Diagnosed with shingles but rash disappeared in one day. Is it really shingles?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi all, I'd like to give you a synopsis of my last few days. I woke up Friday feeling sick with what I thought was allergies, which caused tons of sneezing fits, and body aches. I've been sleeping on my couch because my dog had surgery and cannot make it up the stairs. Anyway, Saturday I woke up feeling like I slept funny and had the start of a stiff neck. Over the next day or two the pain got progressively worse and seemed to originate by my spine on the left side. My skin is sensitive to touch on that side from my spine to my left breast. I have a deep agonizing pain in that entire area as well and the sensation goes down my arm. I noticed what I thought was a bruise on my back where the pain seemed to originate and I was having pain with every breath I took. On Tuesday I went to urgent care thinking maybe I fractured a rib from my sneezing fits because what else would have caused a bruise on my back when I had no falls and didn't bump into anything ?! In the urgent care the dr said I had shingles and had another dr come in to confirm it. I was put on antivirals and pain meds (which doesn't even touch the pain). Yesterday, Wednesday, I looked at my back and the bruise/rash was gone after only 3 doses of meds but I am still in intense pain. Basically my question is is it truly shingles with the mark going away so soon and is the pain of shingles so deep in the muscles that it hurts to walk, sit or move? Should I be getting another opinion?

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  • Posted

    Hi Danielle. If it is shingles it will most likely stay painful for a couple of weeks or longer as it's nerve pain not muscles. The Varicella Zoster virus, (chicken pox), is reactivated in shingles, it's lain dormant in the dorsal nerves close to the spine. You should keep taking the anti virals and pain meds until you've finished them. If it does not control the pain, go back to see your GP/family doctor and he/she can prescribe stronger pills which will help the nerve pain. ie; Gabapentin/ Pregablin here in the UK. May be called something different in other countries! I did not get much of a rash with shingles but the nerve pain is the worst feature of this illness. Any rash you do have will gradually fade, lighter and lighter with very little if any scarring unless you get an infection in the blisters. If that happens you may need antibiotics too. Hope this helps but DO see your doctor if you feel worse, it's a truly horrible illness. Best wishes, Pollyanna UK
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    • Posted

      Hi Pollyanna,

      Thanks so much for the info. The most painful part to the touch or movement is right on the side of my spine so that makes sense now. I will have to go see my dr about one of the meds you mentioned because the pain killer he gave me isn't helping with the pain. It does however make me sleep which is a plus because if I stay still while sleeping I don't feel the pain lol. I can't sleep all day long though so I need something that will help me function properly again.

      Thank you again!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Danielle,

    I am so sorry for your suffering.

    Did you have any rash, ie vesicles-blisters on a red base overlying the painful area?

    You certainly can have shingles without a rash. It is called Zoster sine herpete.

    Do you have sensations on your skin where the pain is in which the slightest breeze or light touch induces severe pain? It is called Allodynia.

    -Or-

    If you are sleeping on an uncomfortable couch, and are somewhat older, you could also have arthritis in your spine causing neurological symptoms. Is this a possibility?

    The reason I am asking the questions is that it was difficult for me to obtain the complete picture.

    Also, did you feel flu-like with chills, sweating, aches and pains, headache, fever, malaise, weakness, fatigue, before onset of the pain?

    May I ask how old you are?

    The pain distribution does not cross the midline, correct?

    I am a nurse practitioner in the States. I also have Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks for the last 20 years.

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry,

      Thank you!! I'm 43 and am back in my bed since the onset of pain. My dog is on his own now lol. I also live in the states.

      Prior to the pain I had flu like symptoms, all that you mentioned with the exception of fever. I thought it was due to allergies because the pollen is starting where I live. The dr said the rash looked like scalded skin. I thought it was a bruise. He said I will most likely develop blisters but thankfully I didn't. It's only a faint red mark now half the size it was when I saw the dr, which was the day I noticed the rash. The pain is all on my left side. It's a deep pain which I thought was muscular at first. The rash developed right over the spot that is the most sensitive to touch. My skin isn't affected by a breeze but it is very tender to the touch on my left side. I had errands to run yesterday and being in the car hitting little bumps in the road had me in tears. Last night on top of the deep ache I started feeling a burning sensation in some areas that are painful. My son had shingles a few months ago due to a chickenpox vaccine but his pain was only on the rash area, the skin, whereas mine is sore on the skin but very deep into my muscles. That's why I wasn't sure if it in fact shingles. The pain is very different from what my son had. He's 19. Hope this is a better description of what I'm going through.

      Thank you!!

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    • Posted

      Danielle,

      Usually, the younger individuals usually don't suffer the severe pain as the older ones do. It certainly sounds very much like Zoster-Shingles to me, with your excellent description of symptoms occurring before the pain and rash, the hypersensitivity of skin, the burning pain is shingles....please get plenty of rest...hopefully your family will take care of you, for a change... I do understand about the dog... I sleep on the couch, sometimes, with my 20 year old cat, Jupiter.

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  • Posted

    I have been asking myself the same question over and over again. I have just had my second attack if shingles pain, which you describe perfectly. The first time I got a large raised red area behind my right shoulder blade, 5 days after the excruciating pain started. I started antiviral right away and it never blistered and healed in seven days. Not the pain though. I took neurontin to ease the pain for 3 months. This time I have the pain and after about a week I just got one tiny blister after being on the antiviral for 2 days. I continued the meds and the next day my blister was flat and even smaller. Still painful to touch but clearly way better!! Day after that pretty much gone. Internal pain subsiding also. I believe shingles has a mind of its own. I've read so many different cases that vary greatly in duration and severity. They can keep coming back and in different places despite what many dr's say. You will find this out by reading all the entries on this site. It's scary because no one seems to know the truth about shingles. Let me know anything you find out
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    • Posted

      Michelle,

      As I have recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles every three to five weeks for the last 20 years in my right ear and extended twice to my right eye, I agree that many clinicians are not knowledgeable regarding the disease. I do know that the earlier the patient starts the antivirals, the less severe the pain, and the length of duration of the episode will be shorter. I also know that if people are able to achieve excellent pain control initially, by using strong Opioids, anticonvulsants ie Neurontin, Lidocaine patch, Benzocaine ear drops, etc people are much more likely

      to recover and not suffer chronic pain, post herpetic neuralgia. Many are

      immunocompromised and do not know it in the beginning, when they have their first recurrence. I certainly did not.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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