If you have had chickenpox earlier, you are at a higher risk of getting shingles. Shingles is an infection caused by varicella-zoster virus which is the same virus that also causes chicken pox. After the chicken pox episode, the varicella-zoster virus may remain dormant in the body and get activated in cases of a weakened immune system resulting in shingles.

Shingles is medically termed Herpes Zoster. This is a viral infection characterized by skin rash, burning, and pain. Shingles take up the form of blisters along the nerve root causing post-herpetic neuralgia. This is associated with nerve-like pain which is quite difficult to deal with. If left untreated, it may get complicated at times affecting eyes and causing vision loss.  Homeopathic medicines for shingles help in providing relief symptomatically and are best suited in chronic cases of shingles.

Role of homeopathy in shingles

Homeopathy plays an important role in controlling shingles and complications of post-herpetic neuralgia. Homeopathic remedies work naturally to help in the management of herpes zoster to a great extent. It is best suited in recurrent and chronic cases of shingles which tend to reappear in the form of blisters. Taking homeopathy along with conventional antiviral medications can work effectively in controlling herpes zoster and shingles. It is important to address the issues of herpes zoster at an initial stage before it gets complicated.

If you have been taking anti-viral medicines for shingles for a long time, coupling it up with homeopathic medicines under the guidance of a professional homeopathy doctor can help in treating shingles. Homeopathic treatment for shingles is a safe and gentle, yet effective mode of treatment that works to reduce the intensity of symptoms. It helps in clearing up the infection from the root cause of the problem with no side effects.

Six best effective homeopathic medicines for shingles

Rhus toxicodendron

Common name: Poison ivy

Rhus tox. helps in treating chronic skin lesions of Herpes Zoster. It is especially suited for itching, burning, and neuropathic pain. It is suggested in cases of post-herpetic neuralgia. Rhus tox. is indicated in cases of active herpes zoster on the right side.

There is herpetic neuralgia alternating with gastric disturbances, and pain in the chest. There is pain as if pierced with hot needles, increase in eruptions on rubbing or touching the lesion. The itching gets better with the application of cold water. There is a feeling of smarting pain on active blisters with skin rash.

Ranunculus bulbosus

Common name: Buttercup

Ranunculus bulb. is suited for bluish blisters or vesicles with intense itching. It is indicated for pustular eruptions with whitish discharge and extensive pus. It has blue blisters that are painful to touch. There is a great deal of burning with itching which is worsened on touch or any form of contact to the affected area. The lesions are mainly located on the trunk and confined to the chest wall. They are triggered by exposure to cold air.

Mezereum

Common name: Daphne mezereum

Mezereum is recommended for burning neuropathic pain. The eruptions are tender to the touch with extreme soreness. The discharge from the blisters is acrid, sticky, and gluey with thick crusts and scabs. There is scab formation over the blisters with the presence of pus beneath.

This is indicated for intense itching over the affected area which is worsened by warmth. The crusty eruptions with pus have white scabs on the top which bleed on touch. The pain is very peculiar with the specific sensation of insects crawling under the skin.

Croton tiglium

Common name: True cotton

Croton tig. is indicated for eruptions that have stinging, smarting, and burning pain. The vesicles and pustules have seropurulent discharge which are extensive and run along the nerve root causing neuropathic pain.

There is formation of thick scabs with extensive peeling of skin and redness. The blisters are present in clusters with oozing pus which extends to the face and other parts of the body. There is the formation of large brown scabs with peeling of skin followed by burning pain.

Dulcamara

Common name: Bittersweet nightshade

Dulc. is suited for herpes zoster after being exposed to cold wet weather. Herpetic eruptions worsened at night and were better by moving about. The eruptions are thick, crusty, and moist which are mainly worsened before menses. The blister eruptions are thick, brownish yellow which started to bleed on scratching.

Natrum muriaticum

Common name: Sodium chloride granule

Nat. mur. is recommended for herpes zoster case which is worsened on folds, bent, and curved parts such as flexures. Vesicles and blisters contain watery fluid with thin flakiness on the skin and crusty. Blisters are present with burning spots on the skin and pain. The eruptions are very crusty and dry mainly on the folds and joint bends of the limbs. They also extend to the scalp mainly affecting the hairline margins.

Causative factors of shingles

  • Weakened immune system
  • Emotional stressors leading to inflammatory conditions
  • Age is 60 years or above
  • Being prone to infection
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Long-term cancer treatment or chemotherapy treatment
  • Post-surgical effects like organ transplant
  • Long-term intake of corticosteroids which weakens the immune system
  • Chronic conditions such as HIV or auto-immune conditions

Symptoms of shingles

  • Red rash which may get pink, dark brown, or purplish blue
  • Pain typically on one side of the body along a dermatome
  • Itching present on the affected area
  • Presence of fluid-filled blisters which break easily
  • Pain or rash involving the torso, chest, and abdomen
  • Pain on rash along the nerve causing neuralgic pain causing post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Red swollen skin, tender, and sore to touch
  • A rash may extend to the face, ears, eyes, scalp, back, and buttocks
  • Permanent eye damage with loss of vision
  • Intense pain in one ear with loss of hearing
  • Dizziness with balancing issues
  • Weakness of facial nerves
  • Sensitivity of scalp to comb hair
  • Loss of taste in tongue due to affected nerve
  • Extreme burning sensation
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache and malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep due to itching, pain, and burning
  • Muscular weakness

Treatment for shingles

  • Antiviral medications for symptomatic relief.
  • NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory medications to ease pain and swelling.
  • Painkillers to relieve pain.
  • Corticosteroids for immunosuppression.
  • Antihistamines for itching.
  • Anticonvulsants to treat neuropathic pain.
  • External ointment with numbing creams and lidocaine patches to soothe the skin.
  • Shingles vaccine.

There is no specific cure for shingles. Treating it at an early stage can help in better recovery and prevent complications. It is important to receive treatment within 72 hours of developing symptoms to prevent flare-ups and complications. Complicated cases of shingles with postherpetic neuralgia can be addressed with natural treatments.

Lifestyle modifications for shingles

  • A wet compress can help soothe the skin and relieve pain or itching in shingles. You can simply soak a soft muslin cloth in cold water, squeeze out excess, and dab it on the affected area. It is recommended not to use ant ice packs on the affected area due to increased sensitivity.
  • Shower baths with cool water can help keep the skin clean and avoid the spreading of infection due to blisters
  • Soothing lotions and aloe vera gel can help in preventing redness and itchiness due to shingles. Choosing lacto-calamine lotion can prevent skin irritation and burn to some extent.
  • Consume a nutritious diet, protein-rich foods, and a high-fiber diet to boost the immune system. You can also consume an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich diet to maintain optimum nutrition for the overall well-being of the body.
  • Practicing yoga and meditation can help reduce the stress associated with shingles. It can help improve sleep.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise which can trigger neuropathic pain. Talk for a walk or stroll for 30- 45 minutes which will help you stay active

Conclusion

Shingles can affect any age group. It mainly develops when something triggers the immune system to reactivate the dormant herpes zoster virus. It is important to address the issues of weakened immunity to prevent flare-ups and complications of shingles.

The virus has its own course. Shingles can remain in dormant phase for a long time without relapse allowing to reduce discomforting symptoms with homeopathy. Conventional treatment along with homeopathy and lifestyle changes can help in reducing the symptoms and complications of shingles.

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