3

votes

Post-herpetic neuralgia following shingles

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 07, 2012 at 2:11 AM

My dad age 75 had shingles a couple months ago and now has excruciating pain in the side of his head, jaw and ear. He has always been superman to me and I've never seen him in so much pain and it is making him depressed when people say it can last months or years.

He is friends with the chief of internal medicine at a major California hospital and has been referred to the top pain experts in the area but nothing seems to work. Powerful opiods do nothing for the pain but make him spacey. Lidocaine patches do nothing. Gabapentin, Lyrica, and amitriptyline have all had no effect other than to make him spacey, particularly upon awakening in the middle of the night. He just got some kind of nerve blocking shot in his face but that still has not seemed to do anything. Literally the only thing that gives him relief from the pain is vodka but that is obviously not a long term solution.

Is there ANYTHING to try in terms of diet or vitamin supplements that anyone has had success with. We are at our wits end and it is very distressing to see him in so much pain.

PS get the shingles vaccine when you turn 40! It is MISERABLE if you develop post-herpetic neuralgia.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on October 11, 2012
at 03:34 AM

It's now nearly a year since it started, and I think he is 100% over it now. Even 2 months ago I would still see him rubbing his face due to mild discomfort, but I think the really bad pain/discomfort stopped this spring - about 4 months after it started. He never found anything that worked very well. He used lidocaine patches and ice packs every day, vodka every night. It very slowly improved over time, but it was basically a grin and bear it type of thing.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:20 AM

Agree with this recommendation. But he should start with the lower strength first. It can cause a burning sensation.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 08, 2012
at 12:36 AM

Thanks for the clarification, BG3. FYI~ Best to edit your original question & add this info there, so it doesn't get lost.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Thanks. I'm not exactly sure if the neuralgia is "inflammation" per se since it is caused by a virus, but megadoses of vitamin D sure has helped me not get sick when I feel something coming on. And yes, he is going in for acupuncture on Monday.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Thanks. He hated the lidocaine and I actually mentioned capsaicin to him last night but he doesn't think anything topical will work for him. I'll second the recommendation though.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Thanks. He has tried every drug conventional medicine has recommended and that is commonly recommended online. He already takes a B complex and vit C daily. The only "conventional" treatment I've seen that he has not yet tried is where they put electrodes over it and stimulate it with electrical pulses.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on January 07, 2012
at 03:49 AM

Had shingles 3 years ago and was prescribed famciclovir for the anti-viral, along with prednisone and oxycodone for pain. I caught the outbreak early, but it got worse before it got better. I hate taking any meds ever, so when the doc said "here, take all these" of course I was hesitant. I began all 3 though, and within 2 days I felt like a different person, and not in a good way. Feeling kinda crazy in the head, I stopped the steroid and the oxy and stuck with the antiviral. I don't have a great suggestion other than to try to find a way that doesn't involve more drugs. Your dad eats paleo?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 07, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Major reason why the pox vaccine is bad news...usually get an automatic immune boost by being around children with chicken pox that helps to protect against shingles. But as to the neuralgia other than your standard eating clean and lowering stress to help the healing process not much to be done that I know of.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 07, 2012
at 02:53 AM

I had shingles at age 25 and had some residual neuralgia along the nerve pathway that had had eruptions. I was scared to death it was the beginning of another attack. The good news is that my neuralgia subsided fairly rapidly in terms of true pain; mild sting/itch is what took a long time to go away. I hope his worst sensations drop quickly too!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 07, 2012
at 02:25 AM

I had shingles last year and it was horrible. Thankfully, I do not have residual neuralgia. I wish I had any ideas for him and hope someone does. But don't discount the vodka too much. If he is otherwise healthy and paleo, he should be able to handle it, just sip slowly.

  • A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

    asked by

    (35)
  • Views
    5.6K
  • Last Activity
    1432D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

3
Df7cf48be85c91165f9f39f1fe462e41

on January 07, 2012
at 04:26 AM

I know this isn't diet or supplement related, but I've heard that capsaicin cream works well. Not only do I know of someone who used it with great results, but there's been a study in which some patients were given a placebo cream and some were given the capsaicin cream. Out of the patients given the capsaicin cream, 80% found relief from postherpetic neuralgia. Source: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/healthconditionsdisease/a/shingles.htm

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Thanks. He hated the lidocaine and I actually mentioned capsaicin to him last night but he doesn't think anything topical will work for him. I'll second the recommendation though.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:20 AM

Agree with this recommendation. But he should start with the lower strength first. It can cause a burning sensation.

2
A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:38 PM

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

Just to clarify, my dad is "mostly" paleo. I've gotten him to pretty much eliminate grains and sugar completely, though we all cheated a bit over the holidays eating with a big family.

As an aside, I'm 31 and suffered from cold sores my entire life but never had chicken pox. Several years ago I figured out that megadoses of L-Lysine are a flat out cure for cold sores for me. The cold sore, herpes, chicken pox and shingles viruses are all closely related so I convinced him to take lysine as soon as he was diagnosed with shingles. It stopped the spread of the blistering phase immediately.

I ended up getting chicken pox from my dad's shingles and was aware it can be dangerous for an adult to get. I took 2g of lysine 4 times a day and halted the spread of the blisters immediately. I was scared of how serious I'd heard chicken pox can be for adults but it ended up being an extremely mild case for me.

Maybe I was lucky, maybe it was the lysine, but I highly recommend lysine for any of the herpes-type viruses. It's been a miracle for me personally. As I understand it, lysine is a competitive inhibitor for arginine in the infected cell's production of a protein the virus requires to reproduce and spread.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 08, 2012
at 12:36 AM

Thanks for the clarification, BG3. FYI~ Best to edit your original question & add this info there, so it doesn't get lost.

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 07, 2012
at 04:39 AM

If the pain is caused by inflammation, then Vitamin D works well as an anti-inflammatory, especially at higher blood levels. More info at the Vitamin D Council.

Second the acupuncture for immediate relief. EFT may also be useful.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Thanks. I'm not exactly sure if the neuralgia is "inflammation" per se since it is caused by a virus, but megadoses of vitamin D sure has helped me not get sick when I feel something coming on. And yes, he is going in for acupuncture on Monday.

2
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on January 07, 2012
at 04:22 AM

It's a tough one. My wife has same thing, but milder case. There are half a dozen or more treatments in the conventional medical arsenal. Has he tried all of these?

In the alternative health world, he might try alpha lipoic acid & vit c... B-12... Cat's claw... Acupuncture...

Keep looking for something that works.

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on January 07, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Thanks. He has tried every drug conventional medicine has recommended and that is commonly recommended online. He already takes a B complex and vit C daily. The only "conventional" treatment I've seen that he has not yet tried is where they put electrodes over it and stimulate it with electrical pulses.

0
4d2ddc35783e2280328563bbf27464c4

(0)

on October 10, 2012
at 09:11 PM

This sounds just like my Dad. Shingles started Aug.1 and now he is left with tremendous pain. Nothing is working.

How is your dad now?

A331baf66eb60e84fd98badc31945020

(35)

on October 11, 2012
at 03:34 AM

It's now nearly a year since it started, and I think he is 100% over it now. Even 2 months ago I would still see him rubbing his face due to mild discomfort, but I think the really bad pain/discomfort stopped this spring - about 4 months after it started. He never found anything that worked very well. He used lidocaine patches and ice packs every day, vodka every night. It very slowly improved over time, but it was basically a grin and bear it type of thing.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!