My first question when I discovered I had shingles was "how long will this last?". Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any good answer. For mild outbreaks that are treated promptly, shingles may resolve in as little as two weeks. For more severe outbreaks or those not treated in time, shingles may persist for several weeks, and the pain may not subside for weeks, months, years, or forever.
When shingles pain persists beyond 4 months, it is classified as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), aka "forever pain". At week 5 of my shingles outbreak, my pain is still active and I live in fear of PHN. On the plus side, however, I've felt improvement in the last two nights, with last night being markedly better than the night before.
Hopefully I will have an even better night tonight than I did last night, and just progressively keep getting better and better.
That would be so awesome.