Postherpetic Neuralgia

Louisiana Pain Specialists -  - Pain Management

Louisiana Pain Specialists

Pain Management & Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation located in New Orleans, Kenner, Baton Rouge, Marrero, Laplace, & Metairie, LA

Of adults older than 50 who have a shingles flare-up, 13% will develop postherpetic neuralgia. However, with early treatment from the experienced pain management team at Louisiana Pain Specialists, you can get relief from the often severe pain of postherpetic neuralgia. To learn more about their comprehensive care, call one of the offices in Kenner, Metairie, Laplace, Baton Rouge, Marrero, and New Orleans, Louisiana, or book an appointment online today.

Postherpetic Neuralgia Q & A

What is postherpetic neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia is a painful condition sometimes experienced after shingles. Shingles develop from the virus that causes chickenpox.

If you have chickenpox, the virus remains in your body and settles in nerves. The virus stays dormant for years until it suddenly reactivates and causes an excruciating red rash that follows the path of the nerve.

After the shingles rash clears up, you can continue to feel pain in the same area. This pain, called postherpetic neuralgia, arises from the nerves damaged by the viral infection.

What symptoms occur if I have postherpetic neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia primarily causes pain lasting three months or longer after the shingles rash heals. The pain occurs in the same area where your rash appeared, often on one side of your body in a band that wraps around your trunk.

You may feel a sharp, piercing, stabbing pain or a burning, aching type of pain. Along with pain, the area becomes highly sensitive to touch and temperature changes. Though not as common, the site may feel itchy or numb.

How is postherpetic neuralgia treated?

The team at Louisiana Pain Specialists takes a comprehensive and balanced approach to treating postherpetic neuralgia. Each person receives a tailored treatment plan drawn from pain-relieving options such as:

Topical treatments

Topical creams containing capsaicin and lidocaine skin patches placed over the affected area can help reduce your pain.

Antidepressant medications

Antidepressants do more than treat depression. They also relieve pain by balancing brain chemicals involved in the way your body perceives pain. As a result, your provider may prescribe a low-dose antidepressant even if you’re not depressed.

Anticonvulsant medications

Anticonvulsant medications reduce pain by stabilizing the electrical activity in the damaged nerves.

Nerve block

When you get a nerve block, your provider injects an anesthetic combined with another medication. The drug provides immediate, short-term relief, while the other medicines deliver longer-lasting results. For example, they may inject medications that reduce nerve sensitivity to pain.

Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation uses an implanted device to deliver small electrical impulses to precisely targeted nerves. The impulses block nerve transmission, so the pain signals don’t reach your brain. When your brain doesn’t get the message, your pain improves.

At the first sign of postherpetic neuralgia, Call Louisiana Pain Specialists or book an appointment online today.