While shingles will not lead to mortality, it can make people miserable. In addition to the pain, there can be insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. 95% of Americans get Chickenpox, and often the virus lays dormant in the nerves just outside of the spinal cord, called the dorsal root ganglia. Stress, infection, immune suppression, traums, or most often just bad luck, cause the virus to reactivate and manifest itself as shingles.
As many as 30% of us will get shingles. If you're over 80 then the chances are 50/50. Shingles lasts 1-6 months but can last, unfortunately, for years.
Shingles TreatmentShingles vaccine can prevent one half of the cases of shingles, and two thirds of the cases of post-herpetic neuralgia. Get it.
If you have shingles, your doctor will likely prescribe antiviral drugs during the acute herpes zoster outbreak. Topical analgesics may help with the pain.
High-intensity laser therapy may bring about dramatic pain relief. Some have reported that the pain is permanently cured within one hour.
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- Good review of laser therapy from Practical Pain management
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