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How can you relieve post-shingles pain?

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Treatments for post-shingles pain, also called postherpetic neuralgia, include lidocaine patches, topical herbal oils and creams, antidepressants and opioids, according to WebMD. Following an outbreak of shingles, chronically inflamed nerves can cause significant pain for months or even years after the initial illness.

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The risk of postherpetic neuralgia increases with age, reports WebMD. With aging, the body's natural immunities weaken, increasing both the possibility of contracting shingles and the likelihood of delayed healing. About 20 percent of shingles patients over the age of 70 develop lingering pain. Postherpetic neuralgia can significantly affect quality of life for these older patients.

The incidence of postherpetic neuralgia is increased if the rash appears on the face instead of other body parts, indicates Mayo Clinic. Pain is often significant enough to affect the sufferer's ability to sleep or eat comfortably. In addition to nerve pain, which is described as burning or shooting in nature, shingles can produce itching, sensitivity to touch, weakness and nerve paralysis that persist for months or even years after the initial rash subsides.

In 2014, Science Daily reported on a new drug that shows promise for helping patients suffering from severe postherpetic neuralgia. The drug, called EMA401, is undergoing clinical trials, as of 2015.

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