July 10, 2018

Shingles Pain: Promising Treatment for Postherpetic Neuralgia

By Terrin Parker

Before the development and use of the varicella vaccine, many of us remember being exposed to chicken pox as a child, sometimes intentionally, so as to contract the virus which, after running its course, provides immunity to further infection… in most folks. For some, the virus (which remains dormant in nerve roots) can reactivate many years later and cause shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster.

Shingles is a painful skin rash that can occur anywhere on the body, but most often occurs on the torso. Though it is not clear why the virus reawakens in some cases, it is believed to be triggered as the immune system weakens with age, and the majority of cases occur in people over 60. Stress is also believed to be a trigger for shingles.

Though shingles is not life-threatening, it is certainly life-altering. It can be very painful, and have lasting complications, such as vision loss, skin infections, neurological problems, and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)—a painful condition in which damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from the skin to the brain.

PHN pain can feel like a burning sensation, or episodes of severe shooting or electric-like pain, and a heightened sensitivity to soft touch that would not normally cause pain. Abnormal sensations like itching may also occur. PHN is often very painful, and can be quite debilitating, causing a decrease in quality of life for those affected.

There is no treatment which modifies the disease course of PHN, so controlling symptoms is the main goal of treatment. Many people rely on topical and/or oral medications to control their symptoms, however many of the oral meds have negative side effects that are not worth the risk. Opioids (pain meds) are not generally recommended due to mixed evidence of efficacy and concerns about abuse and addiction.

Thankfully, there is a method of pain therapy called Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment that has been found to effectively relieve PHN symptoms, with no side effects at all. The Calmare device takes a biophysical rather than a biochemical approach, avoiding the adverse side effects and addictive properties linked to narcotic pain killers.

A ‘no-pain’ message is transmitted to the dysfunctional nerve cells via disposable surface electrodes applied to the skin in the regions of pain. The perception of pain is cancelled out when the ‘no-pain’ message replaces that of pain, using the same pathway through the surface electrodes in a non-invasive way. Essentially, the neural signature is re-written. The brain is no longer receiving the dysfunctional signal. Regardless of intensity, the pain can be completely eliminated for immediate relief.

Dr. Ward Wagner of Dixie Chiropractic has been using Calmare in his clinic for years, and has had tremendous success in treating patients with various types of chronic pain, including PHN. “By connecting electrodes from the Calmare machine to the body near areas of pain, the patient becomes unable to feel the original symptoms and, over the course of treatment, the brain begins to normalize the neural signature from that of ‘pain’ to that of ‘no pain’,” reports Dr. Wagner.

The Calmare device has been used to successfully treat thousands of patients worldwide, and has been shown to be effective in treating neuropathic as well as oncologic pain. Other conditions treated include: chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), phantom limb syndrome, sciatica, post-surgical neuropathic pain, low back pain, neck pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, as well as PHN.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the painful effects of PHN or other chronic nerve pain, and you would like more information on Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment, contact Dixie Chiropractic at 435-673-1443. You can also read more on Calmare at their website: dixiechiro.com.

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