question-icon

What causes pain in arm pit when suffering from shingles?

default
Posted on Mon, 28 Jul 2014
Question: I am 87 years of age and a male.

About two years ago I had a severe case of shingles which was treated by my local Doctor who advised that I would probably experience some ongoing nerve pains.

This has happened and now two years later I get a sharp pain near my left arm pit about two or three times every day – do any of your specialists have any advice on how these pains could be stopped ?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda (20 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
local therapy can be tried.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would like to answer your query.
You seem to have suffered from shingles two years back. Before advising anything, I require further details. Now I have few questions.
1. Was there pain immediately after or is this the first time?
2. Is the pain in the same area, where the shingles lesions were present previously?
3. Is the pain related to any specific time or to any work.
4. Are you on any medications?

If it were to be nerve pain due to shingles, I would advise lidocaine local cream or gel, or capsacin cream.
Systemic oral therapy can be started based on your medication history and possible risk versus benefit.
Do let me know these details so I can help you further.
Dr. Prakash HM

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda (18 hours later)
Dear Doctor,

Thanks for your advice and I respond as follows to your questions -
The sharp nerve pain has been with me for nearly two years and first appeared about one month after the shingles first identified.
The intermittent sharp pains occur beneath my left armpit towards the chest area and not on my back where the shingles were visible.
No specific time for repeated pains but more noticeable in early morning.
I am taking some tablets subscribed by my local Doctor to control blood pressure.
I look forward to your further comments. XXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Topical agents are useful.

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX
The prolonged history you have provided confirms the diagnosis of shingles induced neuropathy.
Shingles involves a neurotome - a single nerve supplying a specific area and pain will be there around the lesions, but can affect any part of the body. It does not shift location and is usually constant. So this appears to be neuropathy.

Neuropathic pain is almost always constant and when busy, your mind would be off it. When relaxed, the pain will be felt and feels like an issue.

I do not want to prescribe certain anti-psychotic or anti-epileptic drugs (which may be prescribed in young), which can cause severe side effects like dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, memory loss, sedation, etc. I would ask you to try local therapy only.

As you have tolerated shingles this long without any medication, I think it might be mild to moderate pain. These topical agents are known to function well in mild to moderate pain.

1. Capsaicin cream 0.075% for local application during severe pain phase. - It could feel burning sensation.
2. Topical lidocaine or lidocaine patches sustained release also can be used.
3. You can take oral NSAIDs painkillers, during severe pain - Regular use can cause gastritis.

Apply these local medications over the area of maximum pain and try one at a time. Prescription can be obtained from your doctor.


Any further queries, happy to help again.
If you do not require any further clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer.
Dr. Prakash HM



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda

Geriatrics Specialist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2138 Questions

premium_optimized

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
What causes pain in arm pit when suffering from shingles?

Brief Answer: local therapy can be tried. Detailed Answer: Hi, I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would like to answer your query. You seem to have suffered from shingles two years back. Before advising anything, I require further details. Now I have few questions. 1. Was there pain immediately after or is this the first time? 2. Is the pain in the same area, where the shingles lesions were present previously? 3. Is the pain related to any specific time or to any work. 4. Are you on any medications? If it were to be nerve pain due to shingles, I would advise lidocaine local cream or gel, or capsacin cream. Systemic oral therapy can be started based on your medication history and possible risk versus benefit. Do let me know these details so I can help you further. Dr. Prakash HM