Is this Shingles ?

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hi , I'd like some help with a shingles diagnosis , i have been to the doctor , let me tell you why i'm asking.

About a week ago i had a dull ache on my back behind or near my shoulder blade , i couldn't quite trace the source but found some crunchy , knotted tendons (probably not the correct word). Soon after i noticed a burning feeling , the best way to describe it is , when you get sunburn and put a shirt or top on , it gives that same feeling of mild irritation.  I have no rash. After a few days i decided to go to the doctors , i told him the symptons and he suggested it might be shingles , but only based on what i'd said. He gave me a choice of starting a course of tablets now , or waiting until a rash appeared. He said it's best to catch it early , so i took the option of the tablets (7 days supply) and a cream. The tablets are Aciclovir (800mg) , the cream is .... well , RED HOT CHILLIES !

I used the cream last night , but the burning was intense , the discomfort i had before was not that bad , the cream put the discomfort off the scale.

So , is it ok to take that course if i DON'T have shingles ?

Is the cream optional ?  can i just not use it yet , as the discomfort is not that bad.

Today , my shoulder blade still has that odd dull ache and is only very mildly sensative , could this be shingles ?  is a sore area a sympton of shingles ?  at times i'd thought it was a pulled or twisted muscle , the doctor made the diagnosis on what i'd said about the burning sensation. I did have a period in the last month when i was ill , flu like , so maybe i was a bit rundown.

Thanks for any insight or advice

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13 Replies

  • Posted


    i had shingles last year .

    the pain I had before rash was like a nerver pain very bad .the rash came out a week later ..I used the cream but you said not nice so only used it once .not sure if the tablets worked as I still got the pain.for 3weeks .and still now I get some pain now and again. I hope you don't have it because it's not nice .hope this helps a bit .


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  • Posted

    Dear Andy;

    I have had reoccurring shingles for 35 years. I'm 54. When I first heard

    your symptoms, I was teeter tottering on the diagnosis. But it was a

    possibility, it seemed. I'm not a doctor; but, I know shingles. When I hear

    you had the flu or flu-like symptoms about a month before, I'd bet

    money, it is shingles. Taking the medicine is important, and is better you take it, than not. If I could've had medicine for my 1st bout of shingles,

    omg, I would have. Hopefully, it will help to battle it; so, you never get it

    again. You do not want reoccurring Shingles! As far as the cream is concerned, I have never had a problem with it. You might be allergic to it.

    Any time you have a reaction like that, always discontinue whatever it is. I find whenever possible, have no clothing touching the area. Maybe a

    cool pack might help. Do not put heat on it. I have had numerous times I didn't break out, but, had the sensation of Shingles. Good luck, and if you have any questions, just ask. Oh, and you could tell your doctor about

    your reaction to the cream, maybe there's another one. I use Acyclovir cream. Take care.

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    • Posted

      Hi roswell , thanks for the reply , the cream i have is capsaicin and i've found out it's derived from Hot Chillie Peppers :0 hence the burning , it was applied at about 8 o'clock in the evening and was still burning at 2am in the morning !

      I think i'll give it a miss for a while and stick to the tablets.

      Did you get aching or any tender areas with shingles ?

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  • Posted

    Talk to your doctor about the cream.  Take the meds all the way though.  Keep a close eye on it and if it seems to be coming back or did not go all the way away see you doctor right away.  If it is shingles you don't want to mess around with it and time is always a factor in dealing with it. Stress is another factor so keep stress down as much a possible in your life.   Nothing is so important as your health.  Good luck. 
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  • Posted

    Dear Andy;

    Yes, and you can even have pain, and severe itching

    sensation. Also, don't believe anybody, including doctors, that you can

    only get it on one side of your body. There is one place on you body, you can get it on both sides. That's at the base of your spine. I had a severe

    bout years ago, in the shape of a horseshoe. The base of your spinal

    cord is the last set of spinal nerves, that are on both sides, in a

    horseshoe or arch shape. If you really have any serious further problems you should see an infectious disease doctor. Acyclovir cream is the generic name for Zovirax. It costs between $120 to $160 per tube. Thank

    God for prescription coverage! Burning, aching, itching, and even pain, is normal, and it , lingers. Of course, after many years of reoccurring Shingles, I am now permanently on Valtrex, to prevent outbreaks. I can still tell when an outbreak would occur, even though it doesn't, all the way. And I still get outbreaks once or twice a year. My flu shot triggers an outbreak, severe tension, in general unusual situations cause an outbreak. I also

    sometimes get mouth sores either before, after or during a Shingles

    outbreak. You will not get any burning with the creams I've stated. They

    are cool and soothing. They also help itching and discomfort or pain.

    You could just call the doc about changing it. As long as you have

    prescription coverage.

    I have outbreak now, and when it happens, I have to double up on the Valtrex pills for 5 to 7 days. Also, your site will have little or if it's a big bout,good sized white pussx-files blisters that are contagious, if touched. Or if someone comes in contact with fluid. My stepdaughter had a liver transplant, an I wore special sealed waterproof bandages. Also, my reoccurring Shingles is mostly reoccurring in the same place;but not always. I have a outbreak on my calf right now, but, have had it in my ear, near my eye

    (which is dangerous), my stomach, and my normal spot on my lower

    spine,once in the HUGE horseshoe shape. TAKE CARE OF THIS BOUT

    OF YOURS, AND FINISH ALL YOUR MEDICINE. The Shingles vaccination WILL NOT prevent reoccurring Shingles but might lessen the symptoms. Words directly from the manufacturer to my ear. If I were you, and not me,, I would get the vaccination when you're done with ur bout, just in case. I'm a lost cause, when it comes to that after having more than 50 bouts in my lifetime. Keep up the good work, of trying to get over ur bout. It's


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  • Posted

    I keep getting a burning sensation in the right side of my body. I get it in my right arm, right arm pit, shoulder, my upper & lower back. I get pains in my right breast, under my rib cage & my chest, I even get pains in my right hand. When I touch the burning sensation its tender. I've been to the doctors twice in 3 weeks & going again tomorrow. The first couple of times they examined my breasts as I was & still am getting pains in my right breast & they said it's all normal. They checked my temperature & said I had a mild temperature & the pains I was describing sounded like shingles, I have no rash though, but you can get shingles without a rash. They sent me home without doing further tests, this happened twice & im really fed up with it. They keep saying they can't find anything wrong. I've got a doctors appointment tomorrow morning & im hoping they find out what's wrong then as its really worrying me. Also I'm 25 & I've had chicken pox when I was little. I went to the doctors again today & she diagnosed me with something completely different, she said its rotator cuff syndrome, I was expecting her to say it's non rash shingles. I keep getting a burning sensation in my right arm pit & the symptoms for rotator cuff syndrome is pain in your shoulder & outer arm. I feel as though they are not understanding what I'm saying to them & it's really worrying as I always think the worst. I have a blood test next Wednesday not happy that I have to wait over a week for it, but I guess the blood test will definitely say what's wrong with me. sometimes when I take a deep breath in I felt a shooting pain, it felt like it was coming from my right armpit & shoots across my right breast, it's so painful it takes my breath away, it's a really sharp stabbing pain, this has happened a few times. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Natalie-I have almost the same exact symptoms you had-did you ever figure out if it was Shingles? I was diagnosed with Shingles and am on meds but I don't have a rash so I keep investigating smile
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    • Posted

      Natalie I know your post regarding shingles and rotator cuff issues were over a year ago. I am suffering with the exact same symptoms. They are thinking shingles without rash. I am in agony for so long. They are not even testing me. Just curious what were your end results from the test. I am taking the Valtrex and hoping this will go away. I thought it was my rotator cuff impingement but this is too much breast pain to be that. Thanks and hope you are all better!
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  • Posted

    I'm so glad I found this website today. I don't feel so alone now. I've seen my primary care doctor twice this week. Tuesday morning to follow up on my stress level, as I'm going through a terribly stressful work situation for several months now. Then I got home from work Tuesday evening and started having the same symptoms that I see people describing on this website. A dull burning ache in my right shoulder blade, which progressed the next morning to a burning ache in my right arm pit, accompanied with severe burning all around my right armpit extending behind my armpit across to my shoulder blade and upper/lower bra strap area. No rash that I could tell at that point, as I am very fair skinned and freckly. But the burning pain of just something gently brushing across my skin was very painful. My doctor briefly examined me again on Friday & said she couldn't be sure it was shingles, as there were no blisters. I think she should've used a light to examine closer because I am fair skinned and freckled. My doctor did put me on Acyclovir as it is a 3 day Labor Day weekend. Today Saturday I have small areas of a burning red rash on the front & back of my armpit crease and on a large round area on my back on top of my shoulder blade area. I have no blisters that I can see myself (but I have poor eyesight and I'm very freckly). I am going to keep taking my horse size pills and hope for the best that nothing spreads. It's amazing and sad what stress can do to you. Thank you for letting me share my shingles experience.

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  • Posted

    The cream is just to help with your symptoms so if it makes it worse don't use it!!! Keep taking the Aclovair just in case it is shingles and you will be covered either way, taking an antiviral isn't going to hurt you even if it's not shingles as long as you don't take it often.

    If it is shingles, you will break out with blisters pretty soon and you wont want a cream with chili's. (That makes no sense honestly.) Usually the cream made with chili's is used for muscle aches, not shingles. Shingles are open blisters that you would never put that cream on unless you are in to extreme torture! YIKES!

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  • Posted

    I spoke my dr ask her about shingles without rash and she said she try me on Amitriptyline 10mg tablets to take 1 at night time
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