Addressing the Pain of Shingles

Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus is dormant in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus “wakes up” when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system.

Most people who get shingles will get over it and not get it again. But it is possible to get shingles more than once. It is recommended that people over 50 get a shingles vaccination (Shingrix) to prevent the shingles. We have this vaccination available at Norland Avenue Pharmacy, no appointment needed.


For many people, shingles start with an itchy or tingling feeling. Before long, raised welts may appear that turn to blisters. The blisters fill with fluid and then crust over. Shingles is treated with anti-viral medicines. The sooner you get started on these medicines, the better.


The problem with shingles is that they hurt like crazy. They are so sensitive that you don’t want anything to come in contact with the blisters, even clothing. Heat and cold can affect shingles differently. In the cold, shingles can ache. People are most often prescribed oral pain medications for shingles, but the result is typically drowsiness and not so much pain relief.


One option is to work with your physician and our compounding pharmacist to compound a topical pain relief spray that you can mist directly on the area and achieve pain relief almost immediately. Gently rubbing a compounded pain cream on the area can provide relief for three to four hours.


As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you can, get the vaccination. If you’re already experiencing the pain of shingles, we can provide a flyer on our compounded pain solutions for you to give to your doctor.

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