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Can You Have Shingles without Pain?

Can You Have Shingles without Pain?


You CAN have shingles without pain.

More Info: It is possible for you to have shingles without experiencing pain.  Once the visible skin rash caused by the herpes zoster virus ends, the symptoms of shingles can continue.  If you are experiencing a persistent itch but no pain, it is possible that you have a condition known as postherpetic itch.

Persistent Itching

Postherpetic itch occurs when the nerve tissue has been damaged by shingles.  This can result in an extreme itch that will not go away.  Some people with this condition have experienced an itching sensation that lasts for years.  There is a danger in continuing to scratch yourself if you have postherpetic itch; patients have injured themselves by repeatedly scratching the same area.

Damaged Nerves

If you have postherpetic itch, your nerves have been heavily damaged.  95% were killed by your shingles, and the remaining 5% have become hyperactive.  It is possible that the itching sensation occurs because the remaining nerve fibers are the ones responsible for conveying itchiness.  The symptom may also be caused by the brain misinterpreting the frantic activity of the 5% of nerves that remain.

Difficult Treatment

While it may be tempting to conclude that you are lucky if your experience of shingles does not include pain, this may not be true.  It is much harder to find medications that effectively alleviate itching than it is to find painkillers.  You may be able to find relief through the application of a topical anesthetic.  However, this treatment carries a risk.  You will also be unable to feel pain and this might cause you to injure yourself without realizing it.




“Postherpetic Itch | Ross Lab.” Ross Lab. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <>.


“Shingles (Herpes Zoster) | Health Services | Administrative Offices | Clark University.” Clark University | One of 40 “Colleges that Change Lives”. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <>.



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