Post-herpetic neuralgia is a complication associated with shingles caused by herpes zoster virus. In general, following an infection by the virus, shingles clears within a few weeks. However, if the pain continues to persist after a month of the infection, the condition is referred to as post-herpetic neuralgia.
The risk of development of the condition increases with advancing age and is more frequently observed in people over the age of 60 years. While the post herpetic neuralgia can affect any nerve, it more commonly affects the nerves around the face and neck.
The cause for post herpetic neuralgia is herpes zoster virus (i.e. the virus that causes chickenpox), which remains dormant in the body, after the first exposure. However, during times of increased stress, reduced immunity or severe infection, the virus becomes active and can lead to shingles. The virus commonly affects nerves and if the nerve is damaged during the infection, the pain may persist for a long duration of time, resulting in post-herpetic pain.
Postherpetic Neuralgia Symptoms
The symptoms associated with the condition usually affect the area of the body where shingles had once occurred. The primary symptom includes pain which can range from mild to severe and is usually intermittent in nature. The pain is usually associated with burning, deep aching, stabbing and electric shock-like sensation. In general, the skin is sensitive to touch and extreme temperature.
How Long Does Postherpetic Neuralgia Last?
There are a wide range of factors that will affect the duration of post herpetic neuralgia. The age of the individual and the general health status are important determining factors. Individuals suffering from neurological disturbances due to chronic disorders like diabetes or multiple sclerosis may experience a more prolonged duration.
General immunity also plays a vital role and can affect individuals with cancer or HIV AIDS for prolonged duration of time. The duration of the neuralgia can range from one month to almost more than a year, in some cases.
Home Remedies For Postherpetic Neuralgia
Pain is the primary symptom that needs to be managed in individuals with post herpetic neuralgia. There are certain home remedies and natural treatment that can help alleviate the pain.
- Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory herb and also helps alleviate the pain. As per experts, minimum of 20 grams of turmeric should be consumed each day in order for it to act as an effective pain killer. Turmeric can be consumed with warm milk or along with raw honey to make it more palatable.
- Local application of the clove essential oil can also help alleviate the nerve pain. Clove oil should be applied after being diluted using a base oil like walnut or avocado.
- Local application of Capsaicin cream (i.e. active ingredient of seeds of hot chili pepper) can alleviate the pain by reducing burning and pricking sensation.
- Ensure that you consume Vitamin B12 rich foods. Include meat, eggs and dairy products in your diet. Also include fresh fruits namely citrus fruits like lemon, lime, oranges, etc in your diet. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C and help boost the natural immunity and fight the infection.
- Homeopathic drug Apis Mel has proven to be an effective medicine in the treatment of neuralgic pain, especially when it is associated with burning and pricking. The medicine should be taken in low dosage and repeated about thrice a day.