could this be shingles?

at_my_ageSeptember 25, 2007

i've been to quite a few sites already looking for information but they all seem to focus on the medical terms and i was having a hard time understanding.

i started looking for message boards specifically discussing shingles but didn't find any.

a neighbor told me about garden web so here i am and i hope i can get some personal advice rather than all the medical lingo.

about 5 weeks ago i noticed an itching on my back, one side, to the left of my spine, just at my waistline. the area that was itching was about the size of a fist. 5 little bumps much like pimples.

i had been doing a lot of strenuous activity in the yard so i just figured it was heat rash from elastic waistband.

couple weeks later it didn't go away.

no solid colored area just a few little bumps spaced out but the few bumps began to itch like crazy.

a couple days later i was bending over in the yard and got a shooting, burning pain in the same area as the bumps.

neither the red, pimple-like bumps have gone away nor has the pain.

if i lie quietly i don't have the pain but the itch is continuous. as soon as i have too much waist movement the shooting, burning pain starts and peaks and is so painful.

saw md monday of last week and he dx'd heat rash with pulled muscle.

by this past monday i could no longer stand the sharp burning pain and saw another md because mine was on vacation.

he said possibly heat rash and it couldn't be shingles because there is no large, dark red area, only a few bumps.

told me the same as first md, to take oatmeal baths to relieve itch and lots of aspirin.

my question:

has anyone ever had shingles (herpes zoster) without a large dark reddened area, only a few bumps?

yes, i've had chicken pox when i was in my 40s. i am in my early 60s now.

very appreciative for any advice you can give.

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catherinet

Hi at_my_age,
I'm sorry no one has answered you yet. I didn't know enough to give an opinion, but was wondering how you're doing?
It sure seems like a neurological/viral problem, like shingles is.
Were you around anyone recently with chicken pox?
What a bummer to have them at 40!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 8:12AM
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catbird

It sure sounds like the shingles I had. I had a little patch of tiny bumps just above the waist on my stomach and a little one at about the same place on my back. And boy was I glad I didn't have a BIG patch! It really hurts and itches. I could hardly stand for my clothes to touch it, which made it tricky to dress for work every day. ;-(

You don't have to be around anyone with chicken pox to get shingles. Apparently once you have chicken pox the virus goes dormant, but doesn't go completely away. Then it can revive later and attack a nerve causing shingles. There's a vaccine for it now, but it's not 100% effective.

Hope you're feeling better by now. I think the antiviral medications can be effective if you catch it just as it's flaring up, but don't help if you take them later. It usually goes away on it's own, but in some people can cause nerve problems the linger for a long time. Mine cleared up on it's own and my md says it probably gave my immune system a better kick than the vaccine would. Here's hopin'.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:17AM
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macymilton

yes that could be shingles that I have experienced. I came across this youtube video about vygone zapper (you can search it on youtube)I tried it and it stops the pain after several treatments. Has anybody else tried Vygone for shingles? I want to know if it works with others too.

Here is a link that might be useful: vygone on youtube

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:52AM
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michelle_phxaz

Interesting because I am having a breakout right now with this exact same thing! It is Herpes Simplex. It starts out painful, and within hours the little bumps show up. The area expands to a red patch that is itchy and painful at the same time, the bumps meld together to become a blister-like bump. Then the blister goes away, the red patch goes away, and there is absolutely no scar or indication that this ever existed.

This entire process takes about a week.

For the first few days when it is itchy I put a large bandaid over it with anti-itch Neosporin, but when the blister appears I air it out, helping it to dry faster.

I get these when I am really stressed out (my cousin passed last week and I got it when I returned home from the funeral) but any stressful situation or dental work can be a trigger for me. I usually get them once or maybe twice a year.

I am supposed to take Valtrex every day, but as soon as the symptoms start I take two and go from there. It does shorten the length of the virus, it used to take two weeks to disappear. Make sure to WASH YOUR HANDS every time you touch it, it is very contagious.

Also, this can only be diagnosed in the first days of the small blisters, the doctor needs to get a sample from that, not once it has become one big blister.

We are not alone, there are many of us who have this, I hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:15AM
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vieja_gw

Anyone try Zostrix (or any other capsaicin ointment) for shingles pain? It has worked on several people I have mentioned it to. Rub it onn the shingles rash but do NOT get it in your eyes ... it contains the 'heat' chemical found in chili peppers!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:15PM
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popeda

I would like to repeat what I said in another post--after witnessing the horrible pain shingles caused my father, I rushed out for the shingles vaccine.

It is not 100% preventive, but most people who came down with shingles anyway did not have the residual nerve pain. It would be well worth the $100-200 for the shot to never experience that, believe me.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 3:46PM
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chisue

Although shingles often appear around the waist, I woke one morning and while brushing my teeth noticed red bumps on the right side of my forehead. I thought I'd been bitten during the night. When the bumps didn't go down by afternoon I saw my MD. It was shingles.

There is medication to reduce the effect of this zoster if it is caught within 72 hours of the outbreak. This is the same drug given for an outbreak of genital warts.

I didn't have much itching or pain and it was all gone in about three weeks. I stayed away from small children lest they catch chickenpox from me. I believe this was stress-related as I'd been overly busy immediately before the outbreak.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 2:13PM
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