Shingles treatment includes numbing agents. Depending on the location of your shingles, your physician might prescribe a variety or numbing agents. Below is a description of why numbing agents are used to treat shingles, the types of numbing agents that are available, and how they are used.
The Purpose of Numbing Agents and Their Effect on Shingles
Shingles is a virus that attacks a patient’s nerve endings. The nerve endings are made extremely sensitive by the virus, and therefore release large amounts of pain into a body. Numbing agents are used to reduce the amount of pain a patient feels. These agents, however, will not numb nerve endings, but they will numb the shin receptors and dull the pain. Therefore, a user may still feel pain, although the amount of pain will be significantly less.
The Types of Numbing Agents and Shingles
The numbing agents that will be prescribed will be dependent upon the severity and location of the shingles rash. A rash on your back, for instance, may be impossible to treat with a numbing patch. Numbing agents come in cream, gel, pill and patch form. Some even come in an aerosol spray. A few are sold over the counter, but stronger medicines typically require a prescription. Pills more often than not require a prescription.
Why Numbing Agents Are Used for Shingles
Numbing agents are used to treat shingles because, aside from managing the pain, there is very little a physician can do for a patient. There are no viral medications that can cure shingles. Shingles often remain with a patient for weeks or months and cure themselves over time. Pain management is the most often measure taken after a patient is diagnosed with shingles.
Over-the-Counter Numbing Agents
Over-the-counter numbing agents are often inexpensive and available almost anywhere. They come in many forms and often your physician will state that it is acceptable for you to use these medications in addition to other medications he prescribes. Carefully read the information about numbing agents to make sure they are usable on the location of your rash and pain.
Over-the-Counter Creams, Gels and Sprays
Topical numbing agents are applied directly to the affected area. Typically, these creams can be applied as often as every few hours. These forms of numbing agents numb skin receptors, thereby reducing the amount of pain a patient feels. The downside of these forms of numbing agents is that they rarely last long or penetrate deeper than the skin’s surface. For this reason, they must be applied frequently.
Over-the-Counter Numbing Patches
Patches are applied directly and left on the skin’s surface for as long as 24 hours. These patches release a low amount of pain numbing agents over a period of time. The agents penetrate through the skin’s layers to reduce the amount of pain a patient can feel. Because they remain on the skin’s surface for a long period of time, the numbing agents often penetrate deeper than topical creams and gels.