What is “Shingles” and how do we get it?
Shingles is a painful condition characterised by a skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox – the varicella zoster. It is also known as Herpes Zoster. Your first exposure of this virus is usually as a child which leads to the disease popular to all of us, chickenpox. It causes itchy and painful sores which spread all over the body.
After one has had and recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body and remains dormant there for years. For many people it can stay dormant forever. However there are also instances when this virus is reactivated and travels from the nerve fibers to the skin causing shingles.
This is when painful rashes begin to appear in some areas of the skin along certain nerves. It frequently appears as a band on one side of the body, or face including the eye. Other symptoms associated with this condition include intense pain, fever, headaches, upset stomach, and chills.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. However some people are more prone to it. Stress is a huge factor as it has the ability to weaken one’s immune defense. Mainly, the immune system is what allows this virus to remain dormant for years but when it is compromised, that’s when the body is no longer able to keep it in control.
Stress, fatigue, tiredness and poor diet all in combination can be the cause of Shingles in young adults. It is also commonly seen in people with weak immune systems such as in older people or in people with compromised immune systems such as those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Complications of Shingles
In some instances the pain that is associated with shingles remain for months or even years after the rashes are gone. This is common among adults who are over 60 but can occur in all people. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) and can cause severe intense pain. The rash could also get infected and antibiotics are generally needed. Furthermore, shingles can cause inflammation of the eye and affect the nerves near the eye. If it is severe, one can lose part of their vision or in cases cause blindness.
On rare occasions, the virus can infect the brain (encephalitis) or other parts of the body. This complication is extremely rare though. Pneumonia is also another complication.
Treating Shingles with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
You will be relieved to know that in China acupuncture is considered as the most effective treatment for shingles. Acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal medicine is used to strengthen the body’s weakened immune system, which is the primary cause of the disease. This is perfect for individuals who would like to manage the pain and reduce the severity caused by shingles without resorting to antibiotics or pain medications.
Generally most pain medications do very little to ease the nerve pain. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment protocol for shingles and does not have any side effects as compared to taking medications. It helps the body get rid of the toxins (damp heat) and regulates energy and blood flow.
Acupuncture together with herbal medicine helps to relieve pain and shorten the healing process. This is a natural and holistic approach to treating shingles and especially for post-herpetic neuralgia.
If only more people knew more about the effectiveness of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine as a treatment for shingles people wouldn’t have to suffer with the pain for too long. So if you are looking for a way to manage the pain brought on by shingles, consider acupuncture.