Shingles, What Can Acupuncture Do?
Shingles, aka Herpes Zoster is a painful skin rash that, left un-treated sometimes causes long-term nerve damage and nerve pain.
Acupuncture can help avoid long-term nerve damage and nerve pain in patients who have acute (early)-onset Shingles.
It is best to have acupuncture treatments right away, in order for optimal results…Waiting too long may result in nerve damage and long-term nerve pain which may include burning, tingling pain and headaches, sometimes lasting months to years…
Acupuncture may still help at this point, though it will be limited to reducing symptoms, not resolving them once long-term nerve damage has taken place.
How Acupuncture Works:
Stimulates nerves which releases endorphins
Increases microcirculation in local area to disperse swelling
Acupuncture treats according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) patterns of disease
Acupuncture treats Shingles by treating the overall TCM pattern of Wind Heat and by clearing Blood Heat. It also treats the Channels (energy pathways) and local areas affected.
Conventional (Western Medicine) Treatment:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds
- Prescription narcotics
- Antihistamines (for itching)
- Anti-viral drugs at onset (may reduce severity)
Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles looks like a red rash, usually on one side of the body around the ribs, scalp, face, neck and arm (possibly lower body).
Pain or tingling
Red rash over painful area of the body, days later
Red bumps blister and crust over
Cause of Shingles
Shingles is from the latent virus that causes chickenpox. Once you have had chickenpox, the virus can survive and sort of hang out in your body inside nerve cells- for years!
- A weak immunity and advanced age
- Higher risk of a complication called Postherpetic Neuralgia http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postherpetic-neuralgia/basics/definition/con-20023743 after age 50
Tips to Use at Home
- Apply a tincture of myrrh to the affected area 3x daily
- Visit a licensed acupuncturist during acute (early) stage
- Apply topical capsaicin cream
- Apply turmeric paste (may stain)
- A vaccine is available called Zostavax (50% success rate)
Prompt treatment is important to avoid complications, especially if severe, whether seeking Acupuncture treatment as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Western Medical treatment.
Written by Aleesha Ackerman, LAc.
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This article is not intended to replace any health care.
No information on this site should be relied on to determine medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. As with any health concerns, always be sure to consult your health care provider with any health concerns.
Licensed Acupuncturists Serving Andover, Anoka, Big Lake, Blaine, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Dayton, East Bethel, Elk River, Fridley, Ham Lake, Isanti, Minneapolis, Now Then, Oak Grove, Maple Grove, Osseo, Saint Francis, Saint Paul, Spring Lake Park and Ramsey, MN 55303.
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