SPINAL CRIPPLING DUE TO SHINGLES

A POX ON HERPES ZOSTER

by Helen Borel,RN,PhD

I'm reaching out for any medical, neurologic or other interested individuals to provide me with information I cannot seem to locate on the internet...not even at any professional medical website...on the far-reaching ravages of Herpes zoster (hereafter referred to as H.zoster). Unfortunately, it is commonly called "Shingles," a foolish name for a vicious viral infection of the nervous system!!!

A bit of background: H.zoster, aka Varicella zoster is the virus (seemingly mild in childhood) which causes CHICKEN POX (medically known as varicella)...that itchy rash of childhood that goes away and confers immunity...or so you were told.

PHYSICIANS HAVE NOT BOTHERED TO EDUCATE AT-RISK PATIENTS ON THE SEVERITY OF HERPES ZOSTER INFECTION AND ON THE HORRIBLE PAIN THAT ACCOMPANIES IT

Sadly, until very recently, no one has bothered educating the public about its hibernation in the spinal cord for decades...only to see it emerge in vicious assaults on middle-aged and elder individuals' nervous systems, wreaking physical havoc and excrutiating pain requiring months, even years of narcotics and varied other theoretically-useful drugs like anti-epileptics, low-dose antidepressants, and other drugs thought to be helpful against what is known as "neuropathic pain".

Frequently, the viral rash, then the severe acute pain is located in the chest area, sometimes in the eye (a dangerous site) and sometimes in the brain (yet more dangerous). Although it has occurred at other dermatome (nerve distribution in specific skin areas) sites, such as the arms.

Patients are often left with permanent nerve damage, such as paresthesias (pins and needles) and varied levels of pain and functional disabilities when limbs are involved. Scarring also occurs. Additionally, there is atrophy (shrinking) of affected muscle areas, such as loss of tissue in the hand muscles and compromised function of that appendage.

Given the kind of acute and severely painful viral illness this is, so painful it causes the patient to be bedridden, particularly during the weeks of acute infection and evolution of the rash...that even narcotics can't fully pierce the pain level...you would think the medical community, particularly internists, primary care physicians, family doctors, nurse practitioners, virologists, infection disease specialists, geriatricians and regional and local health departments would have long ago mounted a regular, consistent campaign warning mature Americans about the need to protect their age-related waning immune function from this onslaught by reducing stress and other prophylactic actions to ward off this viral viper.

Not only that...the subsequent chronic illness that overtakes the patient, once the acute phase has passed, is so debilitating that, again you'd think the medical community would have long ago done a compassionate job of warning the public about its risks and what to look for - because early treatment can ward off the worst of H.zoster. But no has bothered to care. This is a nightmare for the victims of H.zoster and a medically professional shame.

DESPITE AVAILABILITY OF AN ANTI-ZOSTER VACCINE IN THE PAST 3 TO 5 YEARS, RARELY HAVE AT-RISK ELDERS BEEN ROUTINELY INFORMED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES BY GETTING VACCINATED

What is more...in the past 3 to 5 years, there has been an anti-zoster vaccine available for elders and other at-risk groups (such as people with HIV and other immune-compromising conditions). Yet, it seems, physicians aren't bothering to educate their at-risk patients, nor are they informing them of the available zoster vaccine which is thought to either prevent shingles altogether, or at the very least, lessen its severity and markedly reduce the inevitable pain levels...and possibly prevent postherpetic neuralgia altogether.

CHRONIC, CRIPPLING DISABILITIES DUE TO ZOSTER-INDUCED SPINAL NERVE AND PERIPHERAL NERVE DAMAGE REQUIRE DIRE RESEARCH ATTENTION   N O W!!!

I've widely researched H.zoster (HZ) for its effects on the spinal cord and can find zero information on this subject via the online site of the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, and multiple other websites which liberally discuss PHN (postherpetic neuralgia), as though this were the main AND (often believed) THE ONLY complication following acute Varicella zoster/shingles affliction.

What is needed is up-to-date knowledge of HZ's long-term/chronic effects on the spinal cord and its implications for normal standing, ambulation,posture, etc.

I'm aware of cases of crippled walking, ambulation problems together with postherpetic neuralgia more than a year following the acute infection. But can't find specific, and detailed, information on spinal cord involvement after the acute H.zoster attack...nor how to treat it.

I believe it is a neurologic condition due to viral damage to the spinal cord that should be aggressively treated with some kind of physiologic therapy(ies) by a neurologist. But I can't find any online data addressing this very serious Post-Zoster complication.

Also, I must point out (despite the widespread data mentioning only certain affected sites) that Herpes Zoster infection does not only attack the chest, the trigeminals, or the eye, and sometimes the brain. IT APPARENTLY ALSO ATTACKS THE STELLATE GANGLION SITE...with resulting bilateral limb involvement (arms)...and subsequently, bilateral leg and lower back dysfunction.

Again, I am not only talking of pain, I AM TALKING ABOUT CRIPPLED POSTURE, CRIPPLED WALKING, DIFFICULTY STANDING, SITTING,etc., plus PHN pain upon these (formerly) normal functions.

If anyone reading this has a clue about this subject and is  able to provide me with detailed specifics addressing spinal cord damage due to the post-acute stages of H.zoster, I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks in advance for any insights, experiences, knowledge, direction. If you wish, you may respond to me at medical-healthalerts@earthlink.net 

 

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Comments 24 comments

DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

This doesn't involve the spinal chord, but I had a herpes zoster infection that involved the left side of my head about five years ago. It hurt so bad I couldn't sleep. Heavy use of an antiviral medicine took care of it after about two months.

The doctor was worried about my left eye, because it involved the nerves on the left side of my head close to it.

There seems to be some permanent damage to a nerve on the upper part of my left ear, but I can live with that.


Creativita 7 years ago

Dear DiamondRN:

Thanx for your answer. So sorry you had to suffer like that with H.zoster.

I know what you must have gone through. And I know, also, about ongoing nerve damage-related pain and loss of prior healthy way of life after shingles.

Also, as a pharmacist, I am sure you come across many patients who are suffering during the acute phase -- when pain specialists and neurologists, et al., are trying hypothetical treatments that may or may not help, e.g., anti-seizures, antidepressants, topical lidocaine, narcotics, etc. ad infinitum...also antivirals.

Naturally, you know that the best treatment is prophylaxis, to not get the disease at all. And now that there IS a vaccine, it's inexcusable that the medical community is not mounting a vigorous campaign to routinely offer it to at-risk millions. Nor to have ongoing publicity campaigns to educate the public about this viscious virus and the incurable nerve damage that results. (Perhaps your pharmacy could have an H.zoster education sheet for all your customers to pick up when they arrive for other needs?)

Thanx again for reading my writings. Helen/Creativita


Pam Runnels 6 years ago

Hi! My husband started having loss of motor in his left side and is now effecting his right side. The Docotrs are puzzled. He is now unable to walk on his own and has been the hospital for 3 weeks. They have been treating whatever this is whith steroids and Globulin, without any significant change. Could shingles be effecting his spinal cord? He has loss of muscle, spasms and incontinence. Please help us!!! Pam Runnels


Mammajenny 6 years ago

I just this morning saw a neurologist who suspects H.zoster has invaded my spinal column. I've suffered 5 shingles outbreaks in the past 2 years and lots of lots of PHN and TN, the last episode of which lasted 11 days. 11 days of unrelenting pain in the left side of my head. I have all the symptoms of MS, yet my final diagnosis may be PHN!! I am starting Lyrica and will learn of other possible treatments when my test results are in. If I get any weaker, I will not be able to get of bed. I am in my 40's. I am way too young to be this incapacitated.


Sandra Vanantwerp 6 years ago

I was diagnosed with shingles on the face, ear and in the moutn. Doctors put me on the antiviral medicatioon , along with Prednizone . Took those and seemed to very little result. They put me on neurotiin and that didn't do anything but give me bad dreams and major headaches. Took me off that and put me on Amitripoline. Still have some pain in ear and headaches, but now I have terrible pain in my back. Can't stand for very long or stay on my feet for long either. The pain in by back is terrible. I see a neuroligist the end of the month. Hopefully I will have some answers soon. Any suggestions would help.


Vaughan  5 years ago

My father is 78 has CLL Lukaemia.He developed Shingles a month ago following immunization for the Flu Virus. We have our doubts over whether he should have been given this vaccine given his compromized immunity. He is still recovering in hospital at the moment and is also fighting a chest infection at the same time. I hope with encouragement and professional support, that he will regain strength and that his general mobility and speech will return.


Kathy Sebby 4 years ago

I have had several h.zoster outbreaks & PHN. Have an implanted spinal cord stimulator . Was bedridden for 3 years. Lots of different Meds for pain tried. Docs are not educated enough on the permanent devastation. This is just a fraction of my story. Am now told I have fibromyalgia was treated for 2 years for RA. All of this craziness started afyer shingles!


Ashley 4 years ago

My Grandmother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer recently. Shortly after, she was also diagnosed with the H.Zoster virus. Within the last 48 hour (only a week after she was diagnosed) she has lost most of her motor skills. She cannot speak properly, or even walk on her own. It seems as though she is in extreme amounts of pain. She has been in the hospital for over a day now, and the Doctors have not even suggested it's from the "Shingles!" They just keep saying they don't know what's causing it. I have had a few others suggest it to me, and it makes complete sense....


Lee 4 years ago

I keep getting severe pain like shingles in my apine where my metl implants are. I have alot of piain anyway there, but now again I have the stabbling pain like aknife in my spine that also feels like an intense painful itching. I had shingles near my spine implants a year ago and I think its back. I have been taking valacyclover for many months already prior to this new shingles pain. I am on high dose opiods already and they arent helping much at all. The pain is really bad!! I am not even bothering to go in as the drs don't see 'bisters" so they give me Benadryl and don't beleieve its shingles. I have very predominant hardware implants sticking out of my back, and every movement causes severe pain, and I think that the constant irritation beings out shingles in my spine.


Sharon 4 years ago

I just read your article on line, I have suffered with shingles and have breakouts at least 3 times a year it has spread, the pins and needles to the opposite buttocks, the middle of my back in my spine, up to my ear and the edge of my nose, I have the nerve pain, excruciating, I have now vertigo and I am forgetting things that I have known all my life(i.e. my cousins name, things like that ) I am so scared, I read that when it reaches your head you can have a stroke and when it reaches the tip of your nose it has gotten to your optic nerve, I keep telling Drs that it is in my ear but they wont listen, no one will listen and when I call neurologists they say they don’t handle shingles and when I call other drs they say they don’t handle shingles and don’t know anyone who does, I need help, the vertigo happens almost every time I get out of bed and lasted for 2 days straight, I felt that I was falling even when I was laying down, I am so scared and don’t know what to do or who to call, do you have any ideas for me? Thank you for your article, now I know I am not the only person out here who feels the way I do. I also have fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, and cant take the meds they try because they make me obsessively thing of being dead, these doctors don't know anything about what this does to your life and really don't seem to care. Thank you for your time, Sharon


Jules 3 years ago

I had shingles when I was 26, it affected my left side, from my shoulder to under my arm and across the left side of my chest. I had niggling pain many times after and even went to see the doctor thinking I had a return of shingles but they said no. Six years ago when my youngest daughter was born I started getting such a severe pain in my left shoulder blade area that it was debilitating, I thought it was from carrying my baby with my left arm, the pain came and went and over time got significantly worse. I consulted the doctor many times, spent months upon months in physio, a year ago it was so bad I would just sit on the couch crying and was mixing codeine with alcohol as the pain was so bad. I was at the doctors again recently and asked her if the pain I was in could have any connection to having had shingles 21 years ago, she believes it is totally connected and now has me on NEUROTONTIN (Gabapentin), it helps with the pain but leaves me feeling very "spacey". I ran out whilst my daughter was in hospital recently and a side effect of stopping this drug with no weaning period is sleeplessness, I didn't sleep for 3 nights. I am now back on it but will be asking the doctor if there is a better alternative, it helps but the feeling of being disconnected is not good. C0nsidering where I was a year ago, unable to move my arm and really thinking life was not going to get any better, I think I can cope with the side effects for now.

Thank you for a great article, I hope one day we can find a way to be pain free as I wouldn't wish it on anyone.


Paul 3 years ago

Helen Borel, RN: Thanks for your article regarding shingles and also to those responding. I too have researched information on the subject in that I have had several attacks on my right buttocks and two at centerline of spine at lower back at top of buttocks crack. First of all I have self -diagnosed it as shingles since it fits the description and I thought it was something to deal with since I had chicken pocks at childhood. In March of 2012 I had some sort of lower back attack on lower spine in which the chiropractor told me it was a slight herniated disk L4 or L5 area. It seem to fit the symptoms: severe back pain, shooting intermittent pain down sciatic nerve to left foot, moved to entire buttocks area hurting and then moved to Pyroformas muscle in left butt cheek before finally going away. An analogy is that it was like a head cold where it progresses from headache to sneeze to cough to finally going away.

A couple of years ago I noticed that there were vaccinations, even held at local grocery stores, for the shingles virus and understand that it’s more for people who haven’t had an outbreak so I’m not sure how true that is or if it would help me/us that have already had several outbreaks.

I’m a scientist, 62 and don’t look my age in a 45 year old looking body. I exercise and do martial arts 5 times a week and I was surprised to hear that since I don’t recall doing anything to cause it. It took 1 ½ months to fully go away and I then decided to carefully monitor my workouts. Since then I have had several usual shingle outbreaks and they would go away in a week or so as usual; however, I had something similar to the mentioned March event again in late January 2013 but seems to be different and more severe with lower back pain and shooting sciatic pain down both legs. Again I don’t recall doing anything to hurt my back to cause any type of herniated disk.

I have been taking 2-3 Advil per day for last two weeks for relief and seems to work for a while until this hopefully goes away again so I can get back to a normal and carefully monitored exercise life. I chose to do more Internet research and now concerned that this may be something other then an occasional herniated disk event. This is what brings me to this article.

In other research I read that in Auyerveda health there are three body types. Pitta body types or people with Pitta imbalances get skin eruptions brought on by eating certain types of food and drink and stress that aggravate it and thus causes skin eruptions. Foods and drink that are spicy, salty and sour such as coffee, alcohol, yogurt, red meat, etc., as these types of foods “heat” the body and should be avoided or greatly reduced. Other foods and drink such as milk, butter, soft cheese, chicken, etc., should be taken instead as these types of foods “cool” the body. Google or search for Auyerveda Pitta body type for complete food lists on Internet.

I’m thinking that if shingles is present in our bodies then eating properly to keep from having outbreaks may be the helpful key to avoid further outbreaks and thus further potential nerve damage. I may be way off base here but I’m feeling like I’m closer to base then I think. I hope I’m wrong and that it’s just nerve pain mostly from a temporary herniated disk! More later. Paul P.


Bob 3 years ago

Interesting read from Paul. I have noticed that if I drink alcohol I do not cope well at all and have tingling or nerve spasums. Definitely on the right path f changing what you eat and drink. If you have any more tips would like to hear them. Bob


DanWil profile image

DanWil 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Thank you Helen for your article on "shingles', it was excellent. I agree with you, MUCH more should be done in the areas of informing the public and research. And doctors need far more knowledge on this debilitating virus. You can not appreciate your article enough, and these comments, until you personally EXPERIENCE this virus first hand.

My Shingles attack was in June 2012, the pictures here, http:www.prestonimages.com/shingles.htm , were taken a week after the attack.

As I lived some 25-miles from the VA Clinic, was bed-ridden from back spasms caused from a pinched nerve at L4-L5, I called the VA Clinic to get an email address to send some pictures to them so they could diagnose and prescribe meds for the shingles attack I was also going through. The VA Clinic would not accept pictures by email to diagnose the shingles and order prescription when the shingles attack started so I was forced to endure this for over a week before the clinic finally agreed to view the pictures, of course the damage had already been done since the prescription is suppose to be administered within the first 72-hours.

Talk about "PAIN", while the back spasms are to the extreme, the shingles pain was an addition I really did not need. The shingles pain was like hot coals laying on the skin, while itching at the same time. Because of the bulging disk at L4-L5 I had to lay on my right side to keep the nerve from constantly being pinched to give it time for the inflammation to go down over days, the same side where the shingles were. And the only way I was able to do this was to put raw honey all over the shingles area, grit my teeth, and just lay down on my side as fast as I could. Needless to say, the initial shock was a bit much!

Unfortunately because my back went into spasm at the same time I was not able to get out of bed, leave alone drive to town, go to the clinic to see a doctor, go to a pharmacy, and then drive the 25-miles back home. The back spasms are from a L4-L5 bulging disk which is pinching the nerve, and this makes the stomach muscles give way causing stomach to extend.

About a month later, and the blisters had healed, I developed pain in both my elbows similar to when you hit your "crazy-bone" (nerve) on something. This stayed with me 24/7 for nearly two weeks before leaving. But, about 3-months after the shingles attack, and include the present day (10-25-13), I have experienced pain in both arms from the shoulders to the wrists. This pain is constant, but most effects me throughout the night. Makes it very hard to get any quality sleep! The pain started out with the feeling of a nerve on fire deep in running down the center of the arms (arms palms up) which would keep firing like electrical shocks. The pain then changed to a more overall pulsating pain through out the muscles of the shoulders/upper and lower arms.

Last night I had a different experience with this situation, around 1:30 am I got up to write something down, and as I started to write I experienced an over whelming pain in both arms that caused me to drop my arms down in front of me. I was unable to do anything with my arms except let them hang. At fist I wondered if it was my heart causing this, but I could tell my heart was fine. I sat there for about 30 long seconds before the pain went away. It is now 15 hours later and no sign of that feeling again, and praying it does not come back.

I don't know how much longer I will have to live with this, but my wife and I are researching natural ways to get it under control.


Mark Lemmon 3 years ago

I had the first out break in right eye from there over the top my head down to the next... A year later, I believe its made its way to the mid back area giving me massive pain in all the muscles that are connected to the spine... It's a living hell. It's really tough to get pain relief from a doctor for this...

I do what every it takes to get some relief... The most effective thing is Cannabis Sativa along with Nureontin and Norco. The Advil sometimes as it tear up my stomach to take it every day...

Life is good sometimes by mostly it's pain and feeling sick...


Michelle 2 years ago

My neck broke out two weeks ago with a small patch of red welts which eventually blistered. No pain at first prior to the breakout. I went to an urgent care center, and they thought the rash looked like shingles. But because I didn't have the hallmark symptoms of pain, burning and/or itching, they were inconclusive. They sent me home with some Prednisone. A week later, I finally begin to feel pain over the area of the rash, deep in my ear and going into my jaw and even down my throat. Then a couple new blisters pop out in same area, this time on my ear. I go back to the urgent care center, and this time they say it's definitely shingles. I finally get the Valtrex meds, which I should have gotten the first time I came to the urgent care center, even though they only 50% suspected it was shingles. Rash starts to slowly fade, but I start experiencing scary symptoms a few days into the meds. I am getting pain and numbness in both arms and both legs. Then my right foot goes partially numb and stays partially numb. I am at the ER because of this, and I spend 16 "nerve-wracking" (no pun intended) hours there trying get to the bottom of this. MRI shows a slight non-specific periventricular white matter inflammation in the nerve tissue of the brain! The doctor says it's minor and should clear itself up, and also that it was so small, it wasn't even worth mentioning! Uh, excuse me, doc, did you know shingles if it gets to the brain, it can cause encephalitis, which is fatal if not taken care of? Not worth mentioning?Gee, I am glad you told me! Well, they send me home. Now this morning I wake up with my right hand partially numb, like someone gave it a shot of Novacaine! It's not 100% numb, but it's numb enough for me to notice that it's lost a good bit of feeling. Now I am wondering if its gone to the spine. No one has done a spinal tap on me yet! I hate the thought of having one done, but I hate even more the thought of becoming disabled and paralyzed because of some nasty virus!


mk 2 years ago

I had zoster last year after 3 weeks of severe pain I then got foot drop, severe muscle spasms on left leg and severe burning on right leg and buttocks. I have been tested for ms, no dx, nothing in spinal tap. I have been taking 1800 mg of neurontin and 40mg of baclofen and many many Dr's apointments.....still no dx, neuro now sending me to see a Rhuemotologist. I hate shingles-it has truly turned my life upsidedown.


StevenRay 2 years ago

After regular recurrance of numerous symptoms, I had a 'health' incident...which impressed me enough to lose 30 lbs. Then, my viral symptoms abated to about 5-10 noticibility, excepting for the tingling in the middle of the back/spine area. If I drink or eat excessively, or have

undue stress, then more shingles expression occur. I think fasting is a good way to go. Recent medical reports stated that fasting has been shown to reproduce the entire immune system in fasting cases of 3 days. Most of us can't do that regularly, per se, but be advised: Viral emergence is dependent upon body conditions. You can choose to be very healthy...or else, default to be...very sick. I also recommend 2 hour long exercise periods, if possible. I lift weights, hike and bike...at age 59. Also yogic stretching and meditation are important, as shingles is a neural dis-ease. Living with shingles is what we are faced with. One path is to become ultra-healthy, fit and in shape, to keep the viral emergence at a minimum. Last week, during a family/friend stressful period, I drank and ate more than I should. Result: Viral emergence...but recognizing this, I imediately started to starve the virus again with a fast, only 1000 calorie days, no more than 2 drinks.

Within 48 hours, plus the exercise...I am fairly back to normal, excepting the tingling in the mid back spine area, which is not traumatic. Good luck to all in your efforts, because, if you do not try hard enough, shingles will indeed overcome...

Steven


unknown 2 years ago

Yes this is a very painful depressing disease that most doctors don't want diagnosis let alone treat .I have had it since I was a kid and I remember waking up to my eyes barely opening due to crust from the infection in my eyes . Now ad an adult I have developed growths under both eye lids. I suffer from server spinal pain .as I was growing older with this disease doctors has given me wrongful diagnosis .anyway I have the on my brain which presses on the nerves at times I find it hard to staying awake I hate living with this


Christina 2 years ago

I developed my first outbreak of shingles at age 32, a little over a year and a half ago. The began on my left inner thigh and wrapped around my leg towards my knee and up around my buttock to my sciatic nerves. It began after my 15 hr drive to Florida for a job interview a month before I moved myself and my two children down here for good. I had my second outbreak a few months ago, same spot on my leg, but I recognized it sooner and started the antiviral before it became too painful. I only took the antiviral for a week as they seemed to heal within a few days of starting the meds. I have a history of sciatica and lumbar pain L4-L5, and L5-S1 with radiating and shooting pain to my right foot. My pain management dr looks at me as if I'm too young to be limping around and be taking narcotics for pain, and I definitely agree & don't enjoy feeling this way at all! I have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis and been diagnosed with moderate arthritis of my spine for someone my age in 2010 (I was 30) as well as DDD. I'm a registered nurse and breadwinner of my home, so working is not optional for me. My job only exacerbates my back pain, but for about the past three weeks, my right foot has been numb and the sensation of heaviness of my right legs is becoming an annoyance. The shingles are down my left side, but for about 3 days my right thoracic has been itching and the tingling pain sensation of shingles began. I've been dealing with weird muscle spasms in both feet, as the bottoms of my feet feel like burning bruises with every step. I finally got my pain management dr to prescribe me 5mg hydrocodone twice a day, which barely takes the edge off but doesn't cut it, although it's better than nothing he left me with last week bc "I'm a new pt and FL laws have changed." He doesn't want to risk his license he claims. Anyways, last weekend I felt like garbage, forcing myself out of bed to host my son's birthday party, regardless of the pain. Looking & feeling like a cripple is not what I had in mind in my thirties! I have always been fit, active and flexible with yoga practices and formerly cheer and dance growing up. This is so scary to me bc if I don't work, I can't pay my bills and support my children. I literally cannot afford to be sick. Whatever the shingles have, or are doing to my spine and body, I wish it would go away and never come back!!


Christina 2 years ago

I forgot to mention I have tinnitus, vertigo, and insomnia which have been worsening over the past few weeks. I'm more concerned now because of the bilateral leg pain and now involving my thoracic. There's a few weird looking blister/boil spots at the anterior base of my neck that only hurts to the touch,

doesn't itch, and resembles some shingles photos I've seen. I am concerned it's effecting my entire spinal cord somehow and bc I rarely get a chance to take a break or slow down, and I have no help or support down here, my stress and depression levels have become higher than they've ever been, including my self diagnosis of very mild but real anxiety attacks recently. Over this past summer, on yet another 15 hr drive back down here, I had the worst chest pain ever!! Went to the ER when I got back to FL and my cardiac work up was normal. Since then I've had difficulty breathing from time to time, especially when I become anxious, or maybe it's causing my anxiety I can't tell. I have never related it to possible spinal cord damage from this terrible virus though.

This was a wonderful article and I would love to be informed of any further information or research you have found since writing this. I keep finding the same basic things as you've mentioned already. Also, I've asked the pharmacy and my doctors for the shingles vaccine and they tell me I'm too young. I don't have any reason to have a compromised immune system that I'm aware of, but maybe rheumatoid arthritis is possible. And if so, I suppose that could damper my immune system and allow this virus to become active again?? I'm not sure. I will check back and keep updating as needed. Thank you.


Heufam 20 months ago

After a middle of the night trip to the ER for appendiditis pain, a large gall stone was instead found. Sent home with pain and antispasmodic meds only to have shingle rash appear 2 days later from lower back around hip and down abdomen all the way center and down, with pain ramping up to unbearable in my guts, weakness and pain in right hip so I could hardly walk, but rash was all numb. A couple days later numbness up same side back, same side triceps, and same side face. Then my eyelid drooped. Rash only lasted one week before starting to heal, but the numbness and internal pain persisted, and my guts quit operating for about three weeks total. A few days ago I realized I had to get off my pain reliever (I chose to take Kratom powder instead of the opioids prescribed) if my guts we're going to work again, so I started using comfort measures like a hot rice sock, long hot baths, lots of rest, massage, stretching, even forcing myself to work in the garden even though I could barely move, and asking people to pray for me. Last night was my first with no pain med and though I was awake half the night in the tub I made it ok, and this morning my guts woke up and are moving again, can eat and drink again, and the gut pain is gone and I am able to move more comfortably. The rash area is still numb with pins and needles, eye still drooping, but the other numbness that I suspect was caused by spinal injury from this virus is all gone. I read an article that evidence of spinal involvement in shingles in the 28 people they studied was gone in all of them after half a year, so I have hope that my eye will open back up again normally eventually. I had chosen not to take the antiviral, not realizing how bad this could get, and instead took lots of vitamins c and ate a high lysine low arginine diet (when I could eat). This illness is no joke, take the antiviral asap.


Cindee 19 months ago

Hi, I have been in the Hospital for 5 days. ER observation, due to unable to diagnose my right flank and right hip pain. My lab show D Dimer elevated an had numerous test for a clott. Unable to breath or talk right. No clott showed up. MRI, ultrasounds of gallbladder, kidneys, C Scans,chest X-Rays, Lung scan and still unable to find anything wrong. Multiple doctors. No one new what was wrong so my admitting doctor ask me each day if I had a rash. I kept telling him no. The fifth day I was at my wits end I wanted to know what was wrong with me. Also, I felt like I had the flu. Hematologist told me he didn't see anything wrong and I was going to have to live with the pain. Surgeon said he didn't see anything. Neurosurgeon said she didn't no what was wrong that she seen slight scoliosis and has been since I was a child. Orthopedic said there was nothing wrong with my Hip. Will it come to my admitting doctor that tells me I have internal shingles on my lung or in that area. Send me home on Acuclovir 800 mg 4 x a day, my pain is like it spirals around my spinal cord and spreads to my right side. A creeping spread pain. Makes me nauseated. Had to go back to the doctor yesterday do to that spiral sick pain. He started me on neurontin, which took away the wrap around Pain on my spine, another complaint ears ringing like constant crickets. Weird? I'm just sick of being sick.


Fredda Weinberg 19 months ago

An EMG showed that signals were not getting past my lumbar region, and the neurologist who administered the test, knowing that I had just recovered from untreated shingles, suggested that it may be the cause of my paralysis. Unfortunately, the neurosurgeon fused two vertebra in my thoracic region (T10-T12) because an MRI showed stenosis. It's been five months since the surgery and PT hasn't helped. I can no longer walk, but all the nerves I developed for dance are still here, so I can ambulate. I'll see a new neurologist, one associated with my PT, for better communication.

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