What Is the Cause of Shingles Pain?


Quick Answer

Varicella zoster virus causes shingles pain. This virus also causes chickenpox. When a person recovers from chickenpox, varicella zoster virus does not fully clear from the body but remains dormant in the nerve tissue. In this inactive state, the virus causes no symptoms; however, years after, particularly if the immune system weakens, this virus reactivates and moves along nerve paths, causing shingles, as detailed by MedicineNet.

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Full Answer

Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash. It appears as blisters and can occur anywhere in the body, but it is common on either the right or left side of the torso. Shingles is very painful and develops in individuals who were previously diagnosed with chickenpox. Varicella zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox, becomes active after years of dormancy in the nervous system, causing shingles, explains Mayo Clinic.

Varicella zoster virus can spread from an infected person to another through direct contacts with the fluid from a blistering rash; however, this virus is only contagious after the blisters appear and cannot spread through sneezing or coughing. Moreover, a person with no history of chickenpox may not develop shingles immediately even if he comes in direct contact with an active shingles rash, but he can develop chickenpox. This person may develop shingles in the future, notes MedicineNet.

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