What kinds of treatments have been effective for your shingles? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: MakeItGoAwayAlready, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I and an emergency room (ER) doctor misdiagnosed my extremely painful rib cage (normal breathing hurt) as pulled muscles. By the way, I only went to the ER because Urgent Care was closed (Labor Day). By the time I saw my general physician (GP) for a follow-up I had a painful itchy rash under my left breast. Then, it was diagnosed as shingles. I was given valacyclovir. My rib pain is gone. Blisters are gone. It is still itchy and now my sternum is tender. I can't wait to get my vaccine at this point.

Comment from: Ralphmary, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 19

My shingles began as a stabbing pain on my left torso. I went for checkup, and it was diagnosed as pneumonia. After taking Crystapen injection and other antibiotics, the pain didn't lessen, instead, it worsened and wanted to kill me. The rashes came later and the angry blisters. After it was seen as shingles, I was given Perilon for the pains, which didn't work. I took ibuprofen, yet nothing. I couldn't sleep, the sleeping pills were ineffective. It was the worst 3 weeks of my life. I took antivirals.

Comment from: Lanier , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

My shingles started with itching of the scalp and nerve pain in the neck. I thought I pulled a muscle. The pain got worse and little red spots appeared behind my ear. I couldn’t see them so I was frustrated. Others could barely see the red spots. So confusing. The pain got worse. The ENT treated it as staph, but pain got worse, so I returned in 2 days and it was diagnosed as shingles. The dermatologist confirmed. For 1 day now I’m on gabapentin, prednisone, Valtrex, lidocaine lotion and oxycodone, and feeling less pain. Wishes to those who have to go through this.

Comment from: retiredmongoose, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I found a product called Terrasil, which has many helpful elements for shingles. Really helps the itch which never started since I used this product right away. The only drawback is that it is pricy but a rebate is offered.

Comment from: Todd, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 01

I first noticed the shingles rash on a Friday, along with sharp sciatic back pain on the left side. The rash presented on my upper left thigh, left buttock cheek and lower back. The rash itself didn't itch or hurt, but was nasty looking. I was prescribed Valtrex and also picked up some topical lidocaine roll on. Advil seems to help also. Now it is day 13, and the rash is subsiding, but night time I get very uncomfortable with pain and sensitivity on the skin and sciatic back pain.

Comment from: Ann, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 28

I have the shingles and this is unbearable. The pain and itch are insane. I have been on the medicines for 10 days and I’m going insane. I can’t sleep at night, and the pain medicines are no good. I feel like they are taking out my right lung. I’ve tried everything and I hope this thing goes away very soon and never returns.

Comment from: Mobrien , 55-64 (Patient) Published: June 02

I started with a burning sensation to my skin on my right thigh alone, with back pain which I thought was my back or a pinched nerve. Three days later the shingles rash broke out in my lower back, up to my hip. I immediately was put on Valtrex and have done well taking Advil a couple of times. Day 6 gave me the most discomfort and every night is definitely uncomfortable. I feel swollen all through the right side of my body. Just finished 7 days of Valtrex and hope I continue to get better.

Comment from: Alan, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 29

Best cure for shingles for me was vitamin E oil 200 IU. I rubbed it on the shingles about 3 to 4 times a day. The blisters that I had on my hip started to disappear in 2 to 3 days.

Comment from: R. Geiger, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

This is my first time getting shingles. It started with an achy feeling in my lower right back, discomfort under my right arm, leading to under my right breast. I had moved some furniture so I thought I had pulled some muscles. My doctor prescribed prednisone and muscle relaxers, which helped, but a week later, a rash of blisters broke out. The doctor put me on gabapentin, up to 1200 mg per day. It's been 6 weeks, the rash has dried up, nerve pain is gone, but still sensitive in affected area and I still can't wear a bra.

Comment from: Knightwyfe, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 31

I have had a swelling behind my ear with pain for about 8 days which was misdiagnosed for mastoiditis. I went to 3 different emergency rooms, they all said severe ear infection and pumped me full of antibiotics, and my primary care physician said mastoiditis and more antibiotics. My neck became stiff, pain unbearable, and my ear hurt so badly. My ENT got me in fortunately and told me the reason the antibiotics were not working was because it was shingles. He put me on anti-viral pill, steroids and pain pills. The pain is still rough.


Shingles Rash Pictures, Symptoms, Vaccine Facts See Slideshow
Comment from: Lu, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I started out on 300 mg gabapentin for shingles three times a day for a couple months, and went to 600 mg gabapentin for four times a day. I took Valium at night 2 to 5 mg just to get to sleep. I have oxycodone if I get extreme pain. I did develop the postherpetic neuralgia, I got it on the right side of my face and head including my eye, and I still have it. I’m going on my fourth month and it is very painful.

Comment from: Buckybeaver, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I currently have my 2nd case of shingles, 25 years apart. I'm taking Valtrex, tramadol and prednisone. I have way more pain this time, shoulder to thigh. Rash is on the back only, T6 level. Hasn't blistered yet. Pain is worse at night. I cannot find position of any comfort. I feel like my finger should sizzle when I touch my side. The doctor also put me on 100 mg gabapentin. I plan on Shingrix when this is over with. Don't ever want shingles again. I'm 75 years old.

Comment from: Gamechanger, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I’ve been getting shingles around my eye since I was 12 years old. I’m now 36. It happens when I’m under stress, and it would take me out for 2 weeks every time. I missed work, I missed social engagements, I even missed Christmas. Until I started reading about high doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C taken orally to the point of bowel tolerance and shingles will be gone in 3 days. It’s a game changer and a life saver.

Comment from: Sam, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I am currently on the 4th week of shingles and it has presented on the jawline from ear to ear with outshooting to the eye and chest. I am on Valtrex and tramadol which I started the 2nd day after the rash first appeared. I felt better after 7 days and stopped taking the medicines and returned to work. After 4 days the rash returned with a vengeance and I began taking the medicines again. I tried everything I could for relief and the best thing I found is cayenne pepper and coconut oil (or beeswax).

Comment from: Chris from Longbeach, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I have been dealing with postherpetic neuralgia now after my shingles; it’s the most debilitating pain. In the first 7 days during my eruption of shingles, I was using Caladryl. It was no help, in fact a hinderance as it dried on to me like clay and was more painful. I found Banana Boat Sooth-A-Caine great, it has lidocaine and aloe, and is a spray gel. It helped but pain was still there, especially at night. I then found relief during my next 7 days of blistering with Corn Huskers Lotion. Then the last 2 weeks a burn gel has been working well.

Comment from: MB_NorthNJ, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

My shingles began as an intense back pain along the left side of my spine. Several days later massive red blisters appeared extending across my left chest under the armpit, and across to the spine. Emergency clinic prescribed Valtrex and recommended Advil. Two days later the pain drove me to see my general physician. She called the emergency clinic uninformed! She prescribed Lyrica for pain, told me no narcotics will relieve nerve pain. Lyrica worked wonders; generic pregabalin 75 MG 2 times/day for 30 days.

Comment from: Doodles , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I had the internal shingles 2 years ago and went for acupuncture. The doctor couldn’t touch my left side as it was very tender. I would cry and yell but after 1 month of acupuncture he can touch me. The pain was improving but a baby’s rash came out, and after that session, the rash decreased. But I went to urgent care and was on Valtrex and gabapentin. Second time around, two years later I felt the same pain mildly and got on the same medicines again and seeing the acupuncturist again, but I have no rash.

Comment from: Steve , 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I developed pain in my right mid back about 3 weeks ago. I thought it was worm related. After 7 days I got a red painful area on my spine at the same level as the pain. I had had shingles on my chest only 4 months ago so went to see my doctor about 4 days after the rash developed. I showed him the rash and he declared it shingles and started me on 1 week of Valtrex. The rash is scabbed over but I still have back pain radiating to the front at the same level as the rash (dermatomal).

Comment from: Booklady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

I was 54 years old when I got shingles, and had chicken pox as a child. My shingles started as a slight pin prick on my cheekbone near my eye. I had a few blisters on my face with absolutely no pain or discomfort. My doctor was very concerned that the shingles might get into my eye so he immediately called my eye doctor and sent me over to be checked. I don’t recall the medication I was given... in fact, I might not have been given any!


Shingles is a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. See Answer
Comment from: No-insurance, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

I got a case of shingles under my right arm on the torso. I used cold facial aloe vera wraps, you can buy in Dollar 1 store, for itching. Also soak blisters in oatmeal poultice for about 15 minutes 3 times a day. After both of these treatments I used a cream I got in Mexico for USD 1. It is a sulfa, gentamycin and corticosteroid cream. My shingles cleared completely of symptoms in one week, and after 3 weeks completely gone. No tenderness, no scarring.

Comment from: David , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 13

I was puzzled by painful ribs then saw the rash. An immediate appointment with the doctor confirmed shingles. Painkillers and acyclovir antivirals were prescribed. I am on week 3 and rash on the back and side of my torso are going but feel like I have been kicked by a mule in the ribs at night. Codeine and amitriptyline now prescribed help me sleep as it is enormously painful at night. I was very run down and had had flu before this, as well as being very sad at the time.

Comment from: Kim H, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

Deep pain in my left lung developed into shingles rash around my chest and back. The pain was like being burned with a torch. Opioids were useless and made me sick. What worked for me was Excedrin every 4 to 6 hours and Colpac cold therapy wraps on the rash. I read not to use ice packs, but these have gel in them and don't sweat or freeze hard. I went from suffering all day and night to being able to sleep. I applied Neosporin plus pain cream on the rash, showered with Aveeno wash, and took Famvir antiviral medicine. It was gone in 3 weeks.

Comment from: Belinda, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I was diagnosed with my second case of shingles in five years ten days ago. It started with pain to the back of my head on the right side and then continued down my shoulder. The blisters appeared a few days later. I was given steroids, an antiviral medication and gabapentin which helped to dry up the blisters and shorten the outbreak. The lesions go up my scalp and about 1/4 the way down my back extending to my right shoulder and front chest area. I still have redness, itching and pain.

Comment from: Tommy, Male (Patient) Published: December 07

For shingles pain, ask your doctor to prescribe gabapentin also known as Neurontin. This is a non-narcotic medication. Take 600 mg and you should have pain relief in 1 or 2 hours. You can take more than 2400 mg daily. This medicine is specific for certain kinds of nerve pain. Very safe.

Comment from: Auntdidi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

My shingles started with a burning sensation on my hairline, which was the beginning. So I went to my doctor and found out that it was shingles. My doctor prescribed valacyclovir hydrochloride. This is very important, get that medicine right away and it helps to dry you out and lessens the blisters. I had blisters on my hairline, forehead, and then towards my eyebrow and went under that brow. If it gets there make sure you have an ophthalmologist in case it gets on your eye lid. The worst place where my shingles were, was all on my scalp, felt like my hair was on fire. I took towels and soaked them in cold water and covered it on my head and repeated till I needed to. Also ask your doctor for bacitracin 500 ointment, it helps to heal.

Comment from: gj, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 06

I get shingles on my left lower face. Same place always. It gets tender and then erupts. I always treated it with a mix of bag balm, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixed into a cream, heavy on baking soda. It took more than 10 days or more to heal. This time I started at first sign of tenderness. After 3 days it has gone away and never erupted. It's dry and a bit scaly and tenderness is gone with no sign of blisters or open wound. Hope I have found something that works.

Comment from: Zan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

I started with a bad headache on the one side of the back of my head and it was very sensitive to touch. I would go to sleep with a headache and wake up with one; at one stage I didn't know if it was my tooth or my ear causing the headache, everything was so sensitive. I started with two red marks above my eyelid and I thought maybe a mosquito had bitten me. The next day my eye was swollen and each day it just got worse. By the fourth day since I saw the 2 red marks I had a red rash and blisters on my forehead, my eye and my scalp. I can’t even touch it, it is so painful. I'm on my second day of antibiotics I hope it goes away soon. My eye is almost closed it is so swollen and I have to be careful when I want to rub the itchy blisters because they pop so easily when they are big. I have been told to take L-lysine tablets (together with the antibiotics) and to mix half a Disprin and a bit of fresh lemon juice into aqueous cream and smear it on the affected area. I am going to give it a try.

Comment from: Betty Boop, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I am a 63 year old female, I got shingles in July of this year and I am still fighting it. It started on my scalp as a burning pain, then on my forehead; blisters started on my scalp down onto my forehead. The pain was unbearable and there is swelling between my skin and the skull cap. It has not gone away yet, I have been on two antibiotics and almost lost the vision in my right eye. An eye specialist put me on Lotemax gel eye drops and it shaved my vision. However the swelling and some pain remain on my head. Still on Lotemax and gabapentin for the eye and nerve damage. I still having fevers from time to time as well.

Comment from: Coco, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

It started with a low back pain on my left side after moving a piece of furniture. A few days later I got an itch in my genitals, rectum and top of buttock. All this is on my left side. A few days later I got red pimple type bumps. The worst ones were on the labia, the vaginal opening, and the top of the buttock. They were extremely painful. My rectum was also very painful. I couldn't see it but I think there must be a pimple there as well. My skin on my buttocks and hips is super sensitive and burns. Even touching my skin hurts. The only one that I can see to have blistered is the very top one. The doctor said it was infected and gave me antibiotics. He also gave me Valtrex for the anti-viral medication. I took all the antibiotics but only took the antiviral for three days because it made me feel foggy and lightheaded. The pain has subsided somewhat but my left buttock still feels like a giant toothache. Now I am very stiff and achy in my left side, back and hip. I am very tired and I wish I knew how long before I'm back to normal.

Comment from: Maggie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

My shingles started out with nausea, tiredness and headache. Then I had severe stabbing pain in my abdomen on the left side and around to my back, much worse at night. I went to the emergency room and they thought it was a kidney stone. They did the lab tests and a CT scan, said everything was normal except slightly elevated WBC count. Told me I might have passed a small stone and shooed me out the door with nothing, telling me to see a primary care doctor in 2 or 3 days. I made an appointment as soon as possible and by the time of my appointment, a small painless patch about an inch in diameter had appeared on my left side in the rib cage area. I didn't think to even mention it to the doctor; I thought it was a spider bite or something. He knew what to ask and diagnosed shingles, gave me a prescription for valacyclovir. It's now been 6 days and the rash has spread, the pain is pretty severe, worse at night. Tylenol does nothing for the pain, but naproxen sodium seems to help a little. Ice packs help too. I don't feel intense itching or tingling, it's more like a very bad burning pain. I can't imagine how painful it must be for the poor people who get this on their face, I feel sorry for you.

Comment from: floridagirl, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: April 28

My 85 year old mother got shingles. She is in her 4th week. It's the itching that was driving her crazy. She tried vitamin E oil and witch hazel, neither helped. I did a search for possible remedies and found aloe vera. Her patio is filled with those plants. We are into day two with the aloe and she has had no itching. Best night’s sleep in three weeks. She carries a piece with her and whenever the itch begins, she rubs it on; best ever. Hope it helps someone else.

Comment from: Zerocool, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 08

Hello I wanted to post this and hopefully help some people. There is no documented case of this to mine and my doctor’s knowledge but this is the best way I can get the word out. My daughter, age 4, has shingles. It’s very bad on stomach, wrapping around side and back. It looks like someone burned her with a blow torch. The doctor said this is the youngest case he personally had ever seen. After I called my mom she had told me that my step dad was vaccinated for shingles only 6 days earlier. We looked on the calendar and saw that he came to our house for dinner the next day. My daughter loves her Grandpa and sits on his lap and gives him hugs and kisses most of the time when they come over. I called back her doctor and he said that even though there is NO DOCUMENTED CASES. He said he thinks that her outbreak was triggered by him for sure. He also said that the vaccination is a live virus. And he will definitely be warning patients who get the vaccine about this. He also said that there have been vaccines that have been stated not to be contagious and after a few years they have been over turned to be mildly contiguous. He ended the call saying the shingles vaccine has only been around for about 4 years there probably isn't enough information and feedback about this type of case but he thinks there is definitely something to this. I hope this help some people and if you discover a similar case please document it on the Internet so it case be known.

Comment from: Ouchy, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 29

I developed oral shingles with an outbreak along my right chin and ear during the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm a healthy 38 year old triathlete who hasn't been sick in 2 1/2 years. The sores erupted in the right side of the inside of my mouth, along the right side of my lower lip, and along my right chin and ear. I started Valtrex on day 2 and am on day 4. The pain is intense and untouchable. Crazy!

Comment from: Joe, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 16

I had shingles over 3 years ago on my forehead and in my hair. I went to every kind of doctor that was suggested. I have a pain management doctor now that has been trying different compounds. I just got a new one and not sure if it is working yet.

Comment from: Tt, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

Shingles started with a bruised sensation on the top of my head. I thought it was a bump from hitting it on a plane ceiling the day prior. Bruising feeling continued to the base of my skull, followed by the worst burning shooting pain into my neck. Rash began the next day and grew quickly to wrap around my ear, down my neck, under chin and shoulder. Excruciating. I started on valacyclovir and blisters are beginning to scab 5 days in. I am still getting new lesions though. I take Advil 600 mg every 4 hours.

Comment from: js0, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 23

Valtrex was effective for my shingles.

Comment from: Aluapsti, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I have shingles that starts in the groin, goes up to the top of the hip, and around to the bottom of the spine. It has been only 9 days since I first began symptoms and just 5 days since I saw my first blister. Some are scabbing now but others just popping up. It feels like I'm being pinched and burned at the same time. So far I'm only using cool compresses, calamine lotion, and ibuprofen.

Comment from: Dora, 65-74 (Patient) Published: January 08

I find an ice bag with cold water helps with the pain from shingles.

Comment from: Brutus, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 31

My shingles also started with soreness on my left side of my back. I recognized these symptoms as I had shingles about 20 years ago. I went to my primary doctor as the rash appeared the night before. She put me on prednisone and Valtrex. Two days later hives appeared and it was the Valtrex that caused the hives. I called the doctor this morning and waiting for the return call.

Comment from: Gabardinebear, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I have systemic sclerosis (amongst other things) and I am currently on my third round of shingles. Although I am on amitriptyline as I had PHN (postherpetic neuralgia) from past attacks, my doctor has now raised the dose. The pain seems to be worse this time. Geranium bourbon oil and plenty of rest is all I can suggest. Look after yourself, both mentally and physically to try and prevent further attacks.

Comment from: Suffering, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: December 29

My father is 83 and has shingles on one side of his head (from scalp to neck) and is suffering with severe headaches and burning cheek. The nerve medicine and Oxycontin don't help. Now he is on morphine and it still is not helping very much. He was diagnosed on November 9 after 3 days thinking it was a sore throat and ear ache.

Comment from: fishwithram1, (Patient) Published: March 04

I have shingle sores since October 2014. I have tried everything. Yes, I had the shingles vaccine. It did not protect me. My doctor said had I not gotten the vaccine it would have been worse. I have tried all of the medicines mentioned. Now I am making a paste of baking soda and cool water and applying. I had a huge injection of steroids about 10 days ago. It did not help. I am trying alternative treatments for sure.

Comment from: Krebskind, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I had surgery for squamous cell carcinoma on the nose. That was the only choice and that was 100% curative.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 09

had a basal cell (small one) on the right side of my nose four years ago. I didn't know what it was; it started out looking like a blackhead and quickly popped, bled, healed over and broke open again. I finally went to a dermatologist who diagnosed it as basal cell. I had the Moh's and no problems up until this past October. I developed a pimple on the tip of my nose and it bled, so I went back to the dermatologist. Now he diagnosed squamous cell; he said it was not very deep. He cut it a week ago and I have to go back to him in another week. Be very careful in that sun.

Comment from: Norah, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I had surgery to remove the skin cancer from the top of my nose. The surgeon used the skin of my forehead to graft over my nose. It was very successful. The healing process was slow, but fortunately, I had no scaring. However, I have some more skin cancer on my cheek.

Comment from: [email protected], 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I have been diabetic for over 10 years, and one day , a week ago, I felt there was a lump over my eye brows. It was very sensitive and painful every time I touched it. Then another one under the hair of my eye brows, every time I touched it it was hurting like pins going through my skin, and then the headache started. Sometimes it was severe and some times it was mild, but it is always there. Then one appeared behind the ear and now the severe pain started all over the head, the ear, and the eye started swelling. Now I have blisters all over the the left side of the head. My family doctor thought it was an insect bite so he gave me Zyrtek, but the eye doctor found out it was the shingles. It is the most painful malady I ever had and now I am on antivirus medication. Healing has started, but the headache is still there.

Comment from: Shingling, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

I have frequently had the tingling sensations as I run a very stressful life and poor eating and sleeping habits. I had recurrent outbreaks of fever sores and blisters and when I had the sensations, I took Valtrex for few days which made everything go back to normal. I ran out of the Valtrex and recently I developed Shingles, which I am taking Famvir to treat it now combined with Prednisone to alleviate the postherpetic neuralgia. I virtually have had very little pain and after 72 hours the rashes subsided.

Comment from: Rick, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

Here's an observation: My first exposure to shingles came after I re-introduced back bends to a yoga routine after a long hiatus due to an abdominal injury. My lower back flexibility has suffered greatly. So I began to target specific areas. The first area was between T10 and L2. After a few weeks, I developed a rash on my right side accompanied with tingling and skin sensitivity that runs along those dermatomes. The doctor prescribed Famciclovir. These past few weeks, I've targeted the areas between L2 and S2. Oddly enough, the shingles rash is developing on my left foot along the L5 dermatome. Interesting, isn't it? I got great relief the first time with acupuncture.

Comment from: Dylan S, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 15

I got shingles about 3 months ago rather badly; on both sides of my stomach. Seems this is unlikely but it is the case. I was on vacation and could not seek immediate help. I am still getting minor flares. They are small but annoying! Seem kind of disseminated as they say, but in the same area as the original location. Wonder if you can have it keep flaring up, and if it eventually fades to nothing. I am 46 years old.

Comment from: Sick, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

My doctor diagnosed me with shingles this week. I have it on my buttocks and groin area. Now I'm having pain in my vagina and just saw a pretty large bump. I am wondering if this is really shingles or if I was misdiagnosed.

Comment from: Jo, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

My husband had shingles twice and obtained treatment quickly and he recovered fully. I had shingles and as I was travelling, I was not able to see a doctor quickly. A rash developed and the pain was very bad. Fortunately it was my waist area and I am left with slight neuralgic discomfort years later. My advice, get treatment very quickly at the commencement of the pains. It will save you a great deal of discomfort later. Shingles is unpleasant. Good luck.

Comment from: Mary, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 24

Four plus years ago I had shingles around the top of my chest down my right arm to my elbow and around my left shoulder to the middle of my back. It was very bad, and I had viral treatment etc. I had large scabs that drove me mad itching. I was ill for several weeks, but I recovered slowly. Now after 4 plus years, I still have muscle pain. It is very painful, painkillers help but it never goes away.

Comment from: Sarah, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I see many on this site that have suffered the excruciating pain of shingles giving the advice to get the shingles shot. I did and two years later had the worst case of shingles my doctor had seen! Excruciating chest pain for two weeks before I got a hint of the rash, thus too late for antivirals. Six months later, I still suffer from postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). My advice? Do the statistics; it is not worth getting the vaccine! Perhaps if I hadn't gotten it, I would have had a more traditional rash and been diagnosed in time to avoid my six month pain that is still continuing.

Comment from: Canadian, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 16

My case started with an upper inner arm that felt bruised and a sore armpit (as if an underwire bra had stabbed me all day). Two days later I noticed a slight rash in the armpit. As I'm allergic to many soaps and perfumes, so I thought it was just contact dermatitis. By day four, I just felt awful. Then after vomiting, I felt like I had pulled a muscle in my rib cage. By day six, I just felt awful and muscle pain in sternum and upper back wouldn't let me sleep. I called the telephone health line and triage nurse sent me to local ER as a possible heart attack patient. At the hospital, the doctor looked at the EKG and said my heart looked good. The doctor noted I had slight rash but said it was fungal. After eight hours, they sent me home. Once I got home, I realized rash was worse than before. I did some web research and realized my rash was looking like shingles. So today I went to walk-in clinic where the doc agreed it was shingles. I'm on antivirals three times a day.

Comment from: karat, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

500 mg of valacyclovir 3 times a day. I take it 6 a.m. 12 noon and 6 p.m. It’s very effective.

Comment from: holly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I got started on Tramadol right away, even before I left the clinic. I kept up on the pain meds to keep it under control so I could work a few hours a day, but I was exhausted. It took about 2 months to go away and then I got started on a stress vitamin that works with the adrenal glands. I felt better in a day and a half on the vitamins! Take our meds regularly and correctly, and do not stop even if you feel better. It is too debilitating to mess around with shingles.

Comment from: suebee, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I am a 67 years old. While on a cruise ship, I had severe burning pain in my right upper buttock area. I thought it was my lower back. I went to the ship doctor and she said it was a pinched nerve and gave me Prednisone and pain meds. After returning home, I went to see my Doctor. The pain was getting worse at night, waking me up and such. My doctor was going to give me an injection and then saw the rash. He prescribed Valacyclovir Hcl 3 times a day for a week. He also gave me pain meds. This is the seventh day and the pain is gone, though I continue to feel tired and the rash has not gone away.

Comment from: Barbara, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: November 26

My husband has had post herpetic neuralgia for approximately 19 years. He was given the usual medication within 72 hours, but to no avail. There have never been blisters or rash but the attacks of pain are severe. He has tried Zostrix, but cannot stand the burning. About 10 years ago I asked him to describe the pain in detail, and he said it was like severe sunburn. The only thing I had was 'Sun-Shades 30plus' which is a sunscreen lotion made in Australia, so applied that. The relief was very quick. I apply it very firmly to painful site, better than light application which only exacerbates the pain. It gives relief but doesn't stop the attacks happening.

Comment from: thomas, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: August 13

I recently had a squamous cell cancer removed from my cheek. I was a lifeguard in high school and played a lot of golf until I was 65. Never even thought about skin cancer. Then it started as what looked like a pimple. Then it grew over a two week period into a pea size lump. Went to the doctor who diagnosed it as a skin cancer and had it cut off. If it does not go away, go to your doctor.

Comment from: Skin cancar, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 18

I have a scar on my right cheek from a large mole removed when I was three years old. It was itchy and the bumpy red part bled when scratched. Turns out it was Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Comment from: Kelly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

I just had squamous cell cancer removed from the front of my left leg. I usually got one bad sunburn each year as a child and for two summers managed a dark tan as an adult. I have been religious about sunscreen once I became a mother and was amazed that this spot was actually cancer. I have no family history and wasn't even concerned about the red mark I had above my left knee. It was only by chance I saw a dermatologist for an entirely different mole and mentioned my leg when she asked if there was anything else I may want her to examine. It was only the fact that the mark remained over a year that made me show her. Get everything checked. You never know for sure if you don't get things checked!

Comment from: Sharon, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

I had a carcinoma removed under my eye last November and have noticed I have another one on my neck. It’s scary. I'm 43, and I have fair skin. Mine started out as a raised red lump. I’m off to the doctor to get it cut out again.

Comment from: Lynda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 17

Young people please stay out of the tanning beds and use sunscreen religiously! I am 61, redheaded, and I am fighting squamous cell carcinomas as fast as my surgeon can cut them out. My legs and arms have numerous spots as I am typing. I had three biopsies on my legs done yesterday. I have had over 50+ spots surgically removed and it’s far too numerous to count the places that have been frozen. My skin is HORRIBLE. Thank goodness I did keep my face covered during those days when I was tanning.

Comment from: Carol, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I am a 63-year-old woman who had my first case of shingles about 5 years ago. I have had it in 2 places. The first place was on my rib cage. There was pain so severe I couldn't wear a bra and got in to the doctor fast enough that I was on a med before breaking out and prevented that. Still, the pain was severe enough for several weeks that I went without a bra, wearing t-shirts and roomy jumpers to work. I went through about 3 events like this, succeeding at no blisters each time.

Comment from: Chicagoan, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

My pain started as a focal point just below my breast 2 months ago. It was intermittent, and escalated to what I thought was angina. My cardiac work up was normal. Despite telling healthcare providers that the pain started just beneath my breast, it was ignored. 2 weeks later the pain escalated and spread to my back, just under the shoulder blade. No rash, which is rare, but I received a diagnoses of postherpetic neuralgia. The neurontin makes me rather sleepy, and lidocaine patches help somewhat, not entirely. I don't care to take narcotics. It is too late for the shingles vaccine. I wonder if there are other treatment options.

Comment from: ldunlapmd, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 08

As a physician, I started my wife on Valtrex as soon as possible after diagnosis. The dozen lesions she had made the situation unclear at first. Pain was the main complaint, but weakness, intermittent low grade fever, nausea and occasional vomiting were also present and have persisted for 3 weeks so far (the rash is now crusted or fading). We tried a number of topical ointments plus oral narcotics for the intense pain on her lower right abdomen. She seemed to get the most relief from a topical anesthetic cream. We used over the counter "Nupercaine". There is some risk in developing skin sensitivity to the anesthetic so most MDs don't suggest this. My wife would tell you that it is worth any risk.

Comment from: Hurtful, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

Hello I too have experienced shingles. I went to the ER last week and they couldn't find out what was wrong. I had severe pain under my left breast and around to my middle back they gave me a shot and some inflammatory pills but didn't help went to the doctor two days later just to find out I had shingles. The pain is terrible and I don't wish this on anyone. This is my 7th day and I only wish it was over.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

I just broke out with the blisters and rash less than a week ago. So far I am affected on the right side of my face, along the jaw and neck and also around my right ear. So far my treatment, Valtrex and antibiotics, don't seem to be helping much. The rash and blisters are continuing to spread. Calamine lotion helps some with the itching.

Comment from: tayc, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

In early December I had these piercing pains, like lightning bolts in my left ear. Thought I could tough it out but eventually went to the clinic, convinced I had just an ear infection until a couple days later a rash appeared on my face, on the left side only. I also had several ulcers appear in my mouth and the tongue swelled enough I had to puree my food. Went back to the clinic and they gave me acyclovir five times a day.

Comment from: Ginny0804, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 11

When the rash first began, I used Desitin ointment (for diaper rash!) and it was a real lifesaver. Even though I had it on my back, side and front, the only area I had a problem with the blisters filling with liquid and not drying up quickly was where my breast touched my torso (air couldn't get to that area as well as the open areas). I highly recommend Desitin at the first signs of the rash.

Comment from: Sea Change, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I am a 50-year-old female who had chickenpox at five. After a vacation day of hard walking in the rain (about 11 miles), I felt a burning across the midsection of my back on the right side, and within hours presented with the signature rash. I was heading for home by plane that day, so I didn't see a doctor until about 40 hours after the rash appeared. I was put on antiviral medications immediately, and so far the rash has neither spread nor worsened where it is. I think mine must be a mild case, but the burning/itching sensation is uncomfortable to very uncomfortable at times. I have found that soaking in a bath of Epsom salts seems to totally take the pain away while in the bath and for an hour or so afterward.

Comment from: vivianavickie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 14

I had shingles about 6 years ago, so I knew the beginning symptoms. When the tingling started a few days ago, I began to drink several cups of white tea each day. (Along with green and black tea, a great antioxidant). I have also been taking zinc supplements, which are critical for the immune system, and all of this seems to have prevented the rash, so far! The tingling and the skin sensitivity have disappeared, so now I am waiting to see if any rash breaks out.

Comment from: eMCee2, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 30

It has been over a year since I was "attacked" by shingles. One side of my face, scalp, neck and throat were affected. I was sitting at my PC, just as now, when I suddenly felt hot. My air-conditioner was humming away. The room was cool. I became hotter. I went to the bathroom, thinking that a splash of cool water would be especially refreshing. In my haste to relieve this discomfort didn't bother to turn-on the light. I cupped water in my hands, put the liquid to my face, upon attempting a refill, I noticed flesh and a "gooey" substance in my hands. On with the lights! Half of my face looked similar to the moon! There's much more to relate, but; I wonder if people my age (60) realize how terrible this ailment can be?! Get the shot!

Comment from: Deb, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 09

I am in my fourth week of the shingles. I started out with excruciating pain in my back and midriff. I went to emergency and they thought it was gallbladder problems because I had no outbreak. I was put on hydrocodone and saw my doctor about 4 days later. I was going nuts with pain. Then I broke out in hives and they figured out it was shingles. I took Valtrex and prednisone and something starting with a G.I am now rash free but am still on the hydros and 2 pain patches a day. What a terrible virus!!! I can't wait to be pain free.

Comment from: Josh, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 26

I recently came across a bulge on my lower right pelvic area and assumed it was a hernia... A day later I developed a rash on the same side but on my buttocks. Turns out it wasn't a hernia and instead a swollen lymph node. Also before any of these symptoms appeared I had lost a great amount of sensation in both feet and lower legs. I have just started treatment: Valtrex and methylprednosolone, and am hoping for a speedy recovery, my best wishes to the others out there with this condition.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

My symptons started with pain in my right thigh. Thinking that I had overused a machine at the gym I thought I had pulled a muscle. Then I thought about sciatic pain. Five days later I broke out in a quarter size rash on my hip bone so I went to the doctor and she said I had shingles. It is the most painful thing I had ever had. I am taking antiviral medication and pain pills. I broke out from my hip almost to the knee from front to back. Wearing clothes is difficult and the buring fire and itching pain in terrrible.

Comment from: kylene, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I am into my 4th week of shingles the doctor has given me pain medicine and it has helped but my nerve endings feel like there on fire. I have been cutting stems from an aloe plant and putting the juices on the burning places. What a relief because it can be applied as often as needed. Try it out. Without it, I would have gone nuts. Good Luck!

Comment from: mcthumber, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 06

After a day of high fever, I noticed a golf ball sized rash under my right armpit and, thinking it might be a tick bite, went immediately to the doctor. He diagnosed shingles and put me on a weeklong dosage of Valtrex. That seemed to stop the progress of shingles as I did not suffer any itchy rash or chicken pox pustules. The original rash did dissipate and eventually became a sunburn-like redness around my right side from breastbone to backbone. It is now 6 weeks after treatment and some redness persists and small itchy welts appear and disappear in a day. I'm assuming it is mild shingles running its course but it is not exceedingly itchy or painful as I have heard other shingles sufferers mention.

Comment from: DTH, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I was just diagnosed with shingles and placed on Valtrex. I am presently at home from work due to the possibility of giving others chickenpox.

Comment from: Carrot top, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 15

Well, I had 6 basal cells burned off (frozen off) top of my hand. Now I have a bad skin infection, red, sore, and very itchy. I have been getting 3-10 burned off every six months. I have been going for over 5 years now, I am only 45 now. I am Scottish descent, red hair, freckles, and blue eyes. My largest basal cell under the skin on the back of my neck, resulted in 11 stitches. That was not pleasant to get done.

Comment from: skin cancer, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 09

I have a scar on my right cheek from a large mole removed when I was three years old. It was itchy and the bumpy red part bled when scratched. Turns out it was Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Comment from: kbooboo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I'm 50 years old and had my first skin cancer removed via MOHS surgery when I was only 32. Ive had MOHS surgery twice since then and have used Effudex on my face and am currently using on my back. I loved the sun and as a child had numerous sun burns with quarter size blisters. Our parents didn't know the effects the sun would have years later. Then as an adult, I was tanning bed goddess! They should be banned. So now I'm paying the price for wanting to look "healthy"....Take care of your skin.

Comment from: lforward, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

I have had basal cell carcinoma and it was removes twice. Once by the curette and once by surgery due to where it was at. It was in the corner of my eye and had to be removed surgically.

Comment from: patspix, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I had a squamous cell cancer the size of a fifty cent piece cut off my leg last summer, now I have two smaller ones, one on my cheek and one on my chest. My doc is cutting them off this Wed. He biopsied them last week. Oh well, I am paying for the sun worshiping as a kid! I have had at least twenty Basel cell cancers froze off but the squameous is another story!

Comment from: RebeKen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I'm sitting here with the remnants of basal cell on my left calf. The lesion itself started out as half the size of a pencil eraser. After biopsy, it was eraser-sized. Now it is quarter-sized, if you count the very-red, ring that surrounds it. I'm soaking and using antibiotics, but, as the doctor warned - because I smoke - I may be having an issue of healing. The doctor says extremities are the hardest healing anyway.

Comment from: Depressed, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

I am a breast cancer survivor, and now I am told I have basal carcinoma on my cheek. I have fair skin but not blond [natural] never stay in the sun because I was told it was not a good idea when one had chemo. It scares me more than breast cancer, I know it is irrational, but to have a scar in my face is hard to face. I had a biopsy and now I will have more surgery. There is no cancer of any kind in my family. I do not like beaches, pools; I am an indoor lady that likes books.

Comment from: drgrattan, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: March 01

I recently treated an 89 year old female who suffered from ‘shingles’ for approximately 4 months. Her physician told her that there was no cure. She awoke several times a night to put soothing lotion on her body. She was run down from lack of sleep and had open lesions on her side and abdomen. After the first treatment she reported that her itching and pain had stopped. Her shingles were treated every other day for 8 days (4 treatments). Her lesions had healed completely and treatment was terminated. A follow up after 10 months found that no post herpetic neuralgia had developed and there was no recurrence of the shingles.

Comment from: dan, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I was diagnosed with shingles about two years ago and after about a year of frequent outbreaks, they all of the sudden stopped for around eight months. I just recently had a new case and after a full treatment of Acyclavir everything went away but returned within five days. So, I'm on another regiment of medication and I hope this wipes it out. I am planning on seeing my doctor about daily suppressive treatment. My outbreaks occur on my upper buttocks in the exact same area every time. I have noticed that on my last outbreak that I may have wrap around effects on my front side. I hope this is not the case for the future.

Comment from: girvan1234, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 29

I felt the sensations on my chest leading round to my back then on day 5, came the rash. I'm taking Famvir for the virus and Vicodin for pain. Second day I over medicated on the Vicodin and experienced dizziness and episodes of "dry heaves". I did this on an empty stomach hence the throw-up was yellow bile. NOTE: I had the Shingles Shot two years ago! This is day 8 and the pain is minimal but the blistering is increasing.

Comment from: Inga, 55-64 Published: February 24

Application of Brookskin liniment is great for the neuro-pain that follows shingles. It's inexpensive and almost instantly effective in removing the pain. You have to reapply several times a day.

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