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Sore neck, headache, face rashes, shingles symptoms, on famvir

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I've had a sore neck/headache for about 9 days now, no fever and It's getting better but I still notice it's lingering, Friday I had a rash on my face and I thought it was shingles because I had it on my back about 2 months ago so they gave me famvir and I've been taking it, not a severe headache, but it's more in my neck and shoulders. What could this be?
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query. Since you had shingles 2 months back, it is very less likely for this rash to be shingles because people who get shingles develop immunity to the varicella zoster virus and will not get it again. Only about 4 percent of people will have another outbreak and these include immunocompromised people or those who are on chemotherapy. A second outbreak of shingles may occur many years after the first outbreak and it is very less likely to appear after 2 months. It appears in a different location that the first rash. So for this facial rash, to rule out shingles and confirm the diagnosis (which may be due to other viral infections) you need to get it examined from a dermatologist.

Regarding the headache at the back of head, neck and shoulders, such a headache is cervicogenic (meaning: from the neck) headache because it often originates from an irritation in the upper cervical (neck) spine. This is because the nerves that supply the back of the head originate in the upper cervical spine. It can be due to prolonged sitting in a stooped posture as when working on a keyboard for long hours, compression of the nerve in the neck (causes referred pain to the shoulders and arms) or a last cause could be due to post herpetic neuralgia which occurs after an attack of shingles and may be due to nerve damage caused by herpes zoster.

You need to get a nerve conduction velocity test and a MRI of the cervical spine done to confirm the diagnosis. Till then give rest to the part, try wearing a cervical collar and give cold compresses to the site of pain. You can also take some non steroidal anti inflammatory pain killers and muscle relaxants. Local application of muscle relaxant gel may also be useful.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
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