Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the herpes virus which is the virus which causes chicken pox. The virus, having been dormant in the dorsal root ganglia of the spine for many years, suddenly attacks a particular posterior nerve root producing the clinical picture of shingles.

What reactivates the virus is not known.

It produces pain with or without a chicken pox type of rash on one side of the body at the level of the particular nerve root affected. It spreads along the course of the nerve from the side of the spinal cord. The rash can map out the outline of the nerve as it pursues its course underneath the skin.

The typical attack of shingles attacks the level of the chest and spreads from the back around to the from only on one side of the body. You can have the nerve roots in the neck involved and this can produce a nasty rash and intense pain in the face.

Sometimes this affects the eye and the ear.

In the lower spine a rash can spread around the lower abdomen or can involve the branches down one leg with pain and/or rash in the leg. The pain at the level of the appendix can mimic acute appendicitis. The pain can precede the rash by several days.

Generally the blisters burst and are replaced by scabs as in the case of chicken pox and it may take two to four weeks for the rash to clear. You may be left with a faint pink mark where the original rash was present.

The pain can be intense coming on in spasms especially if it involves the face. Pain killing injections may be necessary. The pain can last as long as the rash and over the next year or so occasional nips of pain can remind you of the acute condition.

Keeping the rash dry and using simple pain killers such as aspirin may be all that is necessary. If the diagnosis is made early enough then anti-viral drugs may be of some help.

- Anaemia - Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia
- Anxiety - Arthritis
- Asthma - Backache
- Blood Pressure including Hypertension - Boils and Carbuncles
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - Chronic Bronchitis
- Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex) - Colostomy and Ileostomy
- Constipation - Cramp
- Cystitis - Diabetes
- Diarrhoea - Earache
- Footcare - Gallstones
- Glandular Fever (Infectious Mononucleosis) - Gout
- Haemophilia - Headache
- Hepatitis - Hip Replacement
- Indigestion - Influenza
- Jaundice - Kidney Stones
- Legionnaires Disease - Low Blood Pressure
- Migraine - Nose Bleeding
- Osteoporosis - Peptic Ulcers (Gastric or Duodenal)
- Piles (Haemorrhoids) - Pneumonia
- Poor Circulation (incl Buergers & Raynauds Disease) - Prostate Problems
- Rheumatic Fever - Shingles
- Sleeping Difficulties (Insomnia) - Slipped Disc
- Spinal Injuries - The Common Cold
- The Overactive Thyroid Gland - The Underactive Thyroid Gland
- Thrombophlebitis of Superficial Veins - Thrombosis in Veins
- Tonsillitis and Complications

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