Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

THE FOLLOWING ARE SYMPTOMS AND CONDITIONS COMMONLY TREATED BY THE WASHINGTON ACUPUNCTURE CENTER.

SHINGLES (Herpes Zoster)

Herpes Zoster is a virus considered to be the same as the one causing chicken pox. After a person has had chicken pox (varicella), usually in childhood, the virus is thought to lie dormant in his body until years later when he is in a weakened condition (from malnutrition, or infection, injury or emotional strain) it attacks a dorsal nerve root. The trigeminal nerve supplying the face and the thoracic nerves are the ones usually involved but only on one side of the body.

The first symptom is pain in the involved area. Then pustules similar to those of chicken pox appear there. Recovery may be almost complete within a month for people who are in general good health, but some people, especially the elderly with debilitating diseases, may continue to have severe nerve root pain for years.

Acupuncture can greatly reduce the severity of herpes zoster symptoms and relieve persistent residual pain. The pain is usually gone by the time a patient has had six acupuncture treatments.

No drugs have been found effective for this condition. Certain nutrients and vitamins seem to be helpful.