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Post herpetci neuralgia (nerve scarring) is driving me absolutely MENTAL

(21 Posts)
colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 11:09:02

I had shingles 2.5 years ago. I didn't recognise it for what is was (I was 28 for God's sake) and it wasn't treated. It scarred one of my thoracic (ribcage) nerves.

Now I get intense itching and pain. It doesn't come all the time, maybe one every couple of months, and not always badly, but I have it so badly at the minute I could SCREAM.

It feels like a knife has been wedged under the skin of my back, tipped with itching powder. The skin is so hypersensitive that someone brushed bast me yesterday in a shop and I screamed. Pain killers don't work, I can't take anything codeine based, I'm already on antidepressants

Does anyone think it's worth asking for a referral to a pain clinic?

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 11:12:41

Paracetamol kills a bit of the constant pain, but replaces it with a contant itch that if I try to scratch it will reward me with a burst of intense pain.

I'm fucking rocking.

KurriKurri Sat 25-Jun-11 11:25:59

Poor you colditz sad - I have a similar sort of thing from a bout of shingles 2 years ago. It feels like the pain of the shingles returning and makes me claw at my head.

Have you spoken to the GP, there are drugs I think that can sometimes help with it (sorry to be vague, but I'm sure I remember reading something a while ago, but can't remember details). And yes definitely ask for pain clinic referral - the sooner the better to get on the list.

Feel very sorry for you, mine is nasty - and your sounds worse than mine sad

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 11:28:07

Have just discovered that applying a vibrating toothbrush helps [bizarre]

Almost the worst thing is that there is nothing there. The skin is perfectly healthy, unbroken, and pink and nice.

But Kurrikurri how awful on your HEAD!

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 25-Jun-11 11:32:39

You poor sod sad what sort of antidepressants are you on? I think the tricyclics can be prescribed for nerve pain?

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 11:38:38

It's prozac but the tricyclics don't suit me at all, prozac is the only one that does out of the SSRI's because all the rest knock me unconscious and I am a single mother of a child with behavioral problems - I cannot be unconscious.

KurriKurri Sat 25-Jun-11 11:41:02

yes - I have no outward signs either, - only mark is a scar on my forehead from the original shingles, and that gets very itchy. The only thing I find helps a bit is having a fan directed onto me - I often have it on all night, because its always worse if I get too warm. The toothbrush trick sounds worth a go though.

I was lucky in that I was able to have anti virals, although probably a bit later than I should have, so that maybe reduced the impact a bit.

You've probably looked it up on google, but here's a link anyway here - they seem to suggest tramadol (I don't know what that has in it though) and amitriptyline (sp?) - but that's an AD so might result in a lot of messing about with the ones you're on, which if you've got your dose settled you probably don't want.

Go and see what the GP suggests, and push for the referral, - there must be something that will help. (actually you've inspired me to get off my butt and see the GP about mine, - I've just been putting up with it, which is crazy)

KurriKurri Sat 25-Jun-11 11:48:55

Ok tramadol is and opiate I think so probably no good. here is another link, which has a few more suggestions shingles support it mentions some drugs normally used for epilepsy which might be worth asking about.

KurriKurri Sat 25-Jun-11 11:50:37

They've got a shingles info pack on that site. It mentions tens machines - that would probably be available at a pain clinic.

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 11:56:23

kurrikurri thank you so much x

gingeroots Sat 25-Jun-11 12:16:43

My mum has this and was referred to a pain clinic after trying anti depressants etc ( apparently a v.low dose can sometimes help ).

She was prescribed a tube of -can't remember name ,but it is a derived from capiscum/pepperswww.rxlist.com/capsicum/supplements.htm.

You have to apply a teensy,tiny amount 4 times a day in the vicinty of the affected area and it blocks the pain signals .It takes a period of time after starting this treatment to fully work .

It does work - tho my mum (91 ) doesn't get on with having to apply it 4 times a day ,especially as her pain ,like yours is intermitent .

I'm sure I've read somewhere that wrapping the torso /area affected in clingfilm can help ,possibly after application of an anesthetic type cream.

Good luck and sympathies .

Icoulddoitbetter Sat 25-Jun-11 12:40:03

Has anyone discussed Gabapentin with you? It's for neuropathic pain so maybe more effective in your case.
Definitely ask for a referral to the pain clinic, they'll be able to look at your meds but also how you live with this experience too.

Elibean Sat 25-Jun-11 13:18:10

Poor you, Colditz - and you, Kurri. I have the same thing (also on my forehead, just above my eyebrow) but don't get the pain much, mostly just the itching.

I'd heard about the Capsicum stuff too - reminds me of when I had horrendous itching during pregnancy (all checked out, nothing pathological) and the only thing that worked was Deep Heat: apparently confuses the brain into noticing new sensation and ignoring the original one. I'd say worth a try, since its sporadic.

Does yours kick in when you're tired? I'm sure mine does...

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 13:19:17

I think mine is stress related.

colditz Sat 25-Jun-11 13:19:35

And no, nobody has mentioned Gabapentin

DBennett Sat 25-Jun-11 14:58:11

Get a referral to the pain clinic.

saladsandwich Sat 25-Jun-11 16:01:07

my gp offered me amitriptylin(sp?) for neuralgia think its an antidepressant but i refused to take them for now, mine is behind my ears and runs up my head and over my eyes, its awful. i think i may have damaged a nerve. my dentists injected me in the wrong nerve once with the aneasthetic (sp?) needle and numbed my ear but i also had an infection in my lip once that spread to a nerve that went up to my ear.

i'm lucky that it comes and goes though X

Becaroooo Sat 25-Jun-11 16:08:04

Would TENS help???

BelaLugosiinStripes Sat 25-Jun-11 16:29:23

IIRC TENS stimulates different nerve pathways that "block off" the pain being transmitted by the other types of nerve. Both mimic the soothing effect that 'rubbing it better' has e.g. after you've banged your knee. wiki it does mention contraindication after nerve damage though, so it might be worth asking the GP about it.

colditz Mon 27-Jun-11 23:27:04

I have Lidocaine patches, and it seems to be working!

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 28-Jun-11 07:04:39

Brilliant!! long may that last.

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