Acupuncture Treats Shingles

May 2001

Shingles also called herpes zoster, is an acute skin disease which is caused by a virus. The symptoms may appear as: skin rashes, crowded blisters and severe burning pain. Lesion locations are often seen on the waist, chest, face and scalp. They forms belt like shape and go along with one side of the nerve distribution. The course of most cases lasts 2 to 3 weeks. Shingles patients are often seen in the acupuncture office, because acupuncture is well known as being helpful for pain. Many patients suffer from lingering nerve pain after skin lesions disappeared. (especially those who are over age 40).

D. C. male 49 , He had shingles nine months ago. It was located on the right forehead and healed quickly, but the post pain and numbness continued to involve the right forehead and scalp. He was wearing a 50mg Duragesic pain patch on his arm and changed it once every three days. Tongue was a little pale with a white coat and pulses were weak. I used Acupoints :Du 14, B 2,3, Tai Yang, G 8, 14,20, 21, Ashi 1, 2, SJ 3, 5, LI 11, 4. The treatment was given 2-3 times a week. After five treatments, his pain and itch were less. The pain patch was reduced from 50 mg to 25 mg. After three more weeks of acupuncture treatments both pain and numbness were gradually reduced and didn't bother him as much as before. He stopped using the pain patch six weeks after the initial visit. but he had withdrawal symptoms from it. He felt chills and body aches. I made an herbal formula to help his withdrawal symptoms. He drank the herbal tea about one week late all the symptoms were gone.

A. C. male 75 , He had shingles 2 months ago. It was located on the neck, right shoulder, and right chest area. The shingles lasted about a month. All the rashes and blisters had gone, but he had severe pain which hadn't change at all. The pain affected his sleeping and appetite and he felt fatigue a lot. Bowel movements 1-2 times / d. Stools were dry. Tongue was pale with a thin white coat. Pulses are thin and wiry. The differentiation of the above case was both Qi and blood stagnation. I used acupuncture combined with herbs. Acupoints were: Du 14, G 20,21, Ashi points 1,2, LI 15,11,4 SJ 5. Herbal formula was made of Dan Gui, Shu Di, Bai shao, Chi shao, Chuang Xiong, Xuan Hu, Chuan lian zi, Xiang Fu zi, Niu Xi, Ye Jiao Teng, Suan zao Ren. Gan cao. After first visit, his pain was almost gone for three days. But the pain came back and the right side of the neck and shoulder hurt. There was no more pain on the chest. After continuing acupuncture and herbal tea for three weeks all pain was gone and no recurrence.

The above cases demonstrate that acupuncture and herbs are very helpful for post shingles pain. If you know any body suffering from a shingle disease, please tell them to try acupuncture and herbs.