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shingles without a rash

Is it possible to be diagnosed with shingles without having an external rash?  The pain is on my left side only in a band near my waist line.  The pain is horrific - even to the touch.  All symptoms seem to be consistent with shingles but after 2 weeks of this, there is no rash.  Narcotics, vicodin and darvocet have helped some but not completely.
157 Responses
Avatar universal
I guess I should expound a little more - the symptoms have been going on for more than a month and getting progressively worse.  My doctor has suggested shingles but is baffled that there is no rash and is hesitant to put me on antivirals.
Avatar universal

I just got diagnosed with zoster sin herpete. Basically, shingles without a rash. It does exist. Please check some of
sites on the Internet. I was amazed at how many sites there
were.  I have had to do my own research. Hope your health
imporves. Carrick
Avatar universal
I have an 18 y/o daughter that breaks out in rashless shingles during every finals time at school.  Any high stress period can put her into a case of shingles.  Sometimes she gets the rash and it's a long bout, but USUALLY when the rash doesn't show up the symptoms are shorter term.  I've had 3 different doctors diagnose the rashless shingles over the years, so I guess that's what it really is.  Good Luck!
Avatar universal
have been in severe pain 5 weeks, been to e.r. 2 times both times diagnosed shingles but no real rash,dr. sent me to muscle,bone,joint center they gave me every test there is, or so they say, on 2/2/06 the doctor threw his hands up and said theres nothing more could be done,since then i have been in deep depression,mainly in bed, cry alot, its like no one believes me,they say i have some neve damage on the left side where the pain is but not enough to be this severe,they now rule out shingles because they say it has to have a rash,
I have has the fever, chills. fatigue,I basically can not do aqnything and noone can help
hopeless in Philadelphia,PA
Avatar universal
Yes this is exactly what I have after having the zoster type one year ago , it started very very weak and 1 month later it was unbearable pain in my right hip area with no rash . I know it is related to shingles because it has moved from my back to my hip and the doctors cannot figgure it out but I convinced them to give me acyclovir and it did help. I still have pain and my skin is numb where the pain is.
Avatar universal
My mother went through a horrific case of shingles without a rash this July 07.  She is a healthy 61 year old woman who got the shingles vaccine Spring 07.  Its started out as a pain under her shouler blade.  She thought she pulled a muscle.  The pain got progressively worse (especially when she moved around) and she ended up in the ER thinking she was having a heart attack.  The doctors had no idea what was causing the pain (all tests, xrays etc. turned up negative).  Ironically, my 36 year old husband had just had a case of shingles with a rash in May and the intensity of the pain got me thinking that it seemed similar.  She had all the symptoms except for the rash (a band of pain that wrapped under her arm from her back, it was horrible when she moved and nothing helped).  Thankfully, her Dr. listened to what we thought it was (even though she did not have the classic rash) and put my mother on anit-virals.  She started getting better in 24 hours.  She ocassionally has strange sensations in that area, but is fully recovered.  It did take a good 4 weeks for her to get her energy back.  I contacted Merck to let them know that they may want to start looking into the vaccine causing less "severe" (althought the pain was severe) cases of shingles without the rash.  Some doctors will not think out of the box and if every classic symptom is not present they won't buy into the diagnosis.  I am convinced that more of these cases will start popping up because of the vaccine.  People think because they have had the vaccine that they will not get shingles, but that is far from the truth.  I hope people don't languish with this horrible illness because the anti-virals do help.  
Avatar universal
Thank you all so much for posting this information on the web about shingles. I have been having pain and sensitivity on one side of my body and I knew if I went the doctor without having an idea about what is wrong that it would cost me a small fortune. I think I have a pretty good immune system but it needs help to fight his off. I only pray that I am not left with some of the residual pain that is sometimes a side effect of this virus. This is so nice to be able to read what everyone says and benefit from it. Peace and wellness to all of you who have suffered.
Avatar universal
I think that I had shingles about 6 months ago. I kept having a severe pain on my right side and it wrapped around to my back.  I knew it wasn't my gallbladder because I don't have one.  I couldn't stand clothes touching my body.  Went to 2 different doctors and they did all sorts of blood tests and even a CT scan with dye.  Nothing showed up and they told me I didn't have shingles because I didn't have a rash.  Now the pain is not so intense but I have weird sensation on my right side, can't explain it, sometimes it just feels like something is not right.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else????
Avatar universal
I have something odd going on too. Haven't gone to the doc coz I did not have a rash.  Lots of stress this April, then suddenly my right side starts itching, burning and hurting.  Now six weeks later I have numbness.  But no rash.  I have the worst pain in the am, and can barely get out of bed.  Once I get moving I'm better.  But by eve I'm itchy and numb and in pain.  If you get any help let me know.  I hate going to the doc to hear it is in my head.  But I think I have shingles with no rash. Is there a test.
Avatar universal
Is it possible for a ten year old to have shingles without a rash??? He has been unwell for nearly a month now, but has had extremely sore neck front and back,chest and shoulders for about 2weeks. We have had two lots of blood tests all coming back normal. He is in excruiating pain mainly in the evening, he cant even stand water falling on his neck when having a shower and he definately wont let me touch it. He cries himself to sleep because he is in so much pain...painkillers arent even working. The doctors havent even brought shingles into the equation, but when I asked them, they say it is highly unlikely. I'm feeling like they think I'm making it all up...in my head or my sons head. Can I request a specific test to been done to either confirm or rule out shingles. I feel so helpless;(
Avatar universal
I have had the "flu" for over 2 1/2 weeks. I went to see a Dr., but of course there was nothing they culd do for me. The "flu" is getting progressively worse. Now I have pain on one side of my body- the right side, mostly in my hip area and in the rib area underneath my armpit. Every now and then I get chills and pain and feel cold. I am in tears as I write this because if I went to see the Dr. again, there would be nothing they could do, and I am in pain and weak and I have 3 young children to take care of. Thank you for all the information everyone wrote. It was really helpful.
Karena Lee
Avatar universal
I have been having terrible pain on my left side around my waist area.  I can't stand to have clothes on that area.  I get stabbing pain and a constant deep shooting pain all around the area.  I have been to the ER 4 times this past week and the doctor's are not listening to me.  Because I have no rash, they are ruling out shingles, but I think I have them.  I have had lots of stress lately and I believe it has come from that.  Has anyone been diagnosed with shingles that didn't have a rash and if so, what did you get to help the pain.  Nothing I have is working.

Janet C.
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