Thursday, April 11, 2013

Treatment for Shingles – How to get Pain Relief?

Firstly, I’d like to say a big hello to everyone out there that was patient enough to read my blogs over the years. I haven’t been around for a while as you may have noticed. It’s great to be back blogging again.
Today’s blog is a little off the topic of weight loss. The reason being, I think this is a very important health topic that needs to be addressed, as there is a lot of confusion surrounding it.  I’m talking about the health condition known as shingles. I’m sure a lot of people out there cringe at the sound of that illness, especially those that have suffered from it at some point in their lives.

The occurrence of shingles is rare among children and is more prevalent in adults. Shingles is a more severe form of chicken pox and occurs in people that may have already had chicken pox earlier in life. Let’s first talk about what shingles is and what are the actual symptoms.
These are the symptoms of shingles according to web MD:
-Pain or a bruised feeling – usually on one side of your face or body -- often along with a fever, chills, headache, or upset stomach.

-Tingling, itching, or prickling skin and an inflamed, red skin rash several days later.
-A group or long strip of small, fluid-filled blisters.

-Deep burning, searing, aching, or stabbing pain, which may occur once in a while or last a long time.   
My mother in fact contracted shingles a couple of weeks ago and the affected area is on the right side of her head. She had flu like symptoms and a severe migraine-type headache that just wouldn’t go away and later blisters appeared. She then went to her family doctor who identified it as shingles and gave her a prescription for anti-viral medication. 

Instead of her condition improving it steadily got worse, the biggest problem being the chronic headache. We went back to the doctor and she said that there was not much more she could offer but suggested we try alternative medicine. I had heard of a practitioner in Chinese medicine that had a good reputation and although my mother was skeptical she agreed to go as her condition was worsening.
We went to see him the next day and he suggested that acupuncture would be a very important part of the treatment. Then the treatment began: He began inserting the needles into various parts of her body while she was lying down on her back and was then told to relax for 10-15 minutes or so with the needles in place.  When that was over, he gave her some cream to apply to the affected area (head). I believe this cream or ointment was called Capsaicin which is contains red pepper extract which is believed to contain properties that relive lingering pain from shingles. He also gave her a bottle of Chinese herb pills that he said will also help relieve the pain.

On the way home from the practitioner’s clinic my mother said that the pain began to sooth immediately after the acupuncture was applied and that she felt much better at that time. A few hours later she said that the headache was still there but was significantly decreased as was the case immediately following the treatment. That was yesterday as I am writing this post now. Today she said that her condition has further improved and there are fairly long periods during which she feels no pain at all. A follow-up treatment was made for tomorrow but she says that if her condition continues to improve she may choose to cancel the appointment (at the practitioner’s request by the way). 
At this point we can somewhat conclude that a combination of Western and Eastern medicine may be a better all-around treatment for shingles if of course using the results from one person is sufficient evidence to use it as a generalization. At any rate, it certainly cannot be ignored or judged as insignificant evidence.

Well, I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow and what my mother decides to do. I’ll keep you posted.

By John Tiniakos

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