Hi, I am a fairly healthy 32 year old female. About 11 years ago, I had a Shingles infection during my pregnancy, I had several small lesions on the outer part of my left thigh. It went away after a few weeks and wasn't a very eventful situation. I didn't think about it for years. Since then, I have had numbness, tingling, loss of sensation and a "fire" sensation that radiates from the top of my outer left thigh and down to just above my knee- I also lose sensation in my toes on my left foot from time to time for no particular reason. For years, I sought medical treatment, had an MRI, saw a neurologist and no one could find anything obviously wrong. I was in the military at the time and one of the neurologists suggested that wearing my boots every day was possibly pressing on or irritating a small nerve at my ankle. I am a very active person, thin and muscular and exercise regularly. I changed the style of boot that I wore for work, changed my athletic shoes and hoped for the best. I've always had the sensations, but tried as best as I could to just ignore them. About a year ago, I had a really hard time with the burning and tingling and it was keeping me up at night, so I went back to my primary doc. When talking about my symptoms, I mentioned that I had Shingles in the past and pointed out where the lesions were- there are still scars. He diagnosed me with Postherpetic Neuralgia and put me on a small dose of Elavil-25 mg to be taken at night. Maybe it was just in my head, but it seemed to work really well for a month or so. I was still having symptoms, but they weren't as frequently bothering me and they weren't as bad. Just recently, I've starting having a "flare up" or something of my symptoms. The burning, tingling, pins and needles feeling is back full force and now I'm also having left buttock pain and total numbness in my left toes for longer periods of time. For the last two days, I've also had this sharp, deep stabbing pain right in the center of my left lateral quadricep (about where the lesions were). The pain is quick, less than a second long and comes and goes regardless of my movement or position. Can PHN pain change over time? I thought that once the damage was done, it was done. I'm also starting to be concerned that my symptoms may be from something else, but what could it be? When I had the MRI, they looked from my hips down. Could this be a nerve in my back, pinched or inflamed? Thanks in advance.
Hi, Thank you very much for your question. Post herpetic neuralgia appears at skin after the outbreak of shingles (herpes). It starts when herpes crusted over and in fact it may even appear after absence of herpes virus. It will be best that you consult a neurologist and treatment options could be anticonvulsants such as gabapentin, antidepressants and topical lidocaine lotion. Now a day, few recent treatments could be rhizotomy (cutting the affected nerve to relieve pain) and TENS (a electrical pulse therapy). Hope this helps.
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