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Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

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Shingles is a painful condition that is the result of a viral infection that affects the nerves. The virus that causes shingles is the same one that causes chickenpox. Contrary to popular belief, anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. Many clients of our clinic have wondered if laser therapy is a good treatment for shingles or if laser therapy

As a general rule, laser therapy can provide shingles pain relief by promoting healing. Laser therapy penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the light-sensitive cells in our tissue, causing them to produce more energy, which helps heal damaged nerve cells.

Do you suffer from post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)? Or have a suspension that you may have PHN? The good news is that laser therapy or low-level light therapy (LLLT) has proved itself an excellent therapeutic modality for the relief of pain in post-herpetic neuralgia patients, which may replace pain management medicines in the future.” [1]

Shingles is most common in people over 60 years old, but it can occur at any age. Symptoms of shingles include a rash and pain along the path of the nerve where the virus has invaded. In some cases, post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) may develop after the shingles rash disappears.

Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

PHN is a condition characterized by long-term pain in the area where the shingles rash occurred. Up to 50% of people who get shingles will develop PHN.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of laser therapy and how to apply it to treat PHN.

What Is Post-herpetic Neuralgia, And How Is It Linked To Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The virus that causes shingles is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has chickenpox, the virus stays in their body. Shingles usually affect people over 50, but they can occur at any age.

The most common symptom of shingles is a painful rash that typically appears on one side of the face or body. However, other common symptoms include fever, headache, and fatigue.

Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

In some cases virus can reactivate later in life and cause shingles, and the pain associated with shingles can last for months or even years after the rash has cleared. This condition is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Post-herpetic neuralgia is caused by damage to the nerves that results from shingles.

PHN is a form of nerve pain (often a sharp shooting pain or dull ache) that can occur after shingles. The pain occurs because the shingles virus damages the nerve fibers. The damage to the nerve fibers prevents the nerves from correctly sending signals to the brain.

However, there are some non-invasive, natural ways to relieve this delibating pain without surgery or injections.

How Does Post-herpetic Neuralgia Get Its Name?

Post-herpetic neuralgia comes from the kind of virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. According to a study published by the Journal of Laser In Medical Sciences, a few kinds of herpesvirus can affect humans.

  • Gamma-herpesviridae.
  • Beta-Herpesviridea.
  • Alpha-heresviridea.

How Does Laser Therapy Reduce Post-herpetic Neuralgia Pain?

Laser therapy is a promising treatment for reducing post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) pain. PHN is a common complication of shingles and can cause chronic, debilitating pain.

Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

What Causes Post-Herpetic Neuralgia?

According to the aforementioned study – the virus hangs out in our system after we have been first exposed to the virus and can be reactivated by factors such as stress, immune or hormonal disorders, or dysfunctions. The actual mechanism of how this condition develops is highly complex and involves a series of entangled immune cells.

How Does Laser Therapy Work To Reduce Pain And Itching?

Laser therapy targets specific areas of the nerve that are causing pain. The light energy penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the light-sensitive or photosensitive cells in our tissue, particularly water molecules and mitochondria. The light activates the mitochondria, causing them to produce more energy, which helps heal damaged nerve cells.

Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

Light or laser therapy also causes an influx of oxygen-rich blood to the damaged area, carrying valuable nutrients needed for cellular repair and recovery. This increase in blood also helps desensitize painful areas by flushing out inflammatory cells, such as cytokines and histamine, that cause pain signals to be received by the brain.

The Benefits Of Laser Therapy

There is evidence that laser therapy has many benefits for those suffering from this painful condition. Here is a list of science-based benefits:

Physio Explains: Laser Therapy For Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Improves microcirculation.
  • Increases cellular metabolism.
  • Enhances the action of the medication.
  • Stimulates regenerative processes.
  • Prevents scarring.
  • Reduces pain, itching, and burning.
  • Reducing swelling.
  • Stimulates both the local and systemic immune systems.
  • Increases cell resistance against pathogens (such as the herpesvirus).
  • Reduces allergic reactions by reducing immune sensitivity.
  • Shortened the symptomatic periods and increased the remission period.

Conclusion

Laser therapy may be a promising treatment option for you if you suffer from post-herpetic neuralgia.

Laser therapy may be a promising treatment option for you if you suffer from post-herpetic neuralgia. This non-invasive, natural therapy has many benefits and can help you find relief from your pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about laser therapy and how it can help you reduce your post-herpetic neuralgia pain.

References

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32006261/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558700/pdf/jlms-12-e38.pdf 

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    by | Aug 3, 2022 | Uncategorized

    <a href="http://dublin-chiropractic.com" target="_blank">Kate Ryan Physio</a>

    Kate Ryan Physio

    Chiropractor

    My goal is to help people get out and stay out of pain. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of living pain free for a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.
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