Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Shingles (and chickenpox) are from the herpes zoster family, but have nothing to do with STDs. If a person has had chickenpox in the past, they are at greater risk for getting a case of acute herpes zoster, or shingles, later in life. This article will make a systematic review of this odd behaving virus, its symptoms and painful long term side effects. Most importantly we will also explore how WBC (whole body cryotherapy) and isolated cryotherapy treatments can help to repair nerve damage from shingles, its long term effects, and how it provides a form of pain management, too!
What Are Shingles?
Acute herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a secondary infection of the nerves, originally caused by chickenpox. Shingles typically affects patients on one side of the body, with an itchy rash on the skin along the nerve pathway and severe, shooting pain.
The 'rash disease' (as some call it, though technically not a disease) breaks out into red, fluid filled blisters that dry out and crust over within about 7-10 days. These blisters and rash are considered to be contagious until dried up by direct contact, unless you're immune.
This terribly painful rash can also be accompanied by fever, headache, fatigue or flu-like symptoms, and a tingling sensation on one side of the body, just before the rash begins to appear - just on that one side. It typically affects the face, torso or limbs - chest and back are common.
It affects neural pathways or nerves, causing symptoms like inflammation, rash, severe pain, sensitivity to light and/or touch, fatigue, et al. Sometimes the patient develops chronic pain with a complication called PHN, or postherpetic neuralgia.
Post Herpetic Neuralgia
There is a higher incidence of shingles and one of its resulting complications, postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), in patients over the age of 50. Post herpetic neuralgia is caused by shingles and the neuropathic pain or nerve pain associated with it and, like shingles, requires a clinical or medical diagnosis.
PHN causes a reduction in the quality of life for patients who suffer from it. Depending on which nerves are affected in each patient and when treatment of symptoms are started, this directly related syndrome can lead to more serious, permanent side effects like:
continued nerve inflammation resulting in chronic pain
permanent nerve damage and scar tissue
brain inflammation (encephalitis)
How To Protect Against Shingles
So what can we do to protect ourselves against shingles? Well, our first line of defense is to get the chickenpox vaccine. If you missed that, there's even a shingles vaccine! The virus has a tendency to lie dormant, sometimes for decades, and then reactivate as a result of an injury, sickness or weakness that compromises the immune system.
Any significant strain on your system such as stress, anxiety, sickness or injury, especially at a time you're also experiencing another physical weakness (such as sleep deprivation or vitamin deficiency), this can lead to an outbreak of shingles. The other major factor seems to be age related, as patients over 50 have increased likelihood for developing shingles as they get older.
Treatment Options For Nerve Damage From Shingles
The thing with shingles to be aware of is it's important that symptoms are treated early. This can prevent the onset of chronic pain from the related postherpetic neuralgia. If you become depressed, depending on your medical history your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or therapy of some sort.
Other treatment options can include topical and local anesthetics or numbing agents, but the pain and inflammation can be extreme and there is no cure or long term clinical treatment options available. When shingles is on the face, along certain facial nerves, it can damage related delicate muscle underneath, as well, if left untreated - so get a medical diagnosis promptly.
How Cryotherapy Treatments Can Help
Although there are many medications and other resources to help nerve damage from shingles, we are happy to bring to light a healthy alternative with amazing results!
WBC - Whole Body Cryotherapy
WBC or whole body cryotherapy is where you enter a cold chamber with your head exposed and subject the body to temperatures as low as -248°F or -155°C for 3 minutes at a time. This triggers multiple responses within the body such as fight or flight and survival mode, sending blood to the inner organs for protection.
Then you step out, normal blood flow begins again, and you are refreshed and invigorated! This accomplishes multiple positive system reactions, not the least of which is pain relief due to inflammation reduction, from shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. The cold therapy provides the type of pain relief necessary for patients who suffer shingles and PHN.
Isolated cryotherapy is often used as an effective treatment for shingles and PHN, and can be applied to the local area most affected. Isolated cryotherapy for nerve damage from shingles reduces pain and inflammation has the same results as WBC, just in a more local manner. The way it works is by a handheld wand, and temperatures of between -30°F and -34° for short periods of time.
NuWave Cryotherapy Skin and Light Spa
The good news is you can book an appointment right here at NuWave Cryotherapy Skin and Light Spa on this website, today! Whichever form of cryotherapy you choose, we have them here and more. If you suffer from nerve damage from shingles or the chronic pain of PHN on your face, we also have cryo facials & isolated cryotherapy; done with a safer, electric version over nitrogen gases that will give you amazing results and pain relief.
The way very cold temperatures work is by temporarily disrupting the nerve pain pathway to the brain. It is believed that enough disruptions in this manner can result in permanent pain relief. Cryotherapy therefore can be effectively used to treat pain, inflammation and nerve damage from shingles or PHN, even helping to repair nerves affected.
Contact us today to schedule your session and get rid of chronic nerve damage pains!