Learn about getting a comprehensive orofacial pain evaluation and become an educated patient.
After you have had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of shingles. PHN is pain resulting from a herpes zoster outbreak (shingles) along the trigeminal nerve. Postherpetic neuralgia occurs if your nerve fibers are damaged during an outbreak of shingles.
Damaged fibers cannot send messages from your skin to your brain as they normally do. Instead, the messages become confused and exaggerated, causing chronic pain. The most common area to have PHN is along the torso, but pain in the face can also occur. The sensation may be of intense burning or stabbing, and it may feel as if it is shooting along the course of the affected nerve.
PHN typically starts during the shingles outbreak, but lasts after the rash and blisters have healed. Chicken pox causes shingles later in life. People over the age of 60 have an increased risk of shingles. Treatment for PHN does not cure it, but aims to minimize its symptoms.
Symptoms are usually limited to the area of skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred and may include:
Medication can help to alleviate the pain of PHN, including anti-seizure medications, antiviral agents, antidepressants, and opioid pain relievers. The pain of PHN can be lessened with anticonvulsants, because they are effective at calming nerve impulses and stabilizing abnormal electrical activity in the nervous system caused by injured nerves. Gabapentin, or Neurontin, and pregabalin, also known as Lyrica, are commonly prescribed to treat this type of pain. Topical patches containing lidocaine, or other pain relievers, are also very effective.
The therapies listed are not proven to help PHN, but you may want to investigate these options.
In most cases, the pain will gradually go away. There is a small risk the pain will return intermittently, or be with you for the rest of your life. However, the majority of patients experience no postherpetic neuralgia pain within one year.
Dr. Derek Steinbacher, Director of Craniofacial Surgery, Yale Medicine, Chief of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry, FPA Medical Advisory Board member, reviews migraines, TMJ disorders, and dental pain.
Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke will discuss medical treatment of trigeminal neuropathic pain with Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D. Ph.D. is Chair of Neurology, Global Development Scientific Council at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology; Attending Physician, Duke Neurology Clinics and Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy, serving patients there for over 17 years.
Dr. Mark Linskey, Dr. Richard Zimmerman, and Megan Hamilton discuss what to look for in the decision making process when you are trying to find a doctor and treatment for facial pain.
Dr. Larry Arbeitman will answer: What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic? How does is differ from traditional Chiropractic methods? Learn about the connection between the Upper Cervical Spine and Facial Pain, research and case studies, what you can expect from UCC and how you can integrate it into your healthcare plan. You will also be able to ask Dr. Arbeitman your questions during this live presentation.
In this webinar, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the FPA Medical Advisory Board, talks about the top questions patients and their loved ones have regarding trigeminal neuralgia.
Dr. Raymond Sekula, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of the Cranial Nerve Disorders Program at UPMC, and FPA Medical Advisory Board member reviews the challenges that can complicate the care of people with neuropathic facial pain.
Dr. Deborah Barrett offers a framework and tools to help people improve their quality of life, just as they are, while also reducing pain and suffering. Her work draws from empirically based cognitive and behavioral interventions, and she practices what she preaches every day.
Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the Facial Pain Association’s Medical Advisory Board, interviews Dr. Hossein Ansari on medical causes of neuropathic facial pain.
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Neuropathic facial pain is diagnosed almost exclusively by the individual’s description of the symptoms. Dr. Kim Burchiel developed a list of questions to help doctors determine exactly which classification may describe a […]
Jennifer M. Wagner, Executive Director of the Western Pain Society, explains the brain-body connection with an emphasis on pain response and provides a list of strategies for those affected by chronic pain.
Facial pain can be described in many words…but if you had to choose just one, what would it be? The YPC recently shared how we would describe TN in one word and how we plan to overcome TN.
Dr. Julie Pilitsis, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Professor of Neurosurgery Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical Center and FPA Medical Advisory Board member presents an overview of trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic facial pains.
Dr. Konstantin Slavin discusses neuromodulation, a procedure used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain.
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