Thursday, August 23, 2007

Looks Like Shingles... OUCH!


Greetings from the "Sunshine State"

The first sign of Shingles may include itching, tingling, and burning. A few days later a blistering rash appears which can last up to 30 days!

I would like to share with you my very painful past few weeks! This is how it happened. Around August 12th, I seemed to have developed an ear ache, so I bought ear drops. I used them for a few days and thought my ear was feeling a little bit better.. although I felt a numbness. I thought it was the chamomile drops numbing my ear or rather the pain! But also my neck was sore to touch and actually my skin hurt to the touch it. The following day I saw awful blisters on my upper torso, to include my chest area, arm, under arm, neck front and back... I immediately called my doctor and got an appointment that day. As soon as he walked in and saw me, he said... "UH OH looks like shingles!"

What to do? He prescribed Vicoden for the excruciating pain. I cannot even begin to tell you how much pain I was in. Acyclovir 800 mg, 5 X's a day for 10 days which is an antibiotic. I started the regimen of pain pills, to my chagrin... the Vicoden did not even touch the pain. I called my doctor again, explaining to the nurse that I just could not take this pain any longer. Within a few minutes she called me back with a stronger prescription.

The new meds indicated, take one tablet every 6 hrs. as needed for pain. Sure enough it did help and finally after a few days of complete bed rest, I was able to get up and actually start to eat a bit. Because of the awful pain I could not eat, only drink water and take my regular meds and the "shingles" meds. Altho I did my best to eat some crackers and jello.. yummy!!

My biggest concern with the pain meds was that it could have created a problem with my breathing. Because of the nature of these drugs, there is a big warning on the bottle "Taking more of this medication then recommended may cause serious breathing problems."
Needless to say, I was very careful in taking them.

Something that we should all be aware of is that: "We need to be careful with any different medications we may need to take. If possible, research the side effects and reactions that could occur while taking these along with our 'normal' meds." Also remember... do not be afraid to ask you doctor any questions you may have.

Today is a better day, altho I still have some pain on the right side of my neck. From what I have read, sometimes there is residual pain from the shingles and it is called, (PHN) Postherpetic Neuralgia. The pain from shingles can range from burning or throbbing to a pain that is stabbing or shooting. In my case the shooting and stabbing would apply! I can only hope that this will go away quietly and stay away.

I know most people wonder... "what causes shingles?" Well, from what I have researched, if you have had Chickenpox than you are at risk for this potentially serious and painful disease.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus can remain inactive in your body for years. If the virus becomes active, you can get a case of the shingles. What causes the virus to become active... stress and perhaps a weakened immune system.

One thing I mentioned in the beginning of my post is that at the time I was using the ear drops, I assumed the drops were causing the numbness to my ear. But after being diagnosed with shingles...I read that they can cause numbness to the ear if the outbreak is in that area.

I have attached a site link with more information about "SHINGLES".

If anyone has had this type of experience, please write in and share this with us. It is very helpful and important for all of us to beable to learn and share together.

Breathe with all the strength that you have my friends,

1 2 3... Inhale ... 1 2 3 4... Exhale

Sandy

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm

33 comments:

Clara said...

i hope you read this and are able to reply.
last week i had the flu (fever, aches, etc).
this week i have agonizing rib pain that radiates to my back.
i had the full work up at the hospital because of the amount of pain i was in. all negative: cat scans, ultrasounds, everything. so they diagnosed me with a tear of m rib cartilage from all my coughing last week.
my doctor (PCP) thinks it may be shingles because of the excrutiating pain in the nerve pattern.
there is no rash. (yet?)
it hurts the most at night. and especially when i cough. that is why i am not sold on the shingles diagnosis vs the rib cartilage diagnosis...
does this sound like what you had?

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Allen J said...

had shingles already for six weeks. started in ear and had a earache for six weeks. cold and kankor sores also. may as well ate M&Ms for pain. pain pills only made me anxious and unable to sleep. i am now on a pill used for epiletcy. excuse typing. done one finger at a time.

Anonymous said...

Just got diagnosed with shingles ~female age 58. Started with tooth pain (I thought) then noted lesion on right side of face~ more followed. Stabbing pains in right ear ~ thought I had ear infection.
Started medicine today. Ear pain is the worst. Hope I've nipped this in the bud. Never thought it would happen to me.

Anonymous said...

I work in a pain clinic we see shingles all the time. The big thing I want to get across is why should you suffer with all that pain? We do injections to help with the pain and healing of the shingles. It is amazing how fast people get better with the injections. Here are a few of the names of injections depending on what nerve is being affected. Stellate ganglion block-face and arm, Thoracic epidural sympathetic block-chest area, lumbar epidural sympathetic block-back, legs. They are all sympathetic blocks. Any Pain Clinic will be able to help you. Meds involved are Gabapentin or Lyrica(to help with nerve pain slows down the conduction of the firing of the nerve) Antivirals. Truthfully the pain meds-vicodin, don't seem to help people. All I can say is get to a pain clinic! You will get relief and won't get Postherpetic neuralgia. The minute you get diagnosed get in there. The faster you can heal the nerve the faster you get better!! Hope this helps somebody out there :)

Anonymous said...

I had shingle's when I was 15 yrs. old. (quite unusual) from there after I suffered with back pain, and still do. Also developed c.o.p.d. last year. I am now 57 and have really never had a pain free day, since my early teen's. The only med. that help's a bit is oxicodine. good luck to those out there...

Anonymous said...

I've just been diagnosed with shingles. Basically same kind of story you had. I had pain in my right ear and some scalp tenderness. I thought that it may have been coming from a tooth which had been a bit tender earlier in the week. Then the pain moved to my neck and my lymph glands swelled to a size to be visibly noticeable in my neck. 24 hours later small spots appeared under my chin and around my ear and back of neck and I thought..definately not my tooth! The doc took one look and diagnosed shingles. I thought that I had got off with the pain side....it was mostly discomfort I felt but nothing too bad..I could still function and go about normally without much difference. Then 48 hours after diagnosis I was woken up in the early hours by very sharp stabbing pains in my head that felt someone was sticking a red hot poker through my ear into my brain (sorry to be so graphic!). Pain killers seem to have it at bay just now but I am dreading the rest of the day just wondering what is to come and for how long! I'm going on holiday in 3 weeks time and seriously panicking now!

Anonymous said...

Your posts help me feel a little - little - better. My case started with an ear ache and sore throat. I went to doctor and was told I had water in my ear. I treid all kinds of remedies and nothing helped. Then cancor sores and a face rash appeared, my lower lip swelled to a point where I could barely talk, I also became very sensitive to touch (brushing my hair hurt).Three days after initial doctor visit I went to emergency room due to the extreme pain. I was told I have shingles. Famciclovir was prescribed as well as percocet. I couldn't afford the Famiclovir ($246.00) and it is a Sunday so I'm stuck til calling my own doc tomorrow. This is all scary and I've never known such pain - mostly at night.

Anonymous said...

i have to say my diagnosis of shingles today came as some twisted kind of relief!! i seriously thought i had a brain tumour or something to be honest!! i will never brush off shingles when anyone mentions it again EVER!!....i have it affecting the right side of my head..eye..ear..face..jaw..feels like a a poker has been rammed through my brain into my eye!!! ..i seriously did not no shingles could cause this much pain! i have a weakness in my right side, my hand keeps going numb, i cant grip anything properly, my eye has drooped and i feel like death..but rash wise i only have 2 small patches of spots on my forehead and ear! my vision is blurred and i actually think ripping my head off would be less painful than what im experiencing at the minute!! sorry to be so graphic but it truly horrific, i just hope it goes..SOON!! i have been like this for 2 weeks so far and doctor reckons its gonna get worse before it gets better..cant wait!!

Anonymous said...

I too like the anonymous poster before me said am in a weird way glad to hear it was Shingles I was diagnosed with. I was on vacation and on the last day of our vacation woke up to pain and sever itching. I thought I was bitten by a deadly spider or bed bug. The small 3 bumps on the right side of my back right below where your bra would sit and just right of my spine those bumps were what was causing the itching. But the pain and sensitivity to touch of my whole right side of my body from neck to hip was so bad. The bumps started very small but as the days progressed so did the bumps and pain. A few days later my husband finally got me to go to the Doctor as soon as he seen my back he said "Shingles" with some weird relief I felt a sign of relief that I wasn't bitten by some deadly spider nor a bed bug that could have traveled home with us and bit me or one of my small children repeatedly. Luckily my rash has contained itself as a half dollar coin size sore that grew red and blistered filled so super painful to wear any type of clothing but of course we don't live on a topless beach as my husband would love I live in a world of children, school, friends and little league. I don't think anyone would appreciate a bra less woman. If you could just imagine the pain of it rubbing my skin that feels so raw. And that's just the pain the blisters are causing that's not counting the back and rib crushing feeling that I'm feeling morning noon and night inside I feel like someone is crushing the right side of my back and ribs together. I also had to call my Doctor to get a stronger pain med cause the pain is so excruciating, still waiting for a call back. So let's see if it will help. I was told that long after the rash disappears the pain can last as long as 2 years, I can't imagine. Good luck to anyone that gets Shingles its no joke!!!!!!!!!

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opirnia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
opirnia said...

This is an old post but has helped me today, thank you. Yesterday I also was diagnosed with shingles and the shooting pain every now and then in my right ear is horrible (rash on right side of face; like others at first I also thought toothache, then earache).

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Jamie Leonard said...

I am going thru the same exact thing, started with my tooth.they said I need a root canal. Had to cancel because I got shingles. Maybe I don't need the root canal. Did your ear clear up. Mine is killing me.

Anonymous said...

This is Phil.
After visiting Dr 2 times for significantly increasing pain in head and ear, my 92 year old mother went to ER due to pain. Checked for tumor, but next day broke out in rash and was then diagnosed with shingles. Suffered for one week in hospital with no relief from severe pain. Was moved to nursing home for "strength rehab" so she could go back home.
After 5 weeks rash on scalp has crusted over but she is still suffering terribly from ear and head pain, cannot swallow well, and has lost 14 pounds (more than 10% of her weight), Her pain has been relentless, surging to ear and head every 3 or 4 minutes, then subsiding, only to re-surge again. It is very difficult to see her suffer this way. She has been a very strong and independent woman all of her life. She is allergic to many meds. The pain inhibits her rehab work so it has become a vicious cycle, with no relief yet in sight. We can only hope that the condition and pain subside so she can resume a pleasant remainder to her life.