Shingles Support Group

Herpes zoster, colloquially known as shingles, is the reactivation of varicella zoster virus, leading to a crop of painful blisters over the area of a dermatome. It occurs very rarely in children and adults, but its incidence is high in the elderly (over 60), as well as in any age group of immunocompromised patients.

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sharp shooting pain in head.. doc

Friday I started having horrible sharp pains on the right side of my head that would come and go like lighting. Went to ER on Sunday, cat scan, they said I had a headache.. right.
Tuesday on top of head sharp pain right ear and neck started hurting bad.. went to doctor and he said he is pretty sure I have shinggles, cause of the pain only on rt side and I have 2 small like pimples on my neck ( rt side). I though I had a ear infection, but ears are clear.

Question is. I have seen shinggle pictures and my 2 bumps look nothing like that. Can this really be shinggles?
He put me on Valtrex. I am scared to take it, and scared not to take it.

Does shinggles always have a god awlful rash?

thanks for reading I am really scared. I have never had the poxs or anything



Sorry you are in such pain. Hard to say if it is shingles from what you have said. I would definately take the medication you have been given.
Maybe the Dr has picked up the shingles virus before your sores have blistered. I went one time with a red rash & very small lumps (similar to pimples) & was told it was shingles, took the medication & sure enough they did develop more but not into a bad dose of shingles as caught early. The pain is often bad before the sores develop. Your Dr has done well to recognise the possibility of shingles.
If in doubt phone the Dr & ask more questions or get a 2nd opinion from another Dr if that is possible. I know dr's services vary in different areas/countries.
Hope you feel better soon

Are you sure you have never had Chicken Pox? You might have had a very light case like I did as a child, maybe even in the very spot you have little pimples right now. Shingles can only occur in people who have had Chicken Pox - it is the same virus. My Shingles was just one little spot on my arm, so not all Shingles turn into big rashes. Like AusSue said, take the Valtrex as it won't do any harm and may reduce the severity of Shingles if that is what it is. A second opinion may be worth it. I am so sorry you are in pain.

Since this post was in may, i'm sure you know by now whether or not you had shingles! For anyone doing an internet search fro sharp shooting pains, i want to add that this symptom was one of my first indications of shingles. i had a very small rash, which i thought was dermititis. I felt sick. And i felt like someone was hitting me behind the ear (and sometimes in the ear) with an ice pick.

When i went to the urgent care, the rash had spread a little and the nurse immediately said "shingles." I thought i was too young! I said the rash was no big deal but i had the worst headache of my life. she said that was the nerve ending where the shingles virus was. When i saw the doctor, he said the head pain was not related! I did much internet searching, and i've not seen it addressed in most of the places that give shingles overview. However, if you have a rash and head pain, you may be in the early stages of shingles. It takes a while for the rash to spread and the blisters to show up. This is what i found confusing.

I wonder if i should write a letter to that doctor? Luckily, online i read it recommended that you take Gabapentin for the headache, and I HAPPENED to have some (was prescribed for anxiety), and low and behold, it really brought the pain down a notch. How come the nurse knew but the doctor didn't?

I was diagnosed with shingles back in May, 2008, after having sharp electric-like pain around my left breast/ribcage. Of course I was terrified that it was cancer or something with my heart, but all of those tests were negative. I had a hard time trusting the diagnosis after I saw pictures of the "typical" shingles rash because I only had a few tiny red dots, not even pimples, over my left breast at the time. I was also prescribed Valtrex and eventually the pain went away. I still get twinges of pain from time to time, usually when I am very stressed (I have anxiety), but nothing like the original pain.

So, to answer your question, yes, it is possible to get shingles without a rash.

Good luck!

I was diagnosis with shingles about a month ago, in the
ER with intense pain and rash. The rash developed to blistered and now I have constant pain that moves around just like Col24 (reply # 4). I thought I was going crazy and some of the shocks kind of takes my breath away., I am using lidocaine spray and patches seems to cause instant relief. Prescribed Lyrica 150mg AM and PM. can't tell if it is working. Going to try Neurotin ran out from ER script. When I took both seem to have the pain decreased. I have the intense itching that seems to move around as well. Experience the increase fatigue and feel like I take so many pills, it seems. The pain is horrible and I rely on my faith and this is my first and hopefully last episode for me. How long does it take before these symptoms go away. I have not been able to concentrate to write reports for my work. Anyway, I am glad I joined this group to read what others are experiencing and I feel I am not alone with my journey. I pray everyone get better and can get back with your lifes....Hugs

Hey, Frisky! You & I must have developed symptoms at about the same time! I started out on Nov. 21st, feeling like I had burned my scalp, and the pain progressed to my right ear and neck. By Fri., the 27th, it looked like I'd been scalded, w/ blisters weeping, and yes, pain shooting through like lightning bolts. Yes, its tough to concentrate through stuff like that. This week, I am finally able to return to work. This makes me SO happy.

My doctor pretty much just prescribed percocet for pain, after the initial antiviral & week's worth of prednisone. Other things I've found helpful: lidocaine ointment, & I have eardrops for earache that numbs the inside of my ear. Right now, I'm dealing with the itching.

How long does it take for symptoms to go away? Different for everyone: the Kaiser website says 2 to 6 weeks, generally, with pain resolving over a period of time. About 20% of sufferers experience long-term pain (post herpatic neuralgia), but 80% resolve with no long-term effects. Also, once a persion experiences shingles, only 2% have repeated episodes. Not that these facts are very helpful when you're in the throes of this particular hell. I found meditation and prayer to be helpful...started praying the Rosary again. I hope you feel better soon.
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