Discussions that mention lidoderm

Pain Management board

Here's my sad tale:

I developed shingles on Feb. 3 of '07 and still have pain from it now. The blistering and rash was on upper abdomen from midline, wrapping around my side and onto my back to the spine. It's on the right side.

The first three days without rash I thought I'd strained something in my ribs and back but it got worse instead of better. Then I had horrifying electric shock like pains up and down my back. Then I saw the tiny pink dots in a row -- I knew it was shingles.

As soon as I saw the spots I ran to the doctor and got Valtrex pills. Took them for 7 days -- I think they kept blisters to a minimum and did a little for pain but did not prevent crusty ugly rash. It was hideous and I could not sleep until I got on the Valtrex. When off of it after 7 days, I was in agony again and felt like I had the flu, too, as this "thing" continued to change and cause different types of pain.

There was, at various times, aching, stabbing, burning, itching, jabbing, feeling like thorns or cactus were sticking into me. It was better to stand up than sit as the rash was near the waist and felt it was cracking when I moved. Driving in the car was and still can be torture.

If you think of the world's worst blistery sunburn, then multiply it by 10, you've got shingles burning pain. At first I had Vicodin which helped but has its own side effects. After the rash finally started to fade and blisters healed, in a total of about 5 weeks, I was diagnosed with post herpetic neuralgia, the long term nightmare, and started on Lyrica, the replacement for Neurontin. It is expensive but I found it helped a bit. Unfortunately, it causes weight gain, bloating, swollen feet, ankles, etc. and that's not fun. Also lightheadedness, fatigue and euphoria. It's very calming and I liked that part.

But I took it for 5 more weeks and finally weaned off of it because I felt I might be getting a little better and the bloating/weight gain were getting to me. Now, at three months, I am able to halfway feel normal part of the time. I still can't stand to have fabrics touch it at times, though all that's left is pink scarring. The burning is gone and it's either light stabbing, prickly sensation, or extreme itch. I find that pressing on the area calms it down and sleeping on my right side which applies pressure allows me to sleep all night.

Bottom line is the nerves are fried from that heinous virus and will probably never be "right" again. But I am confident that though progress is extremely slow, I will eventually be without this or keep it to a bare minimum. I am 57 years old and thought only much older people got shingles this bad. It's true that really young people don't normally get it bad, but they do get it and everyone suffers no matter their age.

Here are the statistics: of those suffering more than about a month to six weeks after the onset, 50 percent will still have discomfort at 3 months. After six months, 25 percent will still have problems and at one year, only about 1 in 20 will be having trouble. The elderly get hit hardest, which seems really unfair.

Using ice packs or cold water on the area was really helpful all along, and I have heard good things about those lidoderm patches but my doc won't prescribe them for me for some reason and touted Lyrica. You can't use the patches anyway until everything has healed over very well. If you have sensitive skin, the patches could be horribly irritating, too, even when healing is done.

I tried small amounts of over the counter Zostrix recently but that was horrid and I would not recommend it at all. It burns like the devil and I got a teeny bit on my lip and wow, it took lots of ice and water to stop that burning. Be careful with any of that pepper-based stuff like Zostrix or Lidoderm.'

But even though I had a really bad case, I am confident that as weeks go by it will fade further. I see progress over weeks, not days, and have learned not to be impatient with this.

Good luck and let us know if you need more info.