immune system was compromised due to the prednisone - was 58 when this started and just turned 59. Never expected this!!!!

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  38. I'm in week 3 of shingles which I think was brought on by much stress I internalized from my job. First symptom was severe abdominal pain that wrapped around to my back which I would describe as undulating pressure and lightening strikes. I woke up every night around 2am with unabating pain and couldn't get back to sleep. 3 days later the rash appeared. Because of time constraints, I wasn't able to get to a doctor until 4 days after that and was prescribed an anti-viral (Acyclovir) and Oxycodin which made it possible to finally sleep through the night. As I had been out of town all of this time, when I got back home, I saw my doc who prescribed me Gabapentin (100mg,3Xday) which didn't do jack and it was increased to (300mg,3Xday) three days later. That was more helpful but still deficient so since I had the left-over 100mg capsules, I increased it to (400mg,3Xday) which has been the most helpful. The doc also suggested I take Lysine (1000mg, 3Xday) and a multi-vitamin. All along, I've been spraying the rash with an aerosol-type Calamine Lotion several times daily which has helped the blisters dry up and helped with the itchiness. At this point, I am great during the day but when the sun starts going down, the pain starts to flare up.(The nocturnal nature of this virus is very curious to me.) Last night, I took to bed having taken 800mg of ibuprofen and applying Capzacian creme to the dried up and crusted-over rash. It was amazing how hot it got and how deeply I felt it within my body but if you can stand it, it will override the nerve pain and help you sleep. I hope my account of shingles may help someone cope with their symptoms and wish us all a speedy recovery. Kind regards, Michele

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  39. Vicki in CaliforniaJuly 8, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    I'm so glad to see this blog is still ongoing - I just found it in trying to find answers! I wouldn't wish shingles on my worst enemy, and certainly don't want to say misery loves company, but finding others dealing with the exact same issues and giving advice/feedback/experiences is tremendously helpful. So thank you, Emelia, for starting this blog! I am beginning week four. One thing I noticed that others haven't mentioned is that I am a TYPE 1 (insulin dependent) diabetic. However, I was diagnosed at 42 (I'm 55) and have had no diabetic complications. I wear an insulin pump and have always exercised so in pretty good shape. I mention this because I've read a lot about shingles affecting those with compromised immune systems, which obviously I have. I thought I had sciatica (experienced once before) because I started getting a sensation of soreness in my left thigh and 3 days later the pain started shooting from my left hip/buttocks area all the way down my leg. The next day I had a very small rash on top of my left foot. Long-story short, my chiropractor husband told me he thinks its probably shingles. Went to my internist the next day and he gave me the anti-viral med (this is on day 8 from that first uncomfortable thigh feeling) and hydrocodone. I'm like everyone else where by 8:00am-ish I'm pain-free and as the evening progresses it comes on, and then during the night I'm up every two hours taking pain meds and Advil. Called my internist about a week ago and said I needed something to knock me out at night. He gave me lorazepam but it didn't do anything more than I what I was taking so I stopped it after two nights. Called my endocrinologist yesterday and she said I need to be on a nerve pain med and told me to come down and get some Lyrica samples from her. I was so excited because she said it would help with pain and sleep. However, after coming home with it, I read up about it and my understanding is that is for chronic pain and a med that doesn't seem like you take on a temporary basis. It also sounded like something that doesn't even take effect for at least a few days to a couple weeks. I didn't take it last night because I'm hoping I'm not one of the 15-20% of people that get PHN (pain that never goes away). I saw one person on this blog say they took Lyrica but I'm wondering if anyone else knows anything about it?? Oh, and luckily I've had no itching; the rash on my foot is discolored but no longer red and never did become "blistery." The rash on my left side lower back (which at first we thought was a burn because I fell asleep with a hot pack back on day 2 when I thought it was sciatica!) is the same as the rash on the top of my foot. Grateful for small blessings (the no itching). The hot showers, pain meds, lidocaine patches have been my only relief, albeit it too temporary. Except, of course, for daytime. That's the best relief of all. I begin vacation for a week August 5 at a beach house and praying to the healing gods that I get my life back by then.

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  40. I am now just passing 3 weeks with shingles...first thought to be bad muscle pull. My wife is a physician and has done everything medically possible to help. This has been HELL. Someone able to handle pain but this is just different. My rash has been minimal and minor itching but the pain in my right side is horrible. And like others have written sleeping is the worst. I dreadgoing to bed and yet am dying for sleep. If anyone has thoughts on sleep aides I'm listening. Like I said my wife is a doc and doing all she can but I got 1 hour last night and 2 the night before that's about my norm. By the way Teracil cream did help...I think it stopped rash fast. I am praying a lot and hoping this ends soon or I may lose my mind!
    Dennid

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  41. Anonymous, does your wife think Lyrica will help? My endo gave it to me and at first I didn't take it since it was for chronic pain, it seemed to me. But after another couple of weeks I would try anything. I am on a low dose, 50mg twice a day, and it's what got me to be able to sleep through the night. I hope this helps. Godspeed. Shingles is the monster of all monsters.

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  42. Well, I guess I get to join the club of fun! Thought I had a pinched nerve, was going to see chiropractor last Sunday, then when I went to bed, I noticed rash. Looked like poison ivy. I had just mowed lawn at my home for the first time, so thought it possible. What hell the pain became. Doctor told me I have stress induced shingles. Asked if I was stressed over anything. Well yes, I'm a crane operator, stress is daily. Just bought my first home to take care of my terminally ill mother. She said yup, that'll do it. I got 1 hour sleep last night, which is not good for operating heavy equipment. I'm the sole provider of my family, 2 adult dependents. Sigh. I've been laying on my side for 2 hours as I type this on my phone. I guess I'll get up, have some coffee, see if that helps. Also going to try my mother's cannabis oil on the rash. It goes from my sternum, under nipper, around ribs, to my spine. Been 8 days since the pain started. And I already am sick of it. I wouldn't wish this on anyone except maybe Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

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  43. Thanks to all who have written your words. Last Friday night I had an itchy rash on my back and thought a bug had bitten me. I kept an eye on it and throughout the next day my left arm would itch, but I could not scratch it and it felt numb and a bit weird. As the days progressed I was diagnosed with shingles on Monday and began taking anti viral med and exedrine around the clock. Not too bad the first few nights, but then it has become pretty painful in left arm area and hits other random spots as it sees fit. Like something is chewing my nerve inside my flesh. Mainly in my upper underarm arm area. The other night I felt like this must be what it feels like if you have cancer in your arm. An ace bandage helps wrapped tight around my arm, but the pain still hits. I have never felt anything like this. I don't feel like I have the worst case because I am mostly functioning pretty well, except to sleep. I take ambien and it is only letting me sleep for about 4 hours and then the pain wakes me up. 6am today I took a vicodin that was my husband's from a long time ago. It helped. I also take 10mg of Adderall daily for adhd and I have a feeling that is helping me during the day. Night brings the pain on and I am hoping i am done with this soon. The rash is just small and healing but it is trying to erupt on my arm and I look great except for this weirdness going on inside me. I hope we all heal quickly. Oh, I did try capsaicin and it was horrible. I agree on trying a small spot first. It hurt so bad and I had to jump into the shower and was able to get it mostly off with a gentle shampoo that does not have sulfates in it. Good luck everyone and please tell others to get the vaccine. I did not think I was a person who would get shingles.

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    1. I also need to add that I have found the Earth Therapeutic microwaveable wraps to be helpful. I have used these for years and you can get them at kohl's or bed bath beyond. I love them for achy muscles and the shoulder one heated up for 2.5 minutes is very relieving.i recommend this for the pain as it helps me feel better.

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    2. It's me again and I have to say that I slept with the heat wrap thing last night and it helped so much. Still woke up early, put it back into the microwave and went back to bed. I am going to buy more of those or try to find one that is larger. It took that gnawing nerve pain away for awhile. What is so weird for me about this is that you look so normal while having this biting pain under your skin. No coughing or runny nose like if normally ill. I do not usually get sick, have given birth 4 times with no epidural, and am very healthy. This makes me feel sorry for myself, like my body is betraying me. I am 59 and feel 39 and this is like a kick in the left arm! A hard kick from someone with boots on. What the heck? I will repeat that I feel fortunate to be on Adderall because with it being a stimulant, I think it pulls me up and out of myself with this idiotic shingles deal. Until nighttime anyway. Wishing loving and quick healing to anyone dealing with this.

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  44. So, me again and it is 13 days and still hurting. I am now taking advil around the clock and right now I think I like advil. Maybe the other stuff was better and maybe advil is better now. I don't know. It is getting on my nerves and affecting my sleep and mood. I would not say I have the worst case, but it certainly isn't a walk in the park. Still hurts in my left arm, goes to my breast, my nipple? around to my shoulder blade and blah blah. The heat wrap thing I mentioned still really helps and I recommend that. I feel like crying sometimes because my sleep is interrupted and I have been taking ambien to help me sleep. Ambien is not a great thing to take and makes me feel sort of depressed the next day. I am still willing to take it right now because I hurt more at night as some of you may know. For some reason shingles hurts more at night. Sometimes I feel like I have a sunburn but the rash is really clearing up and I am not having anymore breakouts. I think the anti viral meds really helped. For any of you dealing with this asshole shingles, I am sorry and feel like there should be a cure for this. I am told I could have a few more weeks to go. I also have this strange gnawing in the pit of my stomach sometimes. Maybe that is the advil. I have taken more over the counter pills than I ever have in a long time. I also recommend getting the real stuff and not generic. Like Bayer aspirin, exedrine, advil or motrin. I believe they are superior to the generic. Don't try to save money on yourself here. My dr did give me Neurontin but I am not going to take it as the side effects sound scary. So, I see no one is here but hopefully my experience will help someone realize there are options to get around the pain, if not totally get rid of it.

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  45. I'm sorry to hear of your suffering. It's definitely a monster disease. I hate to tell you that 13 days is an extremely short period for shingles but you may be extremely lucky. Mine started in June 18 and I didn't sleep through the night until about August 1st. And like you I didn't take the Lyrica (similar to Neurontin) I was given because it's for chronic pain and the side effects sounded awful; however, after another couple of weeks of misery and with a vacation coming up I started taking it. I almost slept the entire night right away. I highly recommend you try the Neurontin. I also was living on Advil and that's really rough on your stomach as well as other organs over time. Hope this helps and wishing you a speedy recovery!

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    1. Thanks Vicki. My name is annie and I am logged in as anonymous. I think this is 17 days now and there are times I am ok and times it is like "are you kidding me". The advil is doing a number on my stomach and I switched to Tylenol today. I have to mention that another thing that is so helpful is something called Biofreeze. Its like a little miracle. I have it is the roll on bottle. You cannot just get it anywhere, but many chiropractors offices will carry it and you could just stop in or call around. Seriously good stuff. It makes your skin feel cold but really good. Takes the pain. I just don't have a good feeling about the Neurontin for me. Vicki, are you all recovered now and doing ok? I want to wake up and its all over. I am attempting to behave as normal as I can and be positive this will pass soon. I am not a sickly person and this weeks long stuff is crazy. I am also taking Lysine which I read is supposed to help. Who knows? I drink a lot of water and recommend that. Another wish for everyone dealing with this to recover quickly.

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  46. No one has mentioned having shingles on the face. I had the shingles shot 3 1/2 weeks ago and started having pain in my mouth several days later. The rash then showed up on my upper left lip and left check. The check has nearly faded but the lip continues to swell and become painful at night. The stabbing pain goes to my eye, temple, and back of my neck. My meds do keep me asleep at night. I am wondering whether I should try some Lyrica for a week or so since I have some on hand. Fortunately, the headaches have mostly subsided.

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    1. Oh no, so, you got the vaccine and got shingles? Sorry, I don't know what to tell you. I am anonymous up there and I am still resisting Neurontin. I might think differently if I had it on my face. Good grief, I am sorry you or any of us are dealing with this.

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  47. I did decide to start 150mg. of pregabalin today and will report on progress.

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  48. Took .150 mg pregabalin (Lyrica generic not available in the States) yesterday afternoon and had relief within a couple of hours. However, i did have some dizziness and a bit of fogginess. The pain returned this a.m. and I took .75 mg, but the effect wasn't as long-lasting. Just happened to have an ob/gyn appt. today and she told me to keep up the meds for a couple of weeks and then see what happens. Maybe the pain will be gone!

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  49. 3 weeks today and I think the worst is over. Still feel some mild pain , but I only took advil once today. I took benedryl last night to sleep and had a horrible nightmare? Geez. I hope this thing is on its way out. I don't want to take ambien to sleep because it makes me depressed the next day. So, 2 days now and it hasn't been as bad. Tender but not awful. Still feels like a sunburn but not as mean. Not having the biting feeling inside my arm anymore. So, shingles sucks. I read that since it affects your nerves, it affects your nervous system and it can make you feel like crying (true), moody and mean (true), depressed (true), and scared it isn't going to stop. True. I have taken Tylenol, exedrin, aspirin, codeine, vicodin, advil, and all worked better than others at different times. Ambien to sleep and that didn't work all night, but better than nothing. Earth therapeutic wraps that you microwave..lovely, hot showers, Biofreeze, which really rocks, and said some prayers. I think I'm getting better. I feel better. I'll let you know. Please let this be true. :)

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  50. Annie anonymous again checking in. I think this is the 3rd day now that I just feel like I have a sunburn. No inner nerve pain and I am grateful for that. I still feel moody and I think that is because the virus really messes with your nervous system and mine is touchy to begin with. I'm still using biofreeze and you need to get some if you haven't. If I could give people with shingles a gift, it would be a bottle of biofreeze and the earth heated wrap I mentioned. My muscles ache a bit where the rash started but I am still convinced that recovery is happening. Again, taking the anti viral med upon first suspicion is key I think. Do not wait to go to the Dr or urgent care. My Dr was not in that day and I knew I needed urgent care. I have a feeling this would have been much worse. So, don't be a baby and not go to get help. I feel 80% normal and that is good for today. Reminder that nourishing yourself is important. I made myself super vitamin packed smoothies and still do and slept as much as I could . Be kind to yourself. I am still going to get the vaccine once in feel totally healed because I have heard this can happen more than once. Healing wishes for anyone suffering from shingles. Xoxo

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  51. After a couple of days I stopped the Lyrica because of side-effects. A very kind pharmacist advised me to use Aspercream with lidocaine around my upper lip where the pain is the worst. It helps greatly, but needs to be re-applied often. Oral pain relievers don't seem to help at all.

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    1. I am glad the aspercreme helps. This illness is so evil.i resisted the neurontin and am glad I did. I hope you heal soon.

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  52. Ok I was diagnosed with shingles yesterday- have had it since Friday- it's on the right side of my forehead and scalp- so far spread down to my eyebrow and all the way to my temple. It's 2:48 am- and of course I can't sleep- I can't take anything except for Tylenol bc I am 13 weeks pregnant. I cannot tell you how miserable I am- the stabbing pain in the temple area is the worst. Any eyebrow movement also sends stabbing pains across the right side of my head. It's itchy burning and painful all at the same time- I didn't realize you could feel two different pains at the same time! I am worried about sleepless nights and pregnancy the most- I'm also scared that it's going to travel to my right eye. When the Dr. told me I couldn't take anything other than Tylenol, he looked sad for me- lol. I just can't believe I may have 5 more weeks of this to look forward to...ugh-

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    1. Eileen, my heart breaks for you. I'm so sorry. I understand. What about a cool cloth on your face? Or warm? The earth therapeutic wraps that you microwave really helped me. Or compression of some sort. That seemed to help also. Like pressure helped it be controlled or something. I wish you the fastest recovery possible. My son in law is 37 and very healthy. He got it last year and it lasted 10 days. So, it is possible to heal more quickly. This is my hope for you. My name is Annie and hang in there.you are not alone and this will pass.

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  53. I'm 6 days in and I still can't believe this is happening to me. 45 y/o female. We were in a pretty severe car accident a few weeks ago and my dr felt the trauma was enough to bring this on. I started antiviral same day as rash breakout so I felt good about starting treatment so soon. Before I went to bed tonight I was feeling so much better...like I turned a corner and now here I am...at 4:30am typing this out and in pain! Camomile lotion, oatmeal baths and my heating pad have been my life savers. Can't wait for this to be over. I'm so blessed to work from home anyway so living in pj's and working odd hours. I just can't even believe this is happening.

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  54. I had vague symptoms about a week ago then broke out on one side of my face ,God awful lesions under chin and ear. It is the worst pain I ever had . I was diagnosed later than the 72 hr period and an on anti-viral meds and pain killers. I'm up now at 3 a.m. With excruciating pain. Like someone is stabbing me with needles! I'm so glad I saw this blog since this whole thing is scary and depressing! And I'm only about a week into it!

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  55. All I can say is thank you for telling your stories. I have shingles right now and each minute feels like an hour. Your stories and information as given me courage.

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  56. Fran and Linne, I am so sorry you are experiencing this evil thing. I am anonymous annie and have posted quite a few times. This site really helped me. I am a little over 4 weeks and except for a little tenderness where I had the rash, I am saying it is over for me. It will be over for you too. I know it doesn't seem like it, but it will and you will feel happy and good again. I was so sad and depressed and worried. It is all normal to feel all sorts of weird ways. I feel a little more tired than usual, but hang in there and I cannot recommend enough those Earth Therapeutic things that you microwave. It was so comforting and really took the pain away for a while. Like a little miracle. Also the biofreeze. Love and light and fast healing to anyone dealing with shingles.

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  57. Does the shingles pain get better then worse? I've been dealing with this about 2 weeks and thought I was getting better, then things start to feel worse again. Sure feels like a roller coaster of "I think I'm getting better" back to "It hurts so bad!"

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    1. My name is Annie and that seems to be true. At 2 weeks I was still pretty unhappy and there would be times it was not too bad and then the next day I would have some new type of pain. Once it felt like little cuts all over an area. It's been over 4 weeks and I feel mostly healed except for today the previous rash area has been itchy all day and now feels sore. My muscle in that area feels sore. Nothing at all like the early deal. Just a bit unnerving because it's like it's still talking a little. So, I do think it comes and goes, but the it's gets better. Shingles is a very weird illness. Roller coaster is a good analogy. The thing to remember is that for most people, this will truly go away. It strange because it's not like you know many people with shingles and people in your household don't all get it like a cold and no one looking at you knows how you feel. Someone on here told me 13 days was really early for recovery back when I posted. I believe them now. Hang in there. This will pass.

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  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  59. Aug 28 felt flu symptoms. Aug 31 got bubbly rash, saw doc, put on Anti viral. Filled script for Lyrica, but did not take as scared of side effects. By Sept 3 was willing to try ANYTHING. Combination of red hot poker stabbing pain, body is moving like a boxer avoiding a punch. Started on 500mg of paracetamol and 500mg of ipobrufen taken at the same time. Helped, but by day 7, pain was dreadfull. Used bi-carb to take sting out of rash.Also started the Lyrica. lt does help. As posted, pain was uncontrollable at night, itch was worse....not even a rash so much as a blotch now but still superitchy. Pain at night was an EXPLOSION of pain that woke me up...nearly vomited and head felt it was total blackness. Totally incapacitated me. However, l was eating nut chocolate while reading, so that had to stop due to neg info re nuts. 3rd night explosion not so severe. So in my case it was lyrica and paracetemol and iboprufen every 4 hrs. Use at your own risk. Apologies in advance but considering my recent health issues.....l would rather have my chemo, radiation, and broken ankle than Shingles.......even tho l was hospitalised at the time. l have lung cancer so immune system is compromised. Total sympathy to all, hang in there and keep your sense of humour....This is into my 4th week so l live in hope it will diminish now. By the way, worst nights were 3 weeks in, good luck to all.

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    1. This is a P.S. for the notes above (from Kazza). Returned to doc today, he has told me my shingles have run their course and l now have the neuralga after effect. The reason l was having blackout pain was because the first doc (actually my oncologist) had given me too low a dosage to relieve nerve pain. l was on 25mg 3 or 4 times a day. Way to low. Am now on 75mg twice a day.....apparently you can even double that when necessary. l am so glad l saw this doc....l was too scared to go to bed!!!( had another blackout pain this afternoon, is why l went to doc). hope this helps to clarify and can put someones mind to rest....you do not have to live with the pain.

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    2. Kazza, I hope this is encouraging but I think your doctor may be too hasty with the neuralgia diagnosis. Shingles takes 5-6 weeks to run its course and if I'm reading your post correctly, yours did not start until Aug 28. By September 20, you would be only about halfway through (ugh, sorry, I realize that's not much consolation). I wish I had seen your post sooner (I was traveling) but if you happen to see this, please post back and let us know how you are doing now. From the sounds of it, you have had quite a handful and I wish you all the best. {{{HUGS}}}

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  60. Hello. I stumbled across this site after looking at endless other web sites on shingles. It's the first one I've found where people are posting about symptoms and feelings, etc. You are all describing 100% what I am going through and while I sympathise and my heart goes out to all the sufferers, I am grateful to finally realise that I'm not alone, that I'm not exaggerating how I'm feeling and that there may be an end in sight.

    I remember being a small child and seeing my mother rocking back and forth in a chair, screaming. She had shingles, but I was young and had no clue what she was going through. Medications in that time would have been inferior to what are around today. I now feel her pain and understand.

    Anyone who asks about my pain, I tell them to go and get a knife out of the kitchen drawer and stab themselves in the side repeatedly. I'm positive the pain I am experiencing is exactly how that would feel.

    My first symptom was on Thursday, 15 September 2016 when I had a twinge of a headache behind one eye. I NEVER get headaches. It progressed from there to a sunburn/achey/sore feeling, then that revolting sharp, piercing pain in my left side at the waist area. I thought I had an infection of some kind. I went to the doctor on the following Monday, who queried maybe shingles but there was no rash. He asked for a urine sample, then told me to come back in a few days for the results. The next morning the rash was there, so I went back to him. He started me on Valtrex, but of course it was too late for that. He also gave me a script for Panadeine Forte. Gradually the pain intensified and that severe burning down one side of my body worsened. I couldn't even stand up straight.

    I'm just about ending week 3 and although the burning has subsided a lot and the rash is fading, it still feels like there is no relief in sight with this pain. In the daytime I try to function as best I can as the painkillers do make it manageable (work, housework, etc), but if I stand up for too long, then it feels like my ribcage is imploding, so I alternate between standing and sitting. Night-time, as everyone says, is the worst. Every night I sit in a recliner in the lounge room, as I can't lay down flat. I haven't been in my bed in almost 3 weeks. To me, it feels like that severe pain sits there waiting, ready to pounce as soon as I attempt to sleep. I feel it creeping up on me, until I'm at that stage where it's unbearable. Kind of like the very last stage of labour when giving birth, but you don't get that relief between contractions. It's just one long, drawn out, mind-numbing pain. I take more pain medication and wait until it gets to the point where I no longer want to throw myself in front of a bus. I read last night on some posts that coffee is supposed to help. I made myself a cup about 2 am and watching television. At 4 am I felt I was able to sleep, which I did, for a few hours. This is me, every night, and I dread it when the sun goes down.

    The doctor has prescribed Lyrica. I looked up the side-effects and spoke to a few people about it. Weight gain. Seriously? I'm already battling weight problems. Hallucinations, dizzy spells, impaired vision. Seriously? I type court transcripts for a living. Impaired vision, dizzy spells will get me fired! (I work from home, thank goodness, so am trying to work enough to at least pay the bills.)

    So there you go. There must be those out there who can relate to my story. I just want you to know you're not alone, you're not imaging it and it's repulsive. I hope with all my heart that once the rash goes, the pain goes with it. If not...well...I just don't want to think about it. Take care!

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    1. Wow, Dianne - you nailed it! "...it feels like that severe pain sits their waiting, ready to pounce as soon as I attempt to sleep". That is EXACTLY how I felt. I am sooo glad you (and everyone else here) stumbled across this site. The worst part for me was not knowing if what I was experiencing was 'normal' or not. Thank you so much for posting!

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  61. Hi, I was diagnosed with shingles on Monday, 4 days ago. I'm on Aciclovir (antiviral) and paracetamol with codeine. One of the many places it hurts is deep inside my chest. It's a deep stabbing pain and every time I eat or drink anything (anything at all), that pain immediately gets worse, almost like indigestion but much sharper. Anyone else get this, and anyone know why? It's really putting me off consuming anything - not that I have any appetite anyway. Thanks.

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    1. Hello Twiglet, I'm Dianne and posted the comment above yours. I don't feel the pain worse when I eat, but I never ate much when I first got shingles as the codeine medication made me sick to start with. Plus my pain is in my side, not in my chest. I'd probably tell your doctor about the discomfort when you eat or drink, although with this awful thing we've all got, I wouldn't be surprised if it affected every organ in the body. I hope you feel relief soon :(

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    2. Thanks Diane! Another query - on the box of paracetamol-codeine that I'm taking, it says you can only take it for 3 days, due to risk of addiction. I'm not addicted (yet...) but I don't know how to get through this without it! Wondering if the risk is really that high since it's mainly paracetamol and only contains a small amount of codeine. Since the pain of shingles lasts a lot longer than 3 days, wondering what other people have been using if not codeine?

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    3. Ladies - opioids never helped my pain much. Only the gabapentin was helpful in taking the edge off - it did not totally relieve my pain but made life bearable. My post below tells how I recently had to get off gabapentin because I started having psychological symptoms. However, I have been dealing with postherpetic neuralgia for three and a half years, so this has been a long road for me.

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    4. Hi again, Twiglet. I have been taking Panadeine Forte since I got shingles. I was taking two at time at first, but they made me vomit, so I switched to one after food. I've tried going without them during the day if I can bear the pain, because I was worried I'd do damage. I doubt you would get addicted if you stick to what's prescribed or just take one at a time instead of two. I don't think I could have managed without some form of pain relief, so you have no choice really. I'm in week 4 now and have to say I am feeling better during the daytime. Nights are still painful though. Cheers, Di.

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    5. Thanks Dianne. Actually, I have to say that the pain is now a LOT less and I am off the co-codamol! I've only had shingles for just over a week so am wondering if I have got off lightly. Though having said that I am still woken by pain deep in my chest in the night, around 4.30am. But during the daytime I am OK - no need for any painkillers. Just hoping that I'm on the road to recovery and that I'm not being too optimistic! Glad you too are now feeling better during the daytime. It sounds like most of the other posters on this forum have had it a lot worse then me. X

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  62. Hi everyone. Lisa from Ohio here. I had shingles on the right side of my face and head in may 2013. After three and a half years I still suffer from postherpetic neuralgia, and fallout from shingles. Before shingles, I never needed to see a doctor. After shingles, I run my insurance up every year due to this horrible condition. I manage my symptoms through diet and exercise, application of hot and cold, and, of course, peppermint oil or Biofreeze (menthol seems to help temporarily). I was on gabapentin, but after three years on it, I started to have extreme anxiety and depression, to a disabling degree...so I had to get off of it. I was a week before my 49th birthday when I got shingles, and was in great health. Now I am tired all the time and have to pick and choose my activities carefully, as I don't have the stamina to do everything I used to anymore. I tried acupuncture without relief, and am currently trying 1200 mg per day of palmitoylethanolamide, from the Netherlands. I hope over time that this supplement helps me, as it is my last hope (new drug EMA401 from Novartis not due out until at least 2020, and who knows what it will cost and safety profile?)

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  63. HAIR LOSS from meds!!!! I am experiencing nerve damage pain on the entire right flank from shingles - it's been 3 1/2 months since the first symptoms. Neurologist gave me Cybalta because other meds did not help. My hair started falling out - I was on Cybalta for 25 days and gabapentin for 45 days - both can cause hair loss. The extreme pain and stress can cause hair loss too. I stopped taking the meds but now I use lidocaine patches.....should have switched to these patches a lot sooner. I had a severe case of shingles across two dermatomes on entire right side of stomach, right flank, and right side of my back. It remains worse at night but lately mornings are bad too. Try to sets away from the meds and try the lidocaine patches as soon as the lesions heal.

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    1. I also got much more relief from the Lidocaine patches. I wrote about it here: http://www.thetruthaboutshingles.com/2013/02/lidoderm-lidocaine-patch-5-for-shingles.html

      And I had hair loss from the stress as well. I am so sorry to hear that you are 3-1/2 months in and still under distress. What an awful disease this is! Please keep us posted on your progress. {{{{HUGS}}}}

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    2. So glad the lidocaine is helping you! I tried those myself, but they did not help - I have enough de-nervation of my face that they (nor capsaicin) had any benefit. Weird to touch my face and not feel it, yet at the same time have outrageous itching. And in areas outside of where I had the active blisters, I have hypersensitive nerves and pain at the slightest touch. Unfortunately, this is on the top of my head, so to get any relief from topicals, I would have to shave my head.

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    3. 9/24/16 it started on my forehead and right side of face. Urgent care doctor immediately prescribed 5 days of Valcyclovir. THen I got a bad cold and immune system got low, so shingles came back with a fury. Then urgent care doctor prescribed 10 days of Acyclovir. Now its day 45 and redness is getting less on the right side of my face, but the pain and relentless itching is awful. Much worse at night. I keep a wet washcloth in a plastic container with me at all times and keep dabbing my face for relief. Especially on my nightstand at night. It really helps. When I wake up in the morning, my eyelid is swollen and itchy, but it looks better in a few hours. Right side of shingle face is dry and red, and I apply Cetyphyl crème, but I put regular beauty crème on the normal side of my face. Hope it goes away soon. I feel your pain! Hang in there. It does get better.

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    4. Forgot to mention that Aleve really helps at bedtime to get a few hours sleep and a .25 Xanax relieves stress.

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  64. I am so glad I found this blog. I'm on my 4th week of shingles and still feeling the pain at night. I never got a severe rash (thank goodness) just the nervie pain.My very young doctor had no idea that the pain comes at night. She acted like a was crazy. They also misdiagnosed me when I first went in and sent me home with antibiotics. The pain was so bad the next day I went to the ER room. They told me I had shingles and sent me home with pain meds (Percodin). Which my dr won't prescribe again - I know they are addictive but surely one more week's worth isn't threatening? Maybe it is. At this point, I don't care! Haven't been able to sleep though the night once. I am now on 600mg of Gabapentin 3x a day, (which seems high) and that doesn't help. I've tied Aleve, Advil, Tylonol and nothing helps. I am desperate for sleep. After I found this blog at 2am this morning, I did make some coffee and that did strangely help. Going out to find a therapeutic wrap and call the dr back again (4th time) on Monday to ask about a prescription for Lidocaine patches. Or maybe they are the same as Aspercreme patches. Anyway, thank you for your stories and for making me not feel so crazy. Best wishes to all.

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    1. PS - I bought a heating pad today and so far it is bliss. Hoping for some sleep tonight.

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  65. About 6 weeks ago I recognized a case of Shingles coming on. Never had it but know what it's about. I immediately went to the doc and got the anti-viral (acyclovir) because it is meant to shorten the course of the virus and make the later neuropathy less severe. I handled the blisters ok, but after about a week the nerve pain that often goes with it erupted in full fury. Fortunately it was along the T4 nerve line -- chest, back, and arm down to the elbow -- and not along the neck, eyes, and face! I tried some topical relief (not very successful), changed a few food things which seemed to stimulate the pain (tomatoes for one, sad since I have a huge harvest of yummy fresh tomatoes from the garden), and found the most relief staying still -- preferably with no cloth touching my skin. Finally got a prescription for Gabapenten, also not terribly helpful.

    I suddenly saw this item in an email and researched it. Got it yesterday, wore it and even 15 minutes in I had amazing relief. It says it is best for neuropathy like post-herpetic (after Shingles), diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, restless leg syndrome, and other nerve-based pain. Not for migraines, but does turn down the pain response for things like fibromyalgia, and all kinds of other problems. If you know someone with shingles pain (which can, I hear, go on for YEARS!) or diabetic neuropathy, tell them about this. I am literally relieved! Not 100% but right now maybe 70%. How does it get any better than that? Sometimes when you need something to change, the solution shows up -- and not always as you think it might.

    You can get this from many places. The company website is QuellRelief.com

    http://amzn.to/2glVuMR

    Now after about a week of using it 24/7 I'll say that this has taken down the pain level from 9 to about 3 (except at night, when it is about a 5). I'm around the end of week 7 since the first signs of shingles.

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  66. This is the most bizarre illness. Thanks to everyone who has shared their story. It really does help those of us still in the middle of this living hell. I'm two weeks and two days in. Here's my timeline: Began on a Thursday with two days of feeling ill, headache, extreme fatigue and having to force myself to push through to get my work done. Rested on weekend and still feeling no bueno until about Tuesday. Then the nerve pain started. I thought I had a rib out of place. It ran the length of my scapula on the right side. Got worse on Wednesday and by Thursday night it was excruciating and running down my right arm all the way to my wrist. Friday was pure hell and I made an appointment with my chiropractor. He diagnosed muscle strain of the teres minor and major and irritation of the nerve that runs between them. Treated with ultrasound and TENS unit. COULD. NOT. SLEEP. more than 1 to 1.5 hours at a time for days. Went back on Monday for another chiro appt. Still no bueno. Tuesday morning woke to one lesion under my arm and went straight to minor emergency clinic. Diagnosed with shingles and given anti-viral. I spent the whole week decorating a very large commercial non-profit space for Christmas. Thank God for our faithful volunteers. In a weird way, I think all the activity helped take my mind off the pain. It's now Saturday and I'm to the stage where I feel great for a few hours during the day and then the evening comes. The rash is holding its own - I've been using Gold Bond lotion for eczema. It has colloidal oatmeal in it. It seems to help. But this nerve pain. What the Heck? It's hard to make plans for anything because you never know how you're going to feel in an hour. Unless you've had this terrible illness, you can't possibly understand how bad it is. If you're reading this because someone you love is going through this, take what they say, imagine how you think they feel and then multiply it by 100 and you'll be close.

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    1. "If you're reading this because someone you love is going through this, take what they say, imagine how you think they feel and then multiply it by 100 and you'll be close." <--- Great comment. So true!!!

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  67. Hi, I am Dianne (I posted a few times earlier.. 5 October was my first one). My shingles ended up lasting for five weeks. The rash has gone, except for a faded purple mark where each rash was, so I guess they will remain always. I no longer have that excrutiating pain in my left side, but I do have a constant feeling like there is a lump there, which there isn't! It's not painful, just annoying. My immune system was so low near the end of shingles that I developed a virus in my lungs and ended up in hospital. That has lasted for four weeks and although I'm heaps better, I still have breathing problems and have virtually lost my voice since I got the virus. I know this has nothing much to do with shingles, but I just wanted to stress the importance of trying to keep your immune system up, either by vitamins or a little light exercise or whatever else helps. Shingles really takes it out of you and the fatigue is horrible. I tried to fight through and move around as much as I could...it will help! Take care, hope you all have a speedy recovery. If I get shingles a
    again, I'll blow myself up!!! ha

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    1. Oh Dianne, how awful! What you have experienced was my biggest fear - that being so wiped out from shingles would wreck my immune system and lead to bigger problems. Thank you so much for taking the time and care to come here and share and help others realize how important it is to keep the immune system as healthy as possible while suffering from this debilitating condition.

      Sending you my biggest virtual {{{HUGS}}}

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  68. so, can you get the shingles vaccine after you have already gotten the shot? I have shingles now and had the shingles vaccine 7 years ago. I wish I could prevent a recurrence. It is a terrible disease.

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    1. Yes, it is entirely possible to get shingles even after having the vaccine. According to the CDC, the vaccine only prevents about 51% of cases. There are also diminishing returns on the effectiveness of the vaccine; it only lasts for 5 years. What the vaccine does best (imo) is (in 67% of cases) warding off the development of post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).

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  69. Hello I'm on my second week of shingles at age 27 and 24 weeks pregnant. This is awful I can't sleep at night from the pain only have been using clomimine lotion which doesn't help with the pain at all just itching.. thinking about trying listorine and the earth theraputic heating pads. I tried the cimtizia and it burn so bad I busted into tears. At this point I will try anything for the sharp ahootong pain and get a bit of sleep!! I just want it to stop and feel normal again I would do anything

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    1. Forgot to mention it is on my scalp back of neck where hairline beginns side of my neck and ear

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    2. Carmen, I feel so bad for you. I can't imagine being pregnant AND having shingles at the same time. The hairline location makes it tough too. If you decide to try the Listerine, be sure you get the original formula (the brown/amber color). Please keep us posted on your progress. It will get better; it just seems like it takes forever! {{{HUGS}}}

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  70. Hi everyone,

    Here is my story, back pain in the middle of the lower back started on Thursday 17th November, the pain got worst to 8 to 9 out of ten in the following days.
    I went to a chiropractor on the following monday thinking I had injured myself or sciatica, no luck.

    Woke up with a rash going from lower back to groin. Was prescribed antiviral.

    Back pain went away within a week.

    I took paracetamol with codeine and ibuprofen every 6 hours for about 2,5 weeks to help with a very strange pain, not back pain anymore. Taking it when pain is very bad, probably 5 times since then mostly at night.

    My biggest concerns as of today 15th december is that I am very very itchy on the rash area, especially at night. Scratching it result in the area being for painful, but provide a bit of relief.
    It like the area is sunburn but itchy at the same time, really annoying.

    I stopped running when back pain started we

    Good luck everyone

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  71. Hi everyone,
    I am at the beginning of the Shingles madness. Before getting diagnosed with shingles, I had no idea what it entailed. Boy was I in for a surprise! A painful surprise at that. Mine started 12/9/16 with a headache, sharp pain in my rib area and chest. In gerneral, I just didn't feel well. This time of year is a stressful time with my husband and I both being self employed and during one of our most busy months. We have been non stop.
    I noticed what look liked bug bites a few days later and thought I had a spider trapped under my shirt that went to town biting the heck out of me. "Bites" from front to back on the upper part of my torso in a line so to speak. A rash started to form and the intense pain was still present. I decided to go to urgent care this last Saturday because the pain was so awful. I was convinced I was poisoned by this spider since everything was aching, burning, almost raw feeling. When I was told I had Shingles I was shocked. I was put on an antiviral medication but no pain medication. I am thinking I need to go back to the doctor to see if there is anything that can be prescribed to help me. I am taking ibuprofen but I doesn't do much. I have been so miserable! No sleep, hurts to do anything. I feel like I have been living in my bathtub.
    I am a hairstylist and am so worried about someone getting this(I read that if someone has never had chicken pox then they could get the chicken pox virus from my Shingles.) I also have two young children AND my neighbors have 4 little ones and they are not vaccinated which really makes me want to live in a bubble til this is over with. Should I be working?? I spend hours with most of my clients. I need to work since it is a busy time for me with holidays and I am so stressed out about it. I have had to cancel appointments because I am in so much pain. Does the pain decrease a little after the blisters start to crust over?
    I have been reading everyone's stories and posts and feel a little comfort knowing that I am not alone with these symptoms but jeez, Shingles is awful!!! Hang in there everyone!

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  72. Hello I'm Maya. I laughed when someone said I might contemplate suicide because of the pain from Shingles. I'm not laughing now after six weeks of hell. Night is the worst, but daytime isn't a picnic either. My nightmare started with a pain in my back I thought was a heart attack. I had a mild fever that went away. So I went on vacation, bad move and the blisters came but not much pain. I was told I must have a mild case. Yea, right. I came home to stabbing burning pain. A friend said it best. His daughter said it felt like being covered with burning barbed wire. Yes. This will be the sixth week and I'm still suffering. Good to have found this site. I hope someone is still here. Thanks for listening. Help

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  73. Its the worse pain ive ever experienced

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  74. I've had this just over a week. When the doctor diagnosed me I didn't have a rash, but now that has come out accross my chest, under my arm and up my left shoulderblade.
    I am no stranger to pain as I have fibromyalgia which on a bad day, feels like I've been set on fire whilst being stabbed with knitting needles. Shingles however, is like that x 10!!!!
    I really don't know what to do. I finished the course of Aciclovir yesterday, yet the pain gets worse. I can't sleep and there is no respite. The only things that helped were the things I can't use now as I have the rash.
    I used tiger balm then strapped on lidocaine patches with a sports bra over the top.
    I now use nothing as I have horrendous side effects with most painkillers.
    I don't think I can stand much more of this.... :'(

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  75. This sucks so bad, I'm 32 and I started feeling tired and week January 14th, I worked through it just thinking I pulled something, January 28th I developed a nasty rash that at first I thought was poison ivy, then it centralized, so I went to the walk in center with a "spider bite" they decided to numb me and drain it, but we're unable to drain anything.. I went to my family doctor on February 3rd and he said I have shingles... The pain is unbearable and I thought it was just me but especially at night... So Im 1 1/2 weeks with the rash and extreme shoulder and arm pain, and the weakness is at about week 4... Dr had me on gabapentin 100mg and no 300mg, wonderful pain relief for me, it takes about 15 minutes to kick in and works for about 2-3 hours, but when it's done the pain doesn't fade back in, it's like a light switch....I just want the pain and itching to stop, I've been watching the argenine vs lysine balance for me diet.......the only sleep I've been able to get is through the gabapentin and a few beers, this is miserable best of luck to all on here, john

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  76. 2 corrections, 100mg and NOW 300mg,
    Balance for MY diet

    Again good luck all

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  77. I'm sorry everyone is suffering this horrible illness, but glad to know I'm not losing my mind!
    I'm 44 and in the last five years I've had three spine surgeries (partial disectomy, anterior/posterior spinal fusion at L5/S1 and most recently 12/2016 a two-level total disk replacement at C5/C6 and C6/C7), diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, had a uterine ablation to hopefully avoid having a hysterectomy, dealt with migraines for three years and nerve damage down my leg into my foot causing my ankle to frequently give out. SO -- the past 5 years have been a mess BUT at the beginning of February I started feeling really good, finally! So much so that the past two weekends I've worked in my yard about three hours each day. Last Thursday, my hip area hurt, felt bruised as if maybe I had hit it on the corner of the table. I didn't think much of it. Saturday and Sunday I spent in the yard raking, bending, lifting, squatting. On Sunday night I was exhausted and sore. Monday was even worse, but I felt it was an "earned" sore and I was just happy to be productive again. However, the spot on my left side flank kept hurting and I finally asked my daughter to look to see if there was a bug bite or a scratch. She said, "No. it's like a line of red bumps." I had her take a picture with my cell phone. I had never seen a rash in a line like that. Monday night I had difficulty sleeping and Tuesday morning I couldn't wear button up slacks, I had to find a pair of pull on ones that I could position below the line of bumps. When I got to work I went to the Wellness Center located in our building where I was diagnosed.
    The pain has gotten worse in such a short amount of time and I am disheartened reading about everyone's experience.
    I literally had TWO WEEKS of feeling like my old self and now I'm dealing with this monster of an illness.
    I'm on the anti-viral medicine and was given a lidocaine gel-like substance to dab over the rash up to four times a day. Thankfully I haven't had any itching (yet) but moving brings on horrible pain so I sit as still as possible at work and am praying for something to work at night.
    I'll be calling my family physician to see what she can prescribe for the pain that works with everything else I've got going on.
    My only consolation is I know it will end (yet the fear of PHN almost does me in!).
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences. It helps to know others have gotten through this horrible pain and sleeplessness.

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  78. I am one of the lucky people that got it in my eye. Started as a tingly one-sided headache that I couldn't shake. 48 hrs after that, the rash started, and one day after that, I started antivirals and steroids. I have been seeing an ophthalmologist throughout the process. And she prescribed antiviral ointment and drops for my eye. I am a little over four weeks in at this point, and even though the rash has cleared and the ophthalmologist has told me I have no damage to my eye, I am experiencing the pain and itching/burning that all of you have mentioned in addition to not being able to comfortably open my right eye. I haven't driven anywhere in two weeks. Work is out of the question. Sleep eludes me. This virus is seriously enough to break a person! I have four little ones who ask me everyday when I will be better. I wonder the same thing, as it just seems to drag on and on. I spend the bulk of my time in a dark room, since the light bothers my eye and triggers more pain. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am almost out of the woods. I have always been healthy as a horse and highly tolerant of pain. This sickness is no joke.

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    1. So glad I found this site. I am 38 and am also apparently lucky enough to have shingles in my eye. I'm currently 2 weeks in. Mine also started with a tingly headache on the right side of my head. When my right eyelid started to swell, I went to an after-hours clinic and was diagnosed with pink-eye. A day later, I went to my primary care physician (after I started to develop a rash on the right side of my forehead) and was then diagnosed with shingles. I was immediately referred to an ophthalmologist. I completed the antiviral meds almost a week ago but am still continuing eye drops. At my last eye appt., my dr. stated that the virus had affected my cornea, which should hopefully heal on its own. My eye was completely swollen shut for a few days and has become so sensitive to light that I can barely even stand typing on a computer. My vision has become blurry and my eye is still pretty swollen. The rash disappeared within about 5 days of starting the anti-viral meds, but I am also now experiencing numbness/pain/tingly sensations on my forehead. This virus is ridiculous.

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  79. I feel your pain! Hang in there. Just started gabapentin to see if it will help with my eye sensitivity. Here's hoping!

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    1. Does the gabapentin help? I hope you are feeling better! I just started a 2nd round of the anti-viral meds (prescribed by my ophthalmologist) but have a follow-up with my dr. later today. I may ask her about that. (I'm the shingles-eye poster from 2/21).

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  80. It does help in hat I have been able to get long and uninterrupted nights' sleep since I started it. It also dulls the pain and itching/burning throughout the day. I certainly feel more like myself, though a sort of drowsy version. I'll take it though! The light sensitivity, which is the primary problem with my eye, is marginally better. I've been able to safely (though not exactly comfortably) drive short distances. Overall, though, I am still waiting for my eye to return to normal. I will be at the six week mark of initial symptoms this coming Wednesday, and from the start of the rash, this coming Friday. I'm holding out hope that perhaps by then, I will improve enough to use my eye comfortably again! Structurally, my eye is perfectly healthy, so that is the good news. I just need these nerves to calm down already. No time for this! Good luck to you! Hope things improve for you as well.

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    1. mmitch81 -- Thank you for continuing to post. Just knowing you are going through the same thing that I am with your eye is comforting (for lack of a better term). I also started gabapentin, but at this point I'm not sure if it's making much difference. Outside of the itching/burning/pain on my forehead, scalp and down my nose, I can't even think about taking a walk outside due to the overwhelming light sensitivity I'm experiencing in my right eye. I feel like a prisoner in my own house. I completely agree with you -- there is no time for this! I only hope that you are continuing to see an improvement. (the shingles-eye poster)

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  81. Here is my story. I got Shingles in August of 2015. I was under alot of stress with work and then getting married in October. Mind you I was 48 at the time. It started on my left side rib cage with the rash. Which I didn't go to the Doctor till the next day. Which it was bad by then. I didn't have a issue with the rash and she put me on a low dose of gabapentin and gave me some pain meds. Now the next day I was terrible with pain felt like someone was taking a knife from the inside and turning it. So I ended up going back again to the urgent care on Thursday. I needed stronger pain meds and they increased my dose. Well by Monday of the following week I was still terrible with pain so made a appointment with my regular doctor. Saw him and by this time my rash was a lot better and almost gone. But the serve pain was terrible. So I started taking even more gabapentin. Then the weight gain and tiredness was driving me nuts. Plus the stress of me getting married in a few months didn't help. So I kept going back and still was in a lot of pain. Rash was completely gone but the pain was not. So increased the gabapentin but I finally stopped it and then I started having stomach issues. So went and had some tests everything came back fine. They associated it with my post Neuralgic nerve pain. Say some specialists about the pain but couldn't bear to spend 700.00 for a shot and wasn't sure it would work. So to this day I still have the pain in my left side and especially my hip... I have the worst time sleeping on my left side and seems like if I walk a lot or am on my feet a lot. I pay for it. Plus i'm always wore out. It drives me insane. I don't wish this on anyone and the sad thing it can come again even if you get the shot which is soo frustrating. I'm always afraid that I am going to get it again. I just wish I could feel better. Been very frustrating and still is. I wish you all the best in feeling better... Thank you for all your input and suggestions. I keep saying I just need a trade in.. I have used some Plexus Ease cream and they also make a capsule and that has seemed to help some. So might be good to try too.

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  82. Thank you for starting this blog. I am one week in, and I have to say this has been one hell of a ride so far. I have a ruptured disc in my back, which has given me great pain in the past, but I have to say that this tops it. There have been times that I had to go off to a dark room by myself, like an animal, and just alternately whimper and gnash my teeth in pain. For hours. It is excruciating.
    The good news: Daytime is now manageable. The nerve pain is low until around 5pm, then it builds to getting pretty uncomfortable by bedtime. I take hydrocodone for pain, plus the anti-viral and some nerve meds that I really cannot tell if they work. None of it seems to help after 9pm.
    Thanks to this blog, I am going to try some of the patches and heating pads tonight. Now that my rash is subsiding, I feel that things are going to get better, but maybe not, reading this blog. LOL. I would say that sleeping is difficult because I cannot lay down without something coming into contact with my rash, causing pain that makes sleep difficult. I may try something that knocks me out if I don';t get some quality sleep soon.
    The other issue I had is something I felt I should warn others. Shingles can make it where you do not feel like eating, at least initially. I had three medications, plus ibuprofen, that I was taking for 2-3 days on pretty much an empty stomach. DO NOT DO THAT. My stomach really starting giving me fits with all the meds and no food, to the point where it hurt nearly as much as the nerve issues. It has taken about 4-5 days to right the ship. I was very hesistant to take more medication becasue I knew my stomach would freak out, but if I didn't take it then the pain got worse and worse. Truly a bad situation, as either I would be in bad pain from my stomach or from the shingles, like 24 hours a day. I solved the stomach problem by forcing myself to eat and then ensuring I ate when taking meds. Beware--it was a very bad spiral--don't make my mistake. Peace and love to all out there afflicted with this. It is like hemmohroids--the only people who make fun of it are those who have never had them. But worse x100.

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  83. To anonymous eye-shingles poster--I, like you, was desperate to find someone else out there going through what I was/am! Not that I wish this on anyone, but I needed to know I wasn't alone and also know what I might encounter as I progressed. I am glad you started the gabapentin, as you may find that it really helps with the itching/tingling once you get an effective dosage. That is what kept me from getting sleep, which then causes all sorts of other problems! As for the prisoner thing, you took the words out of my mouth. I have said that to many people as I try to describe this journey! The good news is that I am now getting dressed and out of bed every single day, and carrying on with my normal activities, including socializing and spending time with my family and friends! I was able to watch tv for a spell the other day, too, which I have missed. I am still hoping and praying for continued improvement, but I am just happy to have some positive changes. Also, during the time that I was stuck in a dark room all the time, I passed the time with audio books. Helps to take your mind of of it. Hang in there! You are NOT alone!

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    1. Thank you so much, again, for posting. I think I've re-read your "you are not alone" statement about 100 times now :) I am very glad that you are seeing improvement (especially with the light sensitivity) and that you are able to enjoy friends/family again. The light sensitivity, at this point, is by far the greatest cause of angst for me. According to my opthamalogist, my cornea has a "smudge" on it that is causing the sensitivity. He has stated that it will take time to heal and he's been working with me on different treatments (steroids, continued eye drops, etc.). It has now been 4 weeks since I was diagnosed, yet it feels like 4 years. I cannot wait to be able to go outside again and enjoy time with my husband and son. And I cannot wait to be able to watch TV again, too! Just knowing that you are continuing to see improvement (which I hope you have seen an even great improvement since your last post) has given me a lot of hope. I cannot thank you enough. (GREAT suggestion on the audio books, btw!) -- Janna (aka anonymous shingles-eye poster)

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  84. Janna, you are so welcome. Keep hanging in there! I will continue to send you good vibes! And remember, it does take time--hopefully not forever, but time! I am about seven weeks in and honestly didn't start to see much difference until about the five week mark and beyond. Stay positive and keep resting. Also, don't underestimate the power of acupuncture. I have a friend who has an acupuncturist in his practice who offered for me to come in, and it really does help! Sounds crazy, but it's true. I know that you and everyone reading this probably feel like you would try anything if it has the smallest chance of helping. Worth a shot, in my opinion!

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  85. WOW..........first week for me, second sleepless night and no love from the wife. All she says is try having two nine pound natural birth deliveries and then we'll talk. The way this PHN is kicking my butt I would option for child birth. thanks for the blogs misery loves company.

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    1. Funny. Reading these is somewhat carthartic knowing I am not alone with the night "terrors". Got some Hydrocodine from the Dr yesterday as the other pain pills didn't touch it. That plus half and ambien did the trick. First nights sleep in days.

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  86. I've been dealing with this for only a week or so but already I dread nights. On valtrex now and am praying something helps. I feel so bad for worrying my wife and for her seeing me in this pain. She is helpless and I hate how it makes her feel. Pain meds are almost a waste of time. I've read that over a million people in the US get shingles every year. With all of that you'd think there would be a market for better care / meds. Never wanted to wish my life away but I would give most anything for a month or more to pass quickly. Thoughts and prayers go out to all that are suffering from this awful illness.

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  87. My poor mum has it and isn't sleeping at night. She's lost her appetite and feels very uncomfortable. Wishing you all better 💜

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  88. I too have had shingles now for 2 weeks. Great pain, but we truly all are in God's hands. If you do not know Him, call out to Him, for He is near. If you do know Him, through the only way, His Son Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, then trust Him. He is "working all things together for good to those who love Him, to the called according to His purpose!" And, he is testing our faith, by fire, that it may be found to praise and glorify Him! I am thankful for good days with Him. He is our healer! This will pass! Praying for everyone ♡

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  89. I am in the middle of this 6 weeks and ice packs and accupunture have helped me the most... Also allowing myself to rest when i feel tired instead of pushing through it. Low carb diet has helped some and i saw where lowering the amount of arginine in your diet and eating more lysine helps because the virus needs arginine to build its outer membranes.. I have also found that oregano oil has helped with the pain and sleep after taking it a couple of days... I have no idea why.. Thanks for the olive leaf suggestion. I will try that... I just keep trying to focus on the joys in my life.. And uplifting movies help me too... Blessings on you all thanks for your comments

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  90. Thanks for tip on Oregano oil. I am trying to eat what builds up my immune system, and so I'm taking echinacea too...Cold is good. I use popcorn in a freezer bag. It is more comfortable. Also, my dear children gave me a crossword book and jigsaw puzzle, for when I feel up to it, to take my mind away from the pain...Hope those help too. I am reading (the Bible) also, as God is faithful to comfort and encourage me.

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  91. I have had Shingles since Fri 5-7. Went to the doctor the following Mon in excruciating pain. Told him I thought I had Shingles. He said no rash not shingles. Thurs my rash showed up. I probably would have been doing better had he gave me the anti-viral on Mon. I only get 4-5 hrs of sleep before I get woke up in pain. I can tolerate it during the day but at night & when it wakes me up is almost more then I can tolerate. I started applying tea tree oil all over the rash area so it would heal faster. The tea tree oil feels cooling & is suppose to be good for nerve pain. The rash never did blister, ooze or scab over. I have also been using an ice pack & alternate with heat now. I also have a TENS unit that I wear around the house during the day that seems to help. I take Tramadol every night so I can go to sleep. I just started taking Lysine Thurs & by the weekend I was feeling much better. Yesterday I woke up in severe pain at 4:30 AM. I'm sick of it. Needs to go away so I can get a good night's sleep & start living my life again. My rash is on left side of my stomach with a few places on side/back. I still have burning pain in my back & down my left side from breast to waist. This whole area also feels numb.

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  92. HiTammy,
    I see you are a newcomer to the blog. You have my sympathy and prayers. I just finished 6 weeks. 1 week back pain, then 5 weeks with rash, numbness, tingling, burning, and intense pain...left side too.
    Have hope. Even though pain lingers for 20 %, most of us heal. I started feeling "better" a week ago. Still pain, but not as much, and now sleeping through night...I thank God!
    I took a month off work, and rested (I work at a school as teaching assistant). My boss has reoccurring shingles, so he inderstood. I'm back to work, but only 4 hours a day. I encourage you to rest and sleep when you can. I also took L-Lysine, a 1/4 tsp, 5 x a day, for a week. The amount of L-Lysine must be more than
    L-Arginine foods. Avoid oats, chocolate, almonds, and coconut!...I ended up getting both anti-viral drugs, a double whammy. Build up your immune system with echinacea, yogurt, garlic, Vitamin C, ginger, fruits and veggies...
    There were nights I cried myself to sleep, praying, sitting up on recliner...Pray! God is near. He will comfort and help. It will pass!

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  93. Has anyone tried cannabis for the pain?

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    1. I wrote a bit about it when I started the blog: http://www.thetruthaboutshingles.com/2013/02/smoking-pot-no-help-for-shingles.html. The strain of cannabis matters quite a bit; you want indica as opposed to sativa. Choosing a higher CBD to THC ratio will give a more soothing, numbing effect (a good thing) as opposed to the high from THC. The relaxation provided by the indica strain may also be helpful for constipation that can occur if shingles has affected your abdomen.

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  94. Raw coconut oil applied to the rash is very healing and soothing

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  95. I am at the end of week 3, and the exhaustion and effects on my nervous system generally are awful. I have also had a terrible stomach - pain, nausea, and constipation - as the nerve affected also runs through my abdominal area. It is encouraging to know that so many others have gotten through this, and that I am not yet an extreme or dangerous case...

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    1. I am so sorry I missed this comment! I had the same exact issues you are describing. It was as if my bowels became paralyzed by shingles and I just could not go. It just added to the misery.

      If you happen to see this, please reply and let us know how you are getting along. Sounds like you should be at the start of week 5 which means hopefully this is almost behind you!

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  96. Well it is 4.37 am. I went to bed at about 2.30am trying to take the anti viral medicine every 4 hours and sometimes it slips a bit. Can't sleep for the pain and that is after the paracetamol. Can't move at the moment because the pain is making me feel sick. It started after a very bad virus. That went and this started. I thought it was an insect bite and then realised that it could be shingles although I had never had it before. Went to the doctor who said yes it is shingles. I am very tired because the virus that I had before the shing;es stopped me from sleeping so I am back to that again. I have taken 4 days of the antiviral medication but I have had shingles longer than that although I don't know when it actually started because of the bad virus and generally feeling unwell. I had small rash by the time I went to the doctor. I have typical shingles. Started in small of my back and has run round in a line round my side to my front. I have pain in my back, my side and it hurts when I breathe and the pain is making me feel sick. I can't relax because of the pain so I am very tense. I can't sleep and I can't find a non painful position to sit in. So at the moment it is just constant pain. I don't know what to do next. Don't know whether there is any pain relief available that will make any difference.

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    1. So sorry to hear you are suffering. I'm glad you found this site so you at least know you aren't alone. The not being able to sleep part just makes shingles so much worse!

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  97. Last Saturday I started feeling flu like symptoms and the skin on my back became very sensitive to touch (not really painful though) By Monday I was looking up heart attack symptoms as I was having a crushing pain in my chest area. Because there were no other symptoms I decided I was OK. On Thursday evening the pain was unbearable and as I was getting out of the shower I happened to notice red splotches on my torso. I quick google search is all it took to self diagnose. I immediately went to an urgent care center and was started on Acyclovir that night. It is now Sunday morning and I can say i have had no real relief. I think it has somewhat worsened and the rash has spread significantly. The doctor gave me nothing for pain so I have been taking ibuprofen which doesn't really help. I am considering going back to the doctor tomorrow to see if i can get anything for the constant stabbing pain. I am not a big fan of taking strong pain medication but i think i will have to make an exception this time. Just afraid of becoming addicted to something but i suppose if i just follow the doctor's instructions that wont happen. Anyway, I wish everyone good luck and a speedy recovery.

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    1. You may want to give lidocaine patches a try. They are non-narcotic. Strongly recommend the name brand Lidoderm (Endo Labs) if your insurance will cover it (the doctor will have to specify no generics). The problem with the generic brand is the adhesion is poor so they don't make complete skin contact. The brand name adheres well and is easy to move / reposition if needed.

      Anyway, somehow the patches manage to get to the deep nerve pain and ease it. Only downside is that you have to have 12 hour breaks in between use so the medication has a chance to get processed out of your body. Otherwise, it builds up. I timed the 12 hours on period for night time, since that was when the pain was worse.

      Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck and a speedy recovery to YOU! {{{hugs}}}

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  98. I'd rather have roof shingles nailed to me than to have these shingles ravaging my body - going on week 5! Though there are times that the pain is tolerable - I don't believe I will ever be back to normal.

    It all started weeks ago when I thought I was going crazy with pain in my foot and kept telling me wife to look at the bottom of my foot and my big toe as I felt these horrible pains, but she never was able to see anything, but trust me - I felt something!

    A couple weeks after the first onset of the pain - the rash started to appear. My doctor said it was a bad case because of the locations - or number of locations. It seemed that my shingles followed my sciatica - from my upper hip/thigh down my leg - calf and shin, top and bottom of foot and big toe!

    I've had many things in my lifetime, but at 56 I have never felt this type of pain and it is relentless - and perhaps extra special because of where it is!

    I have taken all sorts of pain and never pills - both prescribed from my doctor and natural remedies. I thought I was odd to find comfort in both my TENS unit AND my hot tub and I thought it was just me that the pain was worse at night, which meant it kept me up - just like now - 2:06 am and I'm up typing this!

    I have taken so many drugs that I now have horrible acid reflex - that is what actually woke me up this time. I'm so tired of this that I am unable to focus - I'm not sure what else to do - SO - I listen to Christian music, pray, meditate and I will be headed for the hot tub soon, but need to wait until my wife gets up so that I don't drown in there!

    Nothing is taking away the pain completely - sometimes it's just more tolerable than other times - I wish you all much success and hope you are able to find some relief!

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    1. Wow. That sounds awful. I had shingles in my sciatic nerve BUT I was very lucky that it did not travel down my leg like that. I can't even imagine!

      See my reply to the post just above yours where I talk about lidocaine patches. In your case, you could cut them into strips and place them along the path of the nerve pain. Hopefully at week 5 you are nearing the end of the pain!!

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  99. I'm 17 years old, and was diagnosed with shingles two days ago. It is 4:30 AM as I am typing this, as I have not been able to sleep all night. I have the blistering rash on my back and ribs (left side of body only). I woke up the other day with back pain and a couple of red bumps on my back that I thought were just mosquito bites or something, so I went to my local clinic, and was told by the doctor that "your not going to believe this, but you have shingles." Im assuming I have a milder case, since my pain is not unbearable and I am not experiencing a lot of the associated side effects. Nonetheless, I am suffering from pain (especially at night), and I do feel tired and nauseas sometimes. I'm on antiviral pills, and was given a compounded ointment, and I am taking Advil (ibuprofen) for the pain, but it doesn't seem to help. Any advice, or pain coping medications anyone may know of?

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    1. Only 17? Yikes! That is young for shingles! Here's a link to a page on this site listing pain coping strategies:
      http://www.thetruthaboutshingles.com/p/pain-management.html

      Em

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  101. Can someone tell me what day I should expect terrible pain. I am on day 4 and I am scared tp death reading these comments.

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  102. I was just diagnosed with shingles. 3 maybe 4 days ago. Started at the upper chest, runs just below my pec, across my side and ribs to the middle of my back. It has worsened with pain as it has progressed. It feels like I went to sleep and while I was sleeping 3 or 4 guys put the boots to my chest, ribs and back. I am not liking shingles.

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    1. Haha! I've never heard shingles described that way but it's a good description!! Given the area that is affected, you might get some relief with warm showers or baths. Unfortunately, the relief will last only as long as your hot water holds out, but it's a good fallback when the pain gets to be too much.

      Em

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  103. I am a 53 year old female. It started with terrible stabbing back and neck pain that was so bad that I booked myself a massage because I thought I had slept funny or had a pinched nerve. A couple days later it began to itch. Every time my husband would scratch it I would feel like it was on fire. Then came the rash. The very next day I went to the dermatologist and he said it was shingles and immediately put me on valtrex. He also gave me a cooling gel. Luckily, the rash never blistered. Just looked like a string of bug bites. It's been over a week and the rash stayed the same. My back however is still itchy and at times burning like on fire. I guess I am lucky in that I have been able to function and able to sleep however last night I woke up to a stabbing pain in my chest. I hope I don't have lasting effects from this.

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  104. My husband at 49 has the shingles. It is horrible. Started out with horrible lower back pain that radiated around his left side to the abdomen. He went to doc, who sent him to ER, they thought he was having a heart attack. That was on a Monday, on Wednesday the rash appeared, so back to doc. 10 days of anti viral meds 3x a day, percocet, steroid pack and gabapentin, 100mg 2x a day, and 1 300mg at bedtime with 10mg of amitriptyline at bedtime. He is in week 4 and just as miserable as day 1, if not worse. Night time is a nightmare! I hope he gets relief soon.

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  106. Just started treating mine after a week of odd back pain at night, then the rash. I agree with the above people who mentioned hot baths, coffee, hydrocodone at night, and Adderall 10mg being able to take away the pain during the day. Hydrocodone helps the first 4 hours of sleep then the knife in the back starts like clockwork at 230am. Tried a tens unit and couldn't tell if it helped much. But Biofreeze massaged in helps a little. Dr said any cream/ointment with capsaicin will help. The rash is annoying but doesn't hurt as bad as the nightly back stab. Only on right side and only in a tiny location in the center of the main muscle right side center of back. Rash wraps around from that area to front right below ribs. High stress the week its started plus nasty cold. Cant imagine losing this much sleep for another 4-5 weeks.

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    1. The non-generic Lidocaine patches will help tremendously if your insurance will cover. The generic don't work as well because they are flimsy and don't make good surface contact. If you have to use generic, you can reinforce them with breathable cloth tape. Either way, you can cut them to size (before taking off the backing) and put it right on the center of the pain as soon as it starts. That will get you 12 hours of relief before you have to take it off. It gives you the ability to sleep, which is a HUGE benefit and I think being better rested helps speed recovery.

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  107. I just finished five weeks since getting shingles on my back and right thigh. I'm a 75 year old male in otherwise pretty good health. I was having pain at the top of the hip and went to an urgent care center on Oct. 24, where the doctor saw a rash on my back near the waist and diagnosed shingles. She prescribed acyclovir, but unfortunately didn't tell me it was urgent to start it within 72 hours, so I started it the next day. I've been taking Tylenol all along for pain; can't take NSAIDS because of acid reflux. Within a few days the rashes had spread all over my right thigh. They were very painful for the first couple of weeks pretty much all day and night. I tried several ointments and the only one that helped was Lidocaine. I tried Capzasin and it made the burning worse. I can't use the Lidocaine patches because of hair on the legs. I also use ice at night. I went to my regular doctor after a week and was prescribed Lyrica but it made me a little dizzy and I stopped it. More recently the blisters have dried up and the burning pain has been not bad during the day and worse at night, as most comments have said. During the day, and after morning coffee, it has been mostly itching. I was amazed to see that others found coffee to help, and a little surprised that there is not a better medical understanding of the night pain phenomenon. Until a week or so ago, I was getting up every two or three hrs to use either ice or Lidocaine, and taking Tylenol about twice a night. Last night I slept from 10:30 til 2am and then 2:30 to 5:30, so it seems a little better. Coincidentally or not, I had a Zostavax shot about 10 months ago. I just found this blog last night and was encouraged after reading through it that there may be light at the end of this tunnel. My thanks to all the participants. I'm hopeful that this will continue to get better and that I won't get PHN, but will have to wait and see.

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    1. Holler1, thanks so much for your post. I am sure it will be helpful to others who, like the rest of us, are/were looking for shingles pain relief. Fortunately, it sounds like you are on the tail end of it. I was also worried about PHN and was so relieved when I 'passed the mark' so to speak. Best of luck to you and if you get the chance, post back and give us an update on how you're doing.

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    2. Emelia, thanks for the reply. After a couple more days, the pain at night is continuing to get better. I only used Lidocaine once over the last two nights and slept better. At this point, it's more itching than the burning pain as before. The thigh where most of the sores were still itch and I also have an itchy area on the front just below the ribs where there were no sores. I wanted to add a comment about exercise. Before the shingles attack, I was averaging over 10,000 steps per day on my Fitbit with a combination of walking, jogging and an occasional bike ride. That was helping keep my weight down and blood sugar under control (I'm a Type 2 diabetic). I stopped all that with the attack since the shingles seemed to be aggravated by movement and sweat. I know I gained some weight but haven't been checking blood sugar. I did spent several days clearing leaves off the yard in the last week or so and I've been starting to take some walks again in the last few days. Progress seems slow but it does seem to be getting better.

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  108. Hi. My shingles started about 14 days ago with a pain in my flank right side. Then the knife in the back pain. I was convinced I had a kidney stone. I took a urine sample to the doctor and the test showed I was fighting an infection.

    I was given antibiotics. This was a week ago today. Later that night a rash came out and the internal pains got so bad I was crying.

    It has been hell. Tonight is the first night I felt human though it's true the pain resurfaces at bedtime.
    My electric blanket has helped the stabbed back. Isopropyl alcohol and salt mix has felt like heaven on the sores as has oatmeal squeezed out of the bag.

    I really want to get well but already being asked when I'm going back to work by someone who had it very lightly.

    I described it as a horse clomping around inside with a knife up it's ass. Excruciating!! Sympathy for anyone going through this.

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    1. Wow. Sorry to hear you had someone questioning your pain level. I could see where pain may vary depending on which nerve cluster was attacked by the shingles virus. Maybe your co-worker had a less sensitive nerve cluster involved. On its own, the right flank is covered by a pretty extensively connected network of nerve cells. I had shingles on the lower right side and it was horrible. I think I have a very high tolerance for pain and I thought it bordered on unbearable at times. Good luck to you! Hopefully you are now either in or quickly approaching recovery!!

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  109. Just been diagnosed after not feeling well for over a week and put neck and shoulder pain down to arthritis. Headaches have subsided and rash is starting to scab over but extremely fatigued and still having sharp stabbing pains along hairline at back of ear. Until I starting reading this blog I thought this isint too bad now I'm thinking it hasn't even started yet.

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    1. You are surely NOT alone. I'm still riding this ride. It's been a full month for me now. The circus ride changes every few days. I do think it really is vital that folks share their story and what helped or didn't help. It's a learning experience and my bathroom is beginning to look like a drug store isle. I finally did get some sleep last night but I'm so afraid that it might be a fluke. Be aware that the madening itching comes after all the headaches, earaches, stabbing pain etc. That's the next thing on your agenda to take care of. Ice packs, lidocaine (Aspercreme), Num 520 etc. all help, believe me!

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  110. I was diagnosed with shingles on December 5, 2017. My face and scalp were affected and my eye was being compromised. I was given the anti-viral and had to see the ophthalmologist for an examination three times and prescribed two kinds of eye drops and an anti-bacterial for the eye and forehead area to protect anything falling into my eye.

    Like most the stabbing headache, fever and hot-sparks did subside, but now, on January 5, 2018, a month has passed and the incredible itching and stabbing on my scalp continue and my eye is both numb and insanely itchy, my eyelid is also very droopy.

    The discomfort intensifies at night so I barely sleep and when I can sleep it's continually interrupted and my hand is clutching the bottle of Aspercreme with 4% lidocaine so that I can dab it on the itchy areas even without opening my eyes. I'm also using Numb 520 topical anesthetic cream with 5% lidocaine both give temporary relief. I've also been using Benadryl spray on my scalp.

    So for me a full month has passed, I'm tired, and distressed. Most friends and family have the idea that this should be over by now and are often shocked when they realize it's still going. I am terrified, (yes really), that this will never stop, that I will have this itching madness for years or forever and that my eye will forever be deformed. I understand from reading this journey of others lasted 6-8 weeks.

    I'm just tired, I want to sleep and feel 'normal' again.

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    1. I hope now that another couple of weeks have passed, you are starting to feel some relief. For me, the end started with a period of a day or two of no pain, then a recurrence, followed by another pain free day or two. That cycle repeated a couple of times near the end, after which it was finally over. I remember so well that feeling of being tired, wanting a good sleep, and craving that feeling of normal again. Best of luck and please update us if you can!

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  111. I'm so sorry. Please know that God sees and loves you. Call out to Him. He will go through it with you. He did for me :)

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  112. I was diagnosed on New Year's Day. This thread has been very helpful. I have the rash wrapping around my torso on the left side, and now that the blisters are gone I find wrapping an ace bandage around it helps to ease the discomfort. I found an explanation for this on this site: http://www.grandtimes.com/ It says this treatment is called "counterirritation. The mildly irritating sensations produced by the pressure of the elastic bandage are transmitted to the central nervous system, where they trigger reactions that diminish the perception of pain. Another form of counterirritation that sometimes helps ;with shingles is a liniment such as oil of wintergreen, which initially makes the skin tingle."

    I have not tried oil of wintergreen, as the bandage helps significantly.

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  113. I was diagnosed on New Year's Day. This thread has been very helpful. I have the rash wrapping around my torso on the left side, and now that the blisters are gone I find wrapping an ace bandage around it helps to ease the discomfort. I found an explanation for this on this site: http://www.grandtimes.com/ It says this treatment is called "counterirritation. The mildly irritating sensations produced by the pressure of the elastic bandage are transmitted to the central nervous system, where they trigger reactions that diminish the perception of pain. Another form of counterirritation that sometimes helps ;with shingles is a liniment such as oil of wintergreen, which initially makes the skin tingle."

    I have not tried oil of wintergreen, as the bandage helps significantly.

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    1. Thanks much for posting the counterirritation info! On a related note, some folks have found relief using the original Listerine (the amber color) on the site of their shingles rash. Same premise--it causes a mild burning sensation that helps distract from the pain and itching. Very interesting, the mind / body connection.

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  114. I really appreciate hearing about everyone's experiences. I am week 4 now and similar issues--intense pain, itching, sleepless nights. For sure wrapping my torso with an ace bandage has helped calm the nerve irritations. I tried the capcaisin treatment with a very bad result unfortunately--too much burning and made the pain worse though I have heard it works for some. Even though the itching is below the surface I have found some relief with a good steroid creme on my skin. It requires frequent applications but has helped. Also St John's Wort Oil on my skin has also helped which has a soothing effect on the nerves. Gabapentin side effects were too much for me so I stopped that. I will also say that meditation and breathing practices (lying down with supports) have been the most helpful of anything. When I breathe in thinking "calm" and breathe out thinking "calm" it does have a positive effect. I really hope this passes soon. It's a horrid disease. But I'm grateful for all the input and knowing that this too shall pass.

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  115. OK. This is also working. My physician recommended 100mg Vitamin B6 once/day. Over the last 4 days I have done this and the pain is diminishing. It could be coincidence but I have tried many things and this is the one different element. Worth a try. Check with your physician first before using any of the suggestions. Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa Jo! That B6 recommendation makes a lot of sense; B vitamins help the central nervous system. All of your tips have been great! So glad to hear your pain is diminishing and thank you again for coming here to share and help others.

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    2. I was diagnosed with shingles on Feb 20 after a week of debilitating pain. The Dr put me on Valtrex. This has stopped any further breakout but hasn’t done anything for the pain. I was trying to sleep on the couch in a fetal position since lying down was impossible. After two weeks of no sleep i thought why aren’t I using my essential oils. I did some research and made up a capsule. I took it at night and curled up on the couch. I was amazed that I slept through until 8, I have used this capsule for the last 4 nights and have slept right through. Don’t get me wrong I still have the rash and spots that are very sensitive but the terrible pain is gone enough that I can sleep at night. I am so thankful for my oils.

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    3. Hi Marg, what is your capsule recipe? Thank you! Lisa Jo

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  116. I am using Frankincense, Copaiba, Marjoram and Lemongrass. These are all Doterra oils. These are the only oils that i trust to use. Doterra tests their oils for potency and purity. A lot of companies do no third party testing since there’s no regulations. Doterra is the only company I know of that you can take the oils internally. If you want to know more about this or how to get the oils email me at m_h_stevens@yahoo.ca and I will send you any information you need. If you live near me I could give you a sample.

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    1. Hi Marg, I know Doterra oils and have some yoga friends that represent them. I am in Colorado. There are some good nutrition people here so I'll see if I can put something like that together. Thank you so much! I'm glad you were able to deal with the pain through this remedy. Lisa Jo

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  117. I was diagnosed on 1st March after a lot of steroid treatment. I am a double lung transplant patient and I am on immunosuppressant drugs and always taking prednisone. In January I had a candida infection which made my lungs reject so I was on high steroids in the vein for a fair few weeks. After recovering my lung function, I now have shingles as a ´side effect´ from all the steroids. I am in week 2 now and my rash is going. It was bright red and I was hospitalised on IV Acyclovir. I am now on Famciclovir 500mg 3 times a day. I am supposed to finish these in 4 days time. I am still in some pain although I am managing it only with paracetamol at night. My torso (the rash is from my stomach all the way round my hip and to my spine) is very inflamed still and I can't sleep on that side whatsoever. I hope everything calms down soon. Its been a rough few months.

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  118. My name is Dan and I am 55 years old. I had shingles 5 years ago. Now I have it again. First time it was on my right forehead near my eye. This time I am waiting to see where the blisters manifest. The night pain is horrible in my back. Pretty much aligned with all the posters on this blog. I read everything and am thinking the oils sound promising. I need some sleep. After I drink coffee in the morning I feel better until afternoon when fatigue sets in. Then at 8pm the back pain starts and does not relent until the next morning coffee. It has only been about 1 week. Please please please God, send me a message how I can ease the pain at night.

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    1. Hi Dan, I had shingles with right back pain as well. I found soaking in a warm bath very helpful. I recommend an inflatable neck pillow just in case you fall asleep in the tub. Several nights, the only sleep I could get was in the tub, hence the inflatable pillow suggestion (to keep your head elevated and out of the water should you doze off).

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  119. Dan this is my email address contact me and I will give you more information. vstevens@cogeco.ca

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  120. Hi im very new to "shingles". And to start off am super glad to read all thr comments above. A real eye opener. I had honestly no clue how bad it can be and was quite oblivious to all of this when my grandad and a few relatives developed shingles years ago. I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and was only diagnosed yesterday. Like many others, i first encountered some tingling burning sensation only under my right breast in a straight line to the back before the rash even developed on saturday ( 4dys ago). Doc didnt know what it was and dismissed the pain by announcing that i have nothinh to worry about and the ultrasound scan just showed the baby being slightly on the big side. hence explains the pain. My rash got even worse yesterday and this was when blisters were first spotted. I have not slept in 4 days and i am so worried about my baby tho doc says it doesnt harm the child. But how can one be sure. I have a scheduled cesarean surgery coming up in 2 weeks and am sooooo worried that the pain doesnt go away by then. Whats worse than dealing with 2 different kinds of pain at the same time ��

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  121. Wow. This is the first I've heard of a pregnant woman with shingles. I can't even imagine. I did some research and didn't see anything that contradicted your doctor. Still, being pregnant and all the lack of sleep that comes with having shingles HAS to be super exhausting. Please keep us updated with your progress. So sorry you are having to go through this at what is otherwise such a special time.

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  122. Praying for you all. I had shingles a year ago and still have a little lingering pain. Can live with it now. In answer to man in back pain at night: L-lysine. I would sleep in a recliner with a hot water bottle, praying, and would eventually fall asleep. His grace is sufficient. He is with you, and will bring you theough.

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