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Shingles with abdominal pain

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My father was diagnosed with shingles approx. 4 months ago.
During the recovery period (last 3 months), he has been experiencing a lot of tension (in his muscles and skin tissue) and excruciating pain in his abdominal/belly line area. He says it gives his body a feeling of being "dragged down" and sometimes it gets to the point where he cannot walk properly and his movements become very restricted. The skin on the right side of his abdomen is very sensitive and he usually has to keep his shirt pinned up to avoid it coming into contact with the affected area.
We've tried medication, electrotherapy and applying ice packs whenever the pain worsens. We're looking for any suggestions that you may have regarding different treatments, ointments, medications or even recommendations for any specialists within the area (Calgary, Alberta) that will make the skin tissue or muscles in his abdomen area return to normal.

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replied February 21st, 2013
Abdominal Pain Answer A42260
Welcome to e health forum.

There is no cure for shingles, but treatment may shorten the length of illness and prevent complications.

When the rash of shingles goes away, the pain (post herpetic neuralgia, PHN) usually goes with it. But for 12% to 15% of people the pain remains. In some minority of cases, the pain can persist even after eight to 12 weeks after the rash goes away.

The pain due to Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is usually a neuropathic type of pain, and the intensity of the pain is very subjective and varies among patients. It is necessary to understand that treatment involves treating the pain and not the actual disease.

Pain management in post herpetic neuralgia, includes medications like strong opiods, tricyclic antidepressants, medications like neurontin, lyrica, and anesthetic patchs (Lidoderm).

Medications like flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) can be prescribed to treat any form of musculoskeletal rigidity or spasms.

In some patients a single agent may not be helpful, in such cases a combination of medications may be necessary.

You might consult with a pain specialist or your primary care doctor, who would be able to prescribe you a proper combination of medications to achieve proper symptom control.

I hope this helps.

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