When I went looking online for information regarding natural remedies for shingles and pain relief for shingles, I did not find a great deal.
It seems that there are many ways that people experience shingles and it can manifest at any number of sites on our body which may explain why the experience is so diverse. Since I got my dose I have been told of people who have it on their leg, groin, shoulder, head and face. The most common site is on the torso, where mine is. One friend told me that he ended up in hospital on morphine for 3 days… and it took a week for the docs to discover what was wrong with him.
I am writing this post to describe my experience and what I did to help myself (as well as what was suggested to me), in the hope that it may help others. However I do not wish shingles upon anyone.
I had experienced a dose of shingles about 20 years ago. From memory it wasn’t that painful back then, just annoying. I thought it only occurred once. So when I was woken by an odd pain in my back, and then found a blister type thing on my torso the following day, shingles did not enter my thoughts. It started on a Thursday night, I thought I would get better over the weekend, and it didn’t improve. I phoned the doctor on Monday but couldn’t see anyone until Tuesday.
As I described my symptoms to the doctor, she said she thought she knew what it was, and then I showed her the blisters that had started to replicate, and she immediately diagnosed shingles.
The shingles had begun the night of the 2nd July and I am still in pain today (it’s 5 weeks now). But it has eased off greatly. Initially, there was intense pain oozing all over my torso on the right hand side and there was no relief. How did the pain feel? I find it hard to describe as it is the worst pain I have ever experienced. I imagine it felt like I had been continually kicked and kicked and then the bruising was being kicked. The pain was all happening on the inside of my body. The pain takes different forms in a range of sharp needle-like pain to dull thuds. It moves around a lot, like a train leaving its tracks, from the front, back, side randomly. The pain has since subsided with a remaining tight feeling happening just beneath my right breast. That pain worsens in the evenings and the early morning.
My skin looked awful but it was not itchy, sensitive or painful. I gently applied Firming Body Nourisher (a Usana Health Sciences product) daily. And I was told that coconut oil can be applied too. My skin is healing up beautifully.
Pain relief for shingles
I was told by the doctor who I saw initially, that I had presented too late (beyond 72 hours of the rash appearing) to be prescribed Aciclovir. Without any explanation, I was presented with a prescription for Nortriptyline HCL (an anti-depressant), Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
Meanwhile I was struggling to sleep due the pain in my torso. No matter what position I laid in, the pain was immense. Going to bed at night was not something I looked forward to. I was up several times at night taking pain killers. I stopped taking the Nortriptyline HCL because it made no difference. I ran out of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and ended up taking OTC Nuromol (a combination of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol) plus my husband’s Gabapentin CA. It was the Gabapentin that helped me get to sleep, but I would still wake at 2am, 4am and 6am seeking pain relief.
Natural remedies for shingles
So that was the story with pain relief. But me being me, I was also after a natural remedy to help heal.
I contacted my very good friend (an experienced and highly knowledgeable holistic doctor) Dr Bernard Willis and he suggested that I get some IV Vitamin C and B12 injections.
I found a doctor who would give me the IV Vitamin C and who also prescribed me Aciclovir (he said it would still help with the shingles). He also advised me to take L-Lysine – which inhibits the replication of the herpes zoster virus. After 3 lots of the IV vitamin C over several days, I was released.
Note: If you are unable to find a doctor who will administer IV Vitamin C, then you may wish to order Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C a high dose oral vitamin C available from johnappleton.co.nz.
(Dr Willis also suggested the following to me:
use masses doses of vitamin C,up to 20,000mg orally ,or 50gms IV if poss,
with sublingual B12 5-10,000mcgm daily
with thiamine 1800 mg daily
plus capsaicin cream locally.
Useful drugs are gabapentine, amitryptiline and tegretol.)
During that time I had started chiropractic treatment for another matter. Dr Rosina Walker at Hawke’s Bay Chiropratic mentioned that aloe vera juice (one cup daily) was meant to be soothing for shingles.
Another friend mentioned a warm honey drink to help heal skin, and to increase vitamin D3 dosage to deal with the virus. Another friend suggested a homeopathic remedy. It was also suggested to try turmeric for pain relief. Another suggestion was “Body Talk“.
I had already increased my Vitamin C intake, as well as my trusty favourite, olive leaf. I also added in a new immune support product from Usana Health Sciences. And continued to take my usual daily supplements.
I began what Dr Bernie Willis had suggested – 2 or 3 vitamin B12 injections daily until the pain has gone. Getting the B12 vials was a challenge. Even though they can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription the pharmacists were reluctant. I did get them, and my poor husband injected me (they do sting going in).
No-one could tell me how long I would take to recover from shingles.
Pain relief is a matter of trial and error.
Natural remedies may or may not work.
The knowledge I have since gained would have been more helpful to me at the very beginning.
As I have recently moved areas, I have not found a holistic doctor in my locality who would carry out my instructions (I thought I had found one, but he did not 100% comply).
I have not found a time line for shingles e.g. how long the virus attacks, how long to recover, how to prevent.
Surviving Shingles by Chris D Meletis
Tips for managing shingles
Natural Treatments for shingles (including what foods to avoid)
Shingles Pictures Slideshow: A Collection of Photos on Shingles