Is it possible for PHN to spread to other side?

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Is it possible for PHN to spread? I've had PHN in my left leg for around 6 years.  It's been constant the past year and 1/2.  But a few days ago my right leg developed an area that feels exactly the same!  I didn't think that was possible.  Is it?  Or should I go to the doctor because there is something else wrong?  I don't think I could handle something else being wrong.  I'm 39, and lately most days I feel in my 80s.  I live my life around constant pain.

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  • Posted

    My heart goes out to you at only 39 with your life revolving around pain. If it was me, I'd go to the doctor. I have no idea if it can spread. I mostly just wanted you to know that I care. My PHN was short-lived, thankfully, but I get lots of migraines and last year I was having them more days than not. Between that and the shingles, I have a new appreciation for everyone who lives in constant pain. My life revolved around the migraines all last year (2016). Isn't it incredible the huge numbers of people who live with daily pain, yet so little is known for satisfactory treatment.

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  • Posted

    I don't think it can spread but I have heard of some cases where you can get it again. Very rarely but it happens.  I have a particularly sore place on my right back that constantly hurts.  Occasionally my left side will itch like crazy and hurt also in the same spot.  I call that sympathy pain!  At almost 9months, the PHN is better except for one small area.  Unfortunately it is a place that clothing rubs and I still can't wear a bra.

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  • Posted

    It may be more likely that it's a different health concern, but that doesn't mean it's serious. You don't say where on the leg you mean. It could be a pulled muscle, or bursitis, tendinitis or related to a back issue. Could it be a new case of shingles? I know that's very discouraging, but it's worth talking to a doctor about it.

    Ruth, i'm in my 5th month after my diagnosis, so yes, I've got PHN, but much more moderate than most other people. I too have those similar pains that pop up on the opposite side. But Michah, I had that just a few weeks into my shingles, so I think this is different from you, plus mine is in my back so having pain a few inches over from the spine makes more sense than an opposite limb.

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  • Posted

    I've never heard of it being able to spread.  From what I know you needd to have  the rash first.  Sounds like it could be a pinched nerve, you should go to the doctor.  Hope you figure it out soon.  Sending you strength & healing to help with your pain.  I understand how it is. 

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  • Posted

    Micah

    I have found that my Post Herpetic Neuralgia is not confined to the original location, but tends to spread to new areas if not treated with anti-viral Cream.

    The first indication is usually a very irritating pimple, which develops into a very large boil in about a week, if left untreated. Sometimes it is a very red rash that is very itchy.

    I have developed an anti-viral topical mixture to overcome this problem.

    Please see my recent posts if this relates to your problem.

    Regards Ray.

     

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  • Posted

    Ruth

    The anti-viral cream I use is Aciclovir, as it is useful for combating the virus for Cold Sores and Shingles.

    It is available in Australia from discount chemists, without the need for a prescription.

    The topical mixture is as follows ; 

    250 grams of Invite Vitamin E Cream.

    Two 5 gram tubes of Aciclovir Cream.

    65 grams of Dencorub Heat Gel.

    Mix thoroughly, apply sparingly to the affected area.

    I find this mixture eliminates the need for analgesics, which can be harmful over a long period.

    Best of luck in your quest for relief from this dreadful complaint.

    Regards Ray.

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  • Posted

    It is not possible for PHN to "spread."  PHN is caused by herpes zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox.  After your immune system defeats the chickenpox virus, it does not fully die.  Some of the virus survives at the base of the sensory nerves near the spinal cord.  When your immune system is compromised, by stress, medications, etc, it can resume its infection.  But this time it does not spread throughout the body as it does in an episode of chickenpox.  It usually only infects one particular sensory nerve in an episode we call shingles.  So, the rash of shingles is usually only in an area served by that particular nerve, and this is called a "dermatome."  The virus damages the sensory nerve itself, which sometimes results in long term pain we call PHN. 

    If you had another episode of shingles in the other leg, then PHN could follow that.  But it could not "spread" without that additional shingles episode, and that would be a separate infection.

    So, if you are having pain in the other leg, I would see your doc to rule out some other medical issue. 

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    • Posted

      What a terrific explanation Charlie. Any theories as to why we can get a similar feeling of discomfort on the opposite side of the spine? There is something called "referred pain", such as the pain in an organ shows up in a slightly different part of the body. But docs know that "pain" really means that there's a different issue going on. Interesting phenomenon, isn't it? Speaking totally from a detached, clinical perspective, NOT when I'm telling my husband to PLEASE look at my back to make sure there's not a new outbreak LOL.

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    • Posted

      Babs,

      I don't have a theory on why pain can appear on an opposite side of the body.  Referred pain is the best explanation I've seen.  I think in Micah's case, the important thing is to make sure something else isn't going on.  It probably isn't, but I'd want to be sure by checking with a doc. 

      A lot of people confuse shingles with PHN.  Though their original cause is the same, the herpes zoster virus, they are entirely different syndromes.  Once the original shingles viral infection is gone, usually in a week or several weeks, any new pain that occurs in that specific dermatome [skin area served by the sensory nerve that was affected] is PHN.  PHN does not occur because of the virus acting up.  PHN is a result of damage to the sensory nerve, previously done by the now defeated herpes zoster virus.  So anti-viral creams will not work on PHN.  The recipe above by Raymond includes Dencorub, which contains 10% salicylate.  Salicylate is similar to aspirin, and has anti-inflammatory properties, and in my case works well for controlling itching and pain from PHN.  I get salicylate in the Aspercreme I use.  So the relief from that recipe is probably not from acyclovir, but from salicylate and maybe other ingredients of Dencorub. 

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  • Posted

    The nerves under our skin are much like tributaries of a river as they spread everywhere or it could be phantom pain or residual from other nerve endings. I would certainly see a doctor just to check. After heart surgery in which my chest had to be cracked and wired together I feel pain much like PHN across the chest area and now as a result of two hernia operations caused by chest tubes the rib area is giving me trouble which feels like nerve pain. I suspect anytime there's trauma to the body the nerves are therefore damage but I am not a physician so I cannot speak definitively to the nature of your pain. Do you see your doctor however.

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