Shingles headache

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Hi everyone!  I had a very small outbreak last July of what was diagnosed by my doctor as shingles, and put on Famvir.  Since then I have had fatigue, joint pain, etc.  about 3 weeks ago I started having this burning headache, across my forehead, in my eyes, in my cheeks, lips, etc.  I went to my doc and we discussed it and he gave me some Famvir again.  Felt pretty sure that this was the "prodromal period" and we would soon see an outbreak.  Sure enough, today the small rash popped up in almost the same place as before. I have started the Famvir per his directions.  Has anyone else had this burning headache, or rather "face ache"? It is rather alarming as it is not the typical migraine sort of headache.  

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  • Posted

    I don’t get this. Is this an anti viral.

    i am concerned for you,

    i have had the torture of cranial PHN for six years,

    you have to take care of your eyes ASAP.

    this doctor sounds like a complete jerk.

    please. Please avert a tragedy if possible, the PHN and more important your eyes,.

    i would go to an ophthalmologist and competent md immediately.

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  • Posted

    Hi Teresa,

    I am sorry you have a second episode.

    You didn't state your age or if you are immunocompromised.

    Is the rash near your eye(s)?

    Where is your rash and how big is it?

    I would get your Vitamin D level checked as many of us have very low levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D does a lot more than help with bone metabolism. It is important for many body systems, including your immune system. Please get your Vitamin D level checked.

    Many people find eating a diet high in Lysine, low in Arginine helps decrease recurrent episodes of Herpes Zoster-Shingles. You can Google High Lysine Low Arginine Diet Herpes, and the diets will populate.

    I find Famciclovir-Famvir, the most efficacious antiviral and easiest to swallow.

    Teresa, when I get the Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear or right eye, I get the lancinating burning pain, that is worse than the worse migraine. I am a migraineur, so I know how horrible migraines are. A little breeze can set off terrible spasms of worse pain.

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Hi Merry!  

      ?No rash yet.  Just a small very sore area about the size of a fingerprint on my left shoulder blade.  I can feel the zaps across the T3 T4 dermatome.  The headache is strange.  Went on for about three weeks, and after a few days of antivirals-gone.  Wow.  I am on Famvir.  Also take 1000 mg L Lysine twice a day and Vit C 1000 mg twice a day.  Do you have any other tips to try to keep this at bay once the Famvir is gone.  I don't know how long he will treat me.  He said a month probably, but I am afraid that isn't enough.  The first time, back in July, I took it for 7 days.  Vit D at last check was 38.  Up from 25.  I am taking 5000 u VIT D daily.  

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    • Posted


      You are doing all the correct things, Vit D, Lysine....I hope you are not stressed, as that was a huge trigger for me. Sunlight is also a trigger. When I first got Herpes Zoster-Shingles, I had head trauma on my right side less than a year earlier. Then I started getting Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every 3-5 weeks for the past 21 years and twice in my right eye. I was not savvy regarding the Vit D, Lysine, etc for many years. I was also going through an antagonist divorce from a violent husband, fighting for custody for my son, (I won complete physical and legal custody, no visitation, in California) I was a single mother.

      The prodromal symptoms you mentioned were spot on. I learned to have a stock of Famciclovir, to start taking it when the prodromal symptoms arrived, and the episodes would not be nearly as bad.

      I found taking a maintenance dose did not help prevent recurrent Shingles.

      You might think about having the new Shingrex vaccine, which is a two injection vaccine. Your arm will be sore, and you will feel "fluish" for a couple of days. I intend to get it. It is available at pharmacies in the US.

      Best Wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for the advice Merry!  Right now I am not too stressed.  I work from home, my kids are grown, etc.  Back in July when this first came on, I was in NP school.  I went ahead at my doctor's urging and stopped school for the time being.  I had just finished my BSN and went straight into my master's program.  My doctor seems to think I wore my body out when I was younger trying to work two jobs and take care of three kids, LOL.   I was a single mother also.  The rash seems to be playing peek-a-boo and it will turn red and I will see it start to pop up and the next day it will be just red.  But oh I feel it right there under the skin.  Luckily I have not had a huge rash or a lot of pain besides the horrible headache.  

      Thanks again!


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