Shingles Long Term Effect – Postherpetic Neuralgia

July 9, 2020

I had shingles when I was 42. It left me with postherpetic neuralgia, which normally goes away in a few months. I am one of the unlucky ones, my postherpetic neuralgia has lasted years, and at this point, I believe I will deal with it for the rest of my life.

I live with chronic pain; when I have a flare-up, I have pain, burning, tingling, and numbness in various areas of the body. I am now more prone to migraines and have been diagnosed with complex or compound migraines. Shingles can increase eye pressure and lead to glaucoma. After I had shingles, the optometrist began talking about not liking how the nerves in my eyes looked, even though my eye pressure was in the high range of normal. She convinced me to go to a glaucoma specialist after a couple of years. I now put medicine in drop form into my eyes to prevent any additional damage to the eye nerves.

I take medicine to control my pain. Most of the time, my symptoms are under control, and I feel good and don’t have a lot of pain. Occasionally, I will have a flare-up. The pain is intense and it just lasts. My feet, legs, arms, back, and face burn. The pain will be in patches and it will crawl from one area to another. I will have sharp stabbing pain in some areas that feel like someone is sticking me with needles or a knife. Parts of my face will feel numb. It is the worst when the numbness and burning is around my eyes. The pain is draining and I just feel bad. It makes it hard to sleep and I have fatigue. Trying to focus is hard when pain is so intense. Trying to be cheerful and professional is so hard when I just feel like ripping off my skin to stop the pain.

Last week, a flare-up started. I have been fighting the pain since. As I write this, both my feet are burning, my left calf is burning on the outside, my right thigh is burning, my left arm is burning, the right side of my face is burning and the left side around my eye brow is burning. I have been having a lot trouble sleeping and trying to focus on work is hard.

Many people understand that shingles is very painful, but don’t realize that it could cause longer term or permeate damage. If you get shingles in your eyes, you can go blind. If you get shingles, you have a 1 in 5 chance of have lingering pain. For those who have lingering pain, it usually goes away in a few months, but sometimes, it can be years, or the rest of your life.

If you have had chicken pox, I strongly recommend that you get the shingles vaccination. They are now giving it to people over 50. Save yourself from the pain, if you can!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

20 thoughts on “Shingles Long Term Effect – Postherpetic Neuralgia

  1. Julia, I am sorry you have to deal with all this. I never knew shingles could cause these kind of issues. Thank you for informing me. I hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support. I just want to let people know that shingles can leave lasting damage. Most people over 40 had chickenpox and are at risk for shingles. My doctor has upped my dosage of medication, so I am hoping this flare-up will be under control soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Sometimes, it takes a few days for the new dosage to kick in. I am always encouraging people over 50 to get their shingles vaccination because of the horrible damage shingles can cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post – I was never very clear about exactly what shingles was. I hope that you will find a long-term solution to living a pain-free life. If you are not averse to needles I would suggest trying acupuncture as I have had it for whiplash, muscle tightness, insomnia…& a friend of mine was treated successfully for arthritis in one hand. I wish you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I could help provide some information. It is one of my missions to help provide people information about shingles, as it has had such an impact on my life. People over 40 had chicken pox since the vaccine was developed later.

      Shingles is the chicken pox virus, all grown up. It takes the itchy rash that someone had as a child, and turns it into a nightmare of pain. The rashes from shingles can be terrible. If someone hasn’t had chicken pox, they can catch chicken pox from someone with an active case of shingles. Doctors are uncertain what causes the chicken pox virus to reactivate as shingles.

      I hadn’t thought about acupuncture, I’ll look into it. Thanks!


    1. Thanks for sharing my post! In trying to be positive about the damage that shingles did to me, I consider myself lucky in that I didn’t loose my eye sight. It has brought on glaucoma, but that is treatable.


  3. Your shingles sounds like mine. It affected the left side of my face including my eye. Thankfully, my doctor immediately sent me to an eye doctor who knew more about shingles than the doctor did. After, 8 1/2 years I still have postherpetic neuralgia. My advice, if you have a rash and it hurts to immediately to a doctor. Most rashes itches, shingles hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

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