The pain of shingles is caused by an inflammation of the nerve that lies just beneath the skin's surface. Shingles originates from the same virus which causes chickenpox. The virus, after infecting the person with chickenpox, retreats to the nervous system where it remains dormant for many years. It reappears in the form of shingles, only if the immune system is weakened, or as a result of a more severe or lengthy illness, extreme stress, or a therapy involving suppression of the immune system. Herpes zoster is common in people with a weakened immune system, such as AIDS patients or people taking anticancer or immunosuppressant drugs. Shingles is more common in the elderly, who tend to have less efficient immune systems. Overall health and nutrition often determine the severity of illness and length of recovery. No treatment has yet been discovered to prevent or halt shingles. Although steps can be taken to shorten the duration, the virus must simply run its course. Early medical attention may prevent or reduce the scarring that shingles can cause. Medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and help you cope with the pain. Antiviral drugs may help stop progression of the rash. Mild to moderate cases may be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers and self-help remedies. For postherpetic neuralgia, a non- prescription cream containing capsaicin from hot red peppers provides relief for 75 percent of sufferers by anesthetizing the skin's surface.
Hydrotherapy for Shingles
For the first three or four days, try ice for 10 minutes on, five minutes off, every few hours. Later, apply cool, wet compresses soaked in aluminum acetate. (available over the counter in the form of astringent solution, powder packets, or effervescent tablets.)
Take a neutral bath (body temperature). Soak for thirty to sixty minutes. (Add hot water occasionally to keep heat at blood temperature.) This is very calming to the nervous system and reduces stress.
Reflexology for Shingles
Try working the diaphragm, spine, ovary/testicle, pancreas and pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid and adrenal gland reflex points on hands or feet.