Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

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Shingles appear as a rash, most commonly affecting either side of your torso, but it can also affect the area surrounding the eye. Individuals whose immune systems have been compromised by another medical condition or conditions have a greater risk of developing shingles. More than half of the cases occur in men and women older than sixty.

Prior to developing a rash, symptoms of shingles may include a headache, fever, chills, and sensations of tingling, itching, and pain in the affected area. Shingles can be very painful and side effects can linger for months if not treated within a few days after the first symptoms appear.


Although health complications related to shingles are rare, they can occur.

The most common complication is a condition called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is pain due to injury to the peripheral nerves. Individuals with PHN experience severe pain in the areas where the shingles rash appeared, even after the rash has cleared. It can last for months, and in severe cases, years.

The intensity and duration of postherpetic neuralgia are in most cases linked to your age and how quickly your shingles are diagnosed; therefore, if you suspect you may have shingles, do not delay! Contact your physician or urgent care center as soon as possible.

How We Can Help

At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience treating patients with shingles and its possible complications.

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options to help ease your symptoms, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2

Additional Resources:

Study: A randomized controlled trial of a multifaceted integrated complementary-alternative therapy for chronic herpes zoster-related pain. Alternative Medicine Review
Study: Acupuncture for the treatment of severe acute pain in herpes zoster: results of a nested, open-label, randomized trial in the VZV Pain Study. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Website: National Shingles Foundation
Website: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Shingles