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Shingles & Post Herpetic Neuralgia

The body was made to heal itself. If your body is sore, there is a reason. Whatever the reason, when you support the body by addressing the pain at the causative level, tissue heals, pain eases, scar tissue softens, hormones and cytokines regulate. 

Healing is a marker of health. Support health to resist infections and improve the body's resources for repair.

Shingles

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that leads to chickenpox. It primarily manifests as a painful, blistering rash. Shingles occurs in individuals who have previously had chickenpox.

Shingles typically begins with the following symptoms:

  • Pain

  • Burning, tingling, or itching sensations

  • Sharp, stabbing pains

  • Sensitivity to touch

  • Numbness in the affected area

  • Light sensitivity

  • Fever and/or headache

  • Fatigue

 

Within two to three days of experiencing these initial symptoms, a painful rash develops on the skin. This rash usually appears on one side of the body, following the path of a specific skin nerve (known as a dermatome). Initially, the rash consists of painful red bumps that quickly turn into fluid-filled blisters, eventually forming a crust. The rash can persist for 10 to 15 days, longer in some cases, with the pain and discomfort of shingles can extending for months or even years, a condition known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy (FSMT) a published study on Shingles pain

In the journal Practical Pain Management, a study was published by Dr Carolyn McMakin, founder of FSM in Canada, discusses her use of this non-invasive treatment. Over years of using this method, she finds that the pain is typically relieved in two hours, and the shingles episode clearing within two days. 

 

In the case described in the journal article, Dr McMakin treats an 85-year-old patient with shingles on the scalp. He was initially diagnosed with another condition, which wasn't responding to the treatment for that condition, but it did respond to the shingles treatment, indicating that he did in fact have misdiagnosed shingles.

 

Treatment proceeded and the gentleman experienced significant pain relief within two hours. At his second treatment his pain was at 2/10 but noted that the vision in his right eye was blurry. The shingles lesions were notably less red and some had developed healing signs. His treatment was started and the pain was reduced from 2/10 to 0/10 in fifteen minutes. At the end of the treatment he reported his vision was clear, and he cancelled his appointment the next day as all pain had gone and the all the shingles lesions were showing signs of healing. 

At his two-week follow up the patient remained pain free and the lesions had fully resolved. There was no residual pain and no recurrence of shingles in any dermatome at his two-year follow up.

From Dormant to Active 

The varicella-zoster virus responsible for shingles remains dormant in the sensory ganglia of cranial or dorsal root ganglia within the peripheral nervous system. It can persist in this inactive state indefinitely until a trigger depletes the immune system and it is able to reactivate and travel along nerve fibers, leading to a fresh active infection.  Some evidence suggests that alterations in the immune system might be the catalyst for this reawakening.

What is the trigger?

In an article in Medical News Today they discuss the research articles that are emerging that pose a potential link between the increase in shingles outbreaks and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

In their article called 'What is the connection between shingles and the COVID-19 vaccine?', they make the following points:

  • 2021 systematic review notes that there is currently no definitive link between the vaccine and shingles. Still, the article states it could be an uncommon but possible event. As such, more research is necessary.

  • 2021 article reports two cases of shingles eruptions in adults after vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. In both cases, the individuals previously had chickenpox, which also results from VZV, but not shingles. While the researchers note that these cases may be a coincidence, they also highlight the potential influence of stress and the immune response to the vaccine.

  • They note that following vaccination, some people may experience lymphocytopenia or lower levels of white blood cells. The researchers add that this temporary period of lymphocytopenia may be sufficient to trigger VZV reactivation and result in a shingles flare.

  • This is consistent with another 2021 article that suggests that an immune reaction following vaccination may allow VZV to escape from its latent phase and cause a shingles eruption.

  • Furthermore, a 2021 paper on older adults and a 2021 case series on people with an autoimmune condition highlight cases of shingles following COVID-19 vaccination. While the studies cannot prove causality, they suggest that it could be a plausible but rare AEAV. While more research is necessary, these findings may indicate the requirement for further vigilance and safety monitoring, particularly for those at higher risk of shingles 

It might be wise if you are prone to this virus, to think about what nutrients and lifestyle measures may reduce your risk of shingles. If you are living a stressful life, have traumas in your history, and are not sleeping or eating well, these can be a good place to address as you move toward looking after yourself better.   

Postherpetic Neuralgia

If not effectively managed in the acute phase, shingles can result in chronic, persistent pain and discomfort, including a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN entails continuous, long-lasting pain that persists even after the skin lesions have healed. This pain can be quite severe in the area previously affected by blisters, and the skin in that region may become highly sensitive to both heat and cold. It is advisable to seek effective (preferably natural) treatment during the acute phase of the illness to mitigate these potential complications. 

The acute phase of Shingles is two weeks, anything thereafter becomes post-herpetic neuralgia - nerve damage from the viral infection, can lead to degeneration in the delicate nerve tissue. 

Secondary Bacterial Infections

Another complication that can arise is a bacterial skin infection coinciding with the rash. In rare instances, these infections can escalate to more serious issues, including tissue necrosis and scarring. When an infection occurs in close proximity to or on the eyes, it can potentially result in a corneal infection, which may lead to temporary or even permanent blindness. Seeking effective treatment at the first sign of itching and pain is a smart strategy. 

What is the medical treatment for Shingles? 

Medical treatment of shingles usually involves the use of antiviral medications that can take up to two weeks to work, together with pain medications. 

How can FSMT help?

Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy (FSMT) utilizes low-level electrical currents to help reduce the pain, inflammation, and nerve irritation associated with shingles. It has been shown to help promote the healing of tissues in the body. In the context of shingles, FSMT can be helpful in managing the symptoms and discomfort associated with the condition, and reducing the time frame of the infection.

FSMT works by delivering specific frequencies of electrical currents to the affected areas, targeting the nerves and tissues that are undergoing heightened sensitivity and inflammation due to the virus. These targeted frequencies are believed to help normalize cellular activity, reduce nerve hypersensitivity, and promote the body's natural healing processes.

By applying these specific frequencies, FSMT aims to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with shingles, as well as reduce the duration, severity and post-viral phase of the condition. Additionally, it can help improve the overall function of the affected nerves and tissues, supporting the body's ability to recover and heal more effectively.

It is important to note that FSMT should be administered by a qualified healthcare professional experienced in this therapy, as the application of specific frequencies and currents requires expertise and precision to ensure safe and effective treatment. When used appropriately, FSMT can be a valuable complementary therapy to help manage the symptoms and promote the healing process for individuals in the context of naturopathic health care.

Published paper on the use of FSM for shingles - https://frequencyspecific.com/paper/non-pharmacologic-treatment-of-shingles/

 

How is the treatment applied?

The treatment is administered through conduction using warm, damp towels apllied to specific areas of the body, such as the nerve origin and end pathway of the affected nerve/s. The current used is sub-perceptible, operating at frequencies below the threshold of human perception, so won't feel them. Clients lie down on the massage table after their Naturopathic interview, and can drift off as FSMT is applied, it can be quite a relaxing experience. 

How many sessions? 

Shingles requires two, two hour sessions in the acute phase of infection, to bring down pain, and reduce the flare time of the viral infection. Sessions are best booked in two consecutive days. If you are suffering from an acute or chronic shingles infection, please call to book your session. 

As with any condition, the sooner you seek treatment when symptoms arise, the better we can support the body's healing process. When it comes to shingles, FSMT research has found that when applied for two hours in the acute phase, the pain goes by the end of the session, and complications are reduced.  Once shingles has been around for a while, post-herpetic neuralgia is more likely to occur as a result of nerve damage, and can take longer to treat.  

Naturopathic support

Alongside your FSMT, your practitioner will put together a herbal and nutritional protocol to support your recovery. 

Prevention 

Taking proactive measures to safeguard your health can have protective effects against not only this virus but also others. Strengthening your immunity is a sensible approach to planning for the future and preventing long-term complications. If you've been exposed to this virus previously and have received two or more Covid shots, it's a prudent idea to continue proactive health maintenance, particularly during periods of increased stress. Naturopathy is a useful tool to keep in your toolbox. 

Sessions with Monica

 Monica has been working holistically and compassionately with people for over 25 years, empowering people to look after themselves. If you are seeing other specialists, working holistically can enhance the benefits of everything you are doing, Monica works alongside chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and medical care.  

Book a free15 chat to see if we can help you feel better sooner.

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