Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Shingles can occur anywhere on the body, but often resembles a cluster of blisters that wraps along the left or right side of the torso.

Shingles is caused by the same virus which causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster virus. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue located near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may re-emerge as shingles.

Shingles can last anywhere between two and six weeks. Most people only experience shingles once, but it is possible to get it two or more times. Early treatment of shingles can shorten the life span of the infection and lessen the chance of complications.


Shingles is generally characterized by the onset of pain followed by a rash that resembles a cluster of blisters that may cause a painful, burning, or tingling sensation that is sensitive to touch. Shingles usually only affect small section of one side of your body. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigue


While there is no cure for shingles, prompt treatment with prescription antiviral drugs can expedite healing and reduce the risk for complications. Shingles can cause severe pain, your treatment may include medication, a corticosteroid injection or sympathetic epidurals.