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Friday, 27 March 2015

Shingles? For treatment, choose between conventional drugs and homeopathic remedies.

Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus, herpes zoster. The virus infects a nerve, and the area of skin supplied by that nerve, causing pain. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the pastcan develop shingles. It can affect any part of the body, usually just on one side, but commonly affects the chest or abdomin, or the upper face. The usual symptoms are pain, t ender skin, and a rash.

The pain which can vary from mild to severe is usually localised, and runs along the line of the infected nerve. It can be accompanied by sharp stabbing pains. The condition typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

Conventional Medical Treatment of Shingles
NHS Choices says honestly that there is no conventional medical cure for shingles. The treatment it ofers "can help ease your symptoms until trhe condition improves. In many cases, shingles gets better within around two to four weeks". Even so, it says that although there is no treatment you should see a doctor "as early treatment may help reduce the severity of the condition and the risk of potential complications". For this it offers various self-care strategies, such as keeping the rash clean and dry, using topical antibiotics, and using calamine lotion.

There can be complications to the condition, including postherpetic neuralgia, where the nerve pain persists after the rash has gone.

Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral drugs, such as aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir, are sometimes prescribed, although these do not kill the virus, but stops it was multiplying, and so may reduce the severity of the condition, or reduce its longevity. However, they are not routinely prescribed as they are not considered necessary for milder forms of the condition. They are prescribed for older people, if it affects the eye or ear, or if the pain or rash are severe. It is also thought that might prevent postherpetic neuralgia, but NHS Choices admits that there is only 'uncertain' evidence for this.

NHS Choices also outline the side effects of antiviral medication, including:
• feeling sick
• vomiting
         • diarrhoea
         • abdominal pain
         • headaches
          • dizziness

Pregnant women are not usually presecribed antiviral drugs because of the possible side effects.

Children are also not usually prescribed antiviral drugs.

Painkilling drugs
NHS Choices says the painkillers might be prescribed to ease the pain caused by shingles, usually paracetamol, or NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen, or even Opoid painkillers, such as codeine. But the side effects of all these painmilling drugs are outlined as a precaution.

Antidepressant drugs
These are prescribed as it believed that they can be useful in relieving the nerve pain associated with shingles. The type usually used at tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline, imipramine and nortriptyline. Yet there is, again, a warning about the side effects these drugs can include:
• constipation
• difficulty urinating
• blurred vision
dry mouth
• weight gain
• drowsiness

Anticonvulsant drugs
Although usually used control seizures and epilepsy, it is also thought that anticonvulsant drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin can be useful in relieving nerve pain. However, NHS Choices warns about their side effects:
• dizziness
• drowsiness
• increased appetite
• weight gain
• feeling sick
• vomiting

There are no such problems with the use of Homeopathy for the treatment of shingles.

Homeopathic Treatment of Shingles
Note. Homeopathy does not treat illness or diseases. It treats an individual who has been diagnosed with a particular illness or disease. The distinction is important. 

Homeopathy works by matching the symptoms of illness with the known symptoms of remedies. These short remedy descriptions may guide you to a remedy that can work for you, but consulting with a qualified homeopath will enhance the chances of a good match. When a close match is found the remedy will work successfully, without any side effects, or adverse reactions.

Ranunculus bulbosus
This remedy is considered to be the most important homeopathic remedies for the treatment of shingles. It is is indicated for shingles when the rash is deeply inflamed, accompanied with stabbing pains, often on the ribcage. The eruptions are often bluish in colour.

Rhus tox
This is a common remedy used in the treatment of shingles. It can relieve the itching and pains associated with the condition. The rash consists of small, red fluid-filled vesicles, or blisters, that break when scratched, spreading the infection. The patient is often restless, changing positions often to seek relief. It is useful in Shingles that is predominantnly left sided, and hot baths and warm compresses can bring temporary relief.

Iris versicolor 
This remedy is indicated when the rash is right sided, on the abdomen, and under the right arm. The shingles is often accompanied by abdominal upset or problems with the pancreas.

Arsenicum album 
This remedy is indicated when the patient suffers terrible burning pains along the nerve pathway. Pains are often made better with the application of warm compresses. The patient may be restless, anxious, thirsty for cold drinks, and afraid to be alone.

Clematis erectu
This remedy alleviates shingles pains that are burning, with red blisters that become aggravated, especially at night time, and are ameliorated with the application of cold water. A common feature indicating the use of this remedy is when the shingles may be accompanied by urinary tract complaints.

Apis mellifica 
This remedy is indicated when the rash is bright pink, swollen, itchy and produces stinging pains made better by cool compresse, but aggravated by warmth.

This remedy is indicated for a shingles rash where the blisters are oozing, bright red, and made worse by hot applications. The rash is often accompanied by terrible itching made better with the application of cool compresses.