Shingles is the common name for herpes zoster. This is a condition that only occurs in people who have had chicken pox.
It is caused when something reactivates the chicken pox virus, which remains in an inactive, or dormant, state after you recover from chicken pox. We don’t know what makes the virus act up, but stress and a weakened immune system may be involved.
Shingles can be a horrible disease. It causes a rash, and sometimes comes with excruciating pain. The virus emerges from a nerve in the spine, and the rash and pain often appear in sort of a band on one side of the chest, or on the abdomen, neck or face. Shingles can go into the mouth and eyes as well.
The symptoms can be extensive and may do permanent damage. In frail or elderly people, the pain may persist for years.
The good news is that while some symptoms may linger, the disease usually goes away by itself, and you won’t get it again. Because of this, doctors sometimes just treat the symptoms and not the underlying disease. Not knowing your symptoms, I can’t recommend any specific treatments.
I do hope you have been to the doctor for this. Some symptoms of shingles can be very dangerous and should be promptly treated. Also, shingles can sometimes be treated with anti-viral medications — if it is diagnosed early on.
While there isn’t any scientific proof of this, I have heard (anecdotally) that acupuncture is a very helpful therapy for alleviating the pain of shingles.