Health & Fitness

Post Herpetic Neuralgia Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is very common in people who have had shingles. If you have had a shingles outbreak, there is a 30% chance of developing PHN.

This is a case of burning nerve pain in your face, head, and extremities that comes from shingles.

About half of the people who have PHN find that it severely affects their quality of life.

The good news post herpetic neuralgia treatment can help. Here is what you need to know about post herpetic neuralgia pain.


Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a chronic pain condition that occurs after a person has recovered from shingles, a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The virus remains in a dormant state in the body after chickenpox and can reactivate later in life, leading to shingles and PHN.

The main cause of PHN pain is thought to be damage to nerve fibers caused by the virus during the initial illness. However, other factors such as age, weakened immune system, and nerve inflammation may also play a role in the development of PHN. The severity and duration of the initial shingles infection can also contribute to the likelihood of developing PHN pain.


Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash on the skin. PHN is the lingering pain that persists even after the rash has healed. The main symptom of PHN are the following:

Pain That Lasts Three Months or Longer

One of the most distressing symptoms of PHN is pain that lasts three months or longer. This type of pain, known as post-herpetic neuralgia pain, is often described as burning, sharp, or shooting. Unlike the temporary pain experienced during a shingles outbreak, post-herpetic neuralgia pain can persist for months or even years after the initial infection.

This pain can greatly affect a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily activities and causing emotional distress. It is important for those experiencing prolonged pain after shingles to seek medical attention and treatment to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

Not Being Able to Stand Light Touch

One of the most common symptoms of PHN is the inability to stand light touch, also known as allodynia. This means that even a light brush or touch against the affected area can cause severe pain. It is a constant reminder of the nerve damage caused by shingles and can greatly impact one’s daily life.

Activities such as getting dressed, being intimate, or even taking a shower can become unbearable. As such, managing this symptom is crucial for those suffering from post herpetic neuralgia to improve their quality of life.

Itching or Loss of Feeling

Another common symptom of this condition is itching or loss of feeling. The itching sensation is often described as constant, intense, and difficult to relieve. Patients may also experience a loss of sensation in the affected area, making it difficult to discern between hot and cold temperatures or to feel touch.

This can lead to accidental burns or injuries. These symptoms can greatly impact a person’s quality of life and may even cause them to withdraw from daily activities.


The treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia pain aims to provide relief from the discomfort and improve the individual’s quality of life. This typically involves a combination of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and opioids.

It also includes non-drug therapies like heat and cold therapy, acupuncture, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Consultation from experts like those from Interventional Orthopedics of Washington is also a good choice.

Additionally, some lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, may also help in reducing the pain. With proper treatment, individuals can manage their post-herpetic neuralgia pain effectively and live a more comfortable life.


Unfortunately, the pain associated with PHN can have numerous complications, making it even more difficult to manage. Here are some of them:


Post Herpetic Neuralgia Pain is a chronic condition that can lead to complications such as depression. It is a common misconception that pain is only physical; however, chronic pain can also have a significant impact on one’s mental health.

Many patients suffering from Post Herpetic Neuralgia Pain find their quality of life severely affected by the constant pain, leading to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. This can result in depression, which can further worsen the pain and create a vicious cycle.

Trouble Sleeping

The pain caused by PHN can be intense and constant, making it difficult for individuals to fall or stay asleep. This can lead to fatigue, irritability, and a decrease in overall quality of life. Additionally, medications used to treat PHN pain can also cause drowsiness or insomnia, further exacerbating sleep issues.

The lack of quality sleep can also affect one’s physical health, as it plays a crucial role in immune function and pain management. Therefore, addressing and managing trouble sleeping in patients with PHN is essential for their overall well-being.


In addition to pain, one of the most common complications of PHN is tiredness. This is due to the constant discomfort and disruption of sleep that often comes with living with chronic pain. The fatigue can also be exacerbated by the physical and emotional toll of managing this condition.

As a result, individuals with PHN often experience a decreased quality of life and may struggle to maintain their daily routine due to extreme tiredness. Seeking proper treatment and managing the symptoms of PHN can help alleviate tiredness and improve overall well-being.

Not Feeling as Hungry as Usual

Many individuals may experience a loss of appetite or trouble eating as they become consumed with managing their pain and discomfort. Additionally, the medications commonly prescribed to treat post-herpetic neuralgia can also cause a decrease in appetite as a side effect.

Not feeling as hungry as usual can lead to inadequate nutrition and potential weight loss, which can further impact a person’s overall health and well-being. It is important for those experiencing post-herpetic neuralgia pain to address these complications and seek proper treatment to manage their symptoms and maintain a healthy diet.

All About Post Herpetic Neuralgia Pain

In conclusion, post herpetic neuralgia pain is a debilitating condition that can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. Recognizing the causes and symptoms of this condition is crucial in seeking proper treatment.

Whether it’s through medication, therapy, or alternative remedies, it’s important to address and manage this pain. Don’t suffer in silence, seek help and take the first step towards a better quality of life.

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Johnson Mack

Mack's a passionate wordsmith with a love for all things creative. As an avid explorer of the written realm, he weaves words into captivating tapestries of information and imagination. With a background in literature and a heart that beats for storytelling, Mack brings a unique blend of insight and eloquence to his writing.

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