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I have PHN in my chest and back after shingles in October 2016. I'm getting better, slowly, but yesterday I fell. Yes, directly onto my hand, elbow, should, and of course my front left rib area, where the PHN is. I got the wind knocked out of me too. I had tripped over a raised sidewalk, in our neighborhood, and sadly, it wasn't until the third car that someone stopped. I was only a half block from home, so the driver took my dog, while I walked next to him.

The pain was intense--about how it was during my worst shingles. My first thought was--broken ribs or pain from the nerves, which is this? I've had a previous rib injury and worked in healthcare for over 30 years, so I know there's nothing that can be done, unless it's a truly broken rib that can cause injury to the organs. I did call my doctor's office, she agreed with me, but of course told me to call back if it worsened.

As the evening went on, the pain (and tears) increased. Moving, walking, using the toilet was extremely painful. I was incredibly discouraged--FINALLY after almost a year I was getting better and now this! So, ribs or nerves? It didn't matter too much, as there was nothing I could do, but emotionally, it was hard.

Surprisingly, I slept pretty well, once I settled in. Oh yeah, lying down was loads of fun, but my previous experience with my rib injury and the PHN in that area helped me know how to move.

Good news!! Today, the pain is greatly decreased! I did ice it yesterday, which helped, but now I know that part of that intense pain WAS from the PHN/nerves. I did injure myself, so yes it hurt and still does hurt, but the worse of it was temporary. I'll still be limited for the next 1-3 weeks. I have a ballroom competition at the end of the month, so that was one of my first concerns. I had to stop dancing for 6 months after my shingles, so I'm really hoping I can get back on the dance floor.

So if you suffer trauma to the area with PHN, realize that the worst may only be temporary. When I hit that sidewalk, it set off a firestorm of nerves that lasted 8 hours. But in the morning, it had settled down.

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  • Posted

     Babs, I am so sorry that happened to you!  You were doing so well getting back to the ballroom dancing.  I cringe just thinking about added pain in the PHN area,  Sure hope you are on the mend and compete.  I have a skin cancer in the PHN area that I am concerned about.  I tried a topical cream that was prescribed and that set off a fire storm as you described it.  Next step would be surgery to remove it.  The thought of cutting into that very sensitive area makes me procrastinate.  Soon I will have to deal with it.!  Anyone have any suggestions?   Best wishes that you can compete!


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    • Posted

      Oh no Ruth, what a quandary. I wish I had a suggestion. Maybe someone else can. I am feeling more worn out today. We're out of town, so I had to pack and make some dessert. I fell asleep in the car, which hasn't happened in months. Right now, I feel that fall set me back to how I felt back in March . I'm trying to remember everything Charlie suggested about reframing our thoughts. Just because I hurt this much today doesn't mean it will be as bad tomorrow. At 

      least I can find some comfortable positions.

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  • Posted

    I've learned something through all this. I definitely had two issues, one the normal pain from the injury to my left front ribs AND the PHN which gets extremely painful if I do something more to that rib area. My lab mix tried to jump up on me and pushed his paw into the exact spot where the most pain was. Wow, that pain storm lasted about 5 minutes. When it was done, I still hurt but not as it had before it. Then, trying to get out of a recliner I realized that instead of being comfortable, I set myself up for misery when I had to change positions and get out. That lasted about 15 minutes and was as bad as when I first fell. Now the good news is, that my ribs are better, plus, I'm learning how to move more carefully to avoid making the pain worse. The bad news is now I can notice the PHN more. Charlie, I keep trying to keep those positive thoughts.

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  • Posted

    Hi Babs,  sounds like you are somehow learning to deal with this newest setback.  Gosh, I can only try to imagine the pain you have had.  I think Charlie's ideas have helped us all.  I know they have me.  Reframing our thoughts has helped me thru a week that would have previously had me down.  Pain is still the same but I am dealing with it better.  Are you still aiming for the dance competition ?  I sure hope so.  I am aiming for a trip to see my sons new second home in CA.  Don't know when but sometime in my future!

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    • Posted

      Yes, I am hoping to dance. I don't think I can use my gorgeous new (bought used) dress, as it's very form fitting and trying to wiggle and pull into it would be too painful. But I have another dress I'm having altered so it fits better and I'll be fine in that. My husband thinks it's not a good idea, but I'll try and have a lesson next week and see how that goes.

      Yesterday was a bit better, today, not as much. I also learned, don't sneeze! AND don't hold in a sneeze! Oh, yeah, those are my only two choices...Hey, anyone want to come and help walk and exercise our 14 month old 80 lab/hound mix?? "A tired dog is a good dog" and between hubby's bum knee and my latest trial, he's not getting enough exercise. But WE are by taking things away from him like slippers and papers. We have the house 98% puppy proofed but sometimes we forget. We may just pay the $28 bucks to put him in doggy day care for the day, which really wears him out.

      Keep planning that trip, that can be half the fun. I hope you're able to do it sometime in the near future. I do have a mantra "you're going to be sick/feel lousy anyway, why not do it somewhere you can to be?" Obviously, you have to make good choices, but we were supposed to spend the weekend visiting our daughter and her husband. Hubby thought we should stay home, I explained how I couldn't help at all, but they still wanted to see us, well at least they wanted to see the dog! So we went out. It wasn't an ideal visit, but I was glad we went. Staying at home would have been really hard.

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