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Managing Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
writes, "Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in your nerve tissue, but it can be reactivated years later as shingles. It is more common in adults between the ages of 60 and 80 and those with weakened immune systems."
Symptoms of shingles include:

- Pain, tingling, burning, itching, or numbness in a certain area of the body

- Red rash with fluid-filled blisters that start within a week after the pain. The rash typically occurs on one side of your chest. It can also occur on one side of the face or neck.

- Fever

- Chills

- Headache

After the blisters dry up, usually in one to two weeks, pain can persist. Sometimes, shingles can lead to a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, in which sharp, stabbing pain lasts months to years after the rash has disappeared.

A German study showed that proteolytic enzymes delivered similar pain relief to those being treated with the drug acyclovir. Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that are produced naturally by the pancreas to help digest protein we eat. They are also found in certain foods, such as papaya and pineapple. Supplements derived from papaya (called papain), pineapple (called bromelain), and from animal pancreas can be found online, in health food stores, and in some grocery and drug stores.

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and is sometimes used for postherpetic neuralgia.

In one study, people used either capsaicin cream or a placebo cream. After six weeks, almost 80 percent of people who used the capsaicin cream had significantly greater pain relief compared to people who used the placebo cream.

When it is applied to the skin, capsaicin has been found to deplete substance P - a neurochemical that transmits pain - resulting in an analgesic effect.

Capsaicin cream is also called capsicum cream. It is available in drug stores, health food stores, and online. A typical dosage is 0.025% capsaicin cream applied two to four times a day.

Tony Burris, L.Ac.
Eagle Acupuncture

I had Shingles about 8 years ago and it was the worst pain I've experienced. Thank you for giving other options besides "pain pills," for others to try.

-- anan1, Nov 26, 2011 09:46am

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