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Had shingles around torso and having back spasms. Very painful while lying down. Is it shingles or back issue?

Dec 2012
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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1694 Questions
I have had shingles around my torso since Aug. 18th. The rash isn't red anymore, but it's still visible. Two weeks ago, I started having middle ( on the left side) back spasms,. At first I thought it was a pinched nerve, but now I'm wondering if it's from the shingles. The pain isn't like I felt at the rash, it's a SPASM that is VERY PAINFUL. It always starts at night when I go to lay down. How can I determine if it's shingles or a back issue?
Posted Fri, 18 Oct 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Postherpetic neuralgia is most likely

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for posting your query,

It is with great pleasure that I am replying to your posted query.
Postherpetic neuralgia is painful sensation at the area where you had a shingles or herpes zoster infection. Postherpetic neuralgia occurs when the nerves have been damaged after an outbreak of shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia is more likely to occur in people over age 50.
The pain can range from mild to very severe. It may continue, or come and go. The pain is described as a deep aching, burning, stabbing, or feeling like an electric shock. People with this pain are very sensitive to touch or temperature changes.
I described the above typical presentation of the pain in order to help you differentiate if you are having a cramp-like back pain or postherpetic neuralgia as I suspect.
As for the treatment options, anticonvulsant drugs, usually used for seizures, may help with the pain of damaged nerves. Gabapentin and pregabalin are the ones most often used to treat postherpetic neuralgia.

You could also seek doctor's advise after he has physically examined you to determine exactly what you maybe having.

Hope this helps and wish you the best.
Dr. Nsah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had shingles around torso and having back spasms. Very painful while lying down. Is it shingles or back issue? 28 minutes later
My pain is more cramp like and the location is right under my line of rash. Would the pain be like that from shingles and does the pain have to be on the rash? Thank youforresponding so quickly.
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 25 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Postherpetic pain will hardly be with cramps

Detailed Answer:

Like I earlier described, it is unlikely that the pain can cramp and it is usually found exactly on the spots where the shingles had occurred. So in my revised opinion (after reading your follow-up), I believe that it may be muscle twitching which could also be as a result of nerve damage (still probably due to the shingles). Since neuromuscular system is responsible for muscle movements, it is also possible that due to the damage from viral infection, the nerve supplying the part of the muscles suffering from cramps might have been damaged hence your current painful symptom.
I do believe that treatment will be the same.
How ever, I suggest you see a doctor for closer physical exams and treatment.

Hope this helps and wish you the best.
Dr. Nsah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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