How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19318
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. D. Love is online now

Hello. I am 66 years old. Two weeks ago I woke with a pain

This answer was rated:

I am 66 years old. Two weeks ago I woke with a pain running around my midriff from the centre of my trunk round to the middle of my back. It feels like a nerve pain very sensitive to touch, and strangely painfull when I get goose bumps ! My sleep is disrupted, and I feel pain as I move around. There is no rash or swelling. Recently I have had a bad stye on my eyelid , which lasted 2 months, but now is almost gone ,apart from this I am healthy.
I do not feel unwell , apart from this dull constant ache around my middle.
I might add that I am getting married in 3 weeks time ( I am not knowingly stressed about this ).
I have had chickenpox when young , so I am wondering could this be Shingles ? Although there is no rash.
Your advice would be appreciated,
Thank you.
Hello from JustAnswer. I will be glad to assist you today.

You do not specify that the pain is only on one side, but if it is, then yes, this could be due to shingles even though there is no rash. While the medical term for shingles is herpes zoster, the medical term for shingles without a rash is zoster sine herpete. When this happens, the person will have the neurologic symptoms of shingles despite not having the rash. This would include the possibility of developing prolonged pain after the acute episode similar to a standard episode of shingles, called post-herpetic neuralgia.

It is not always easy to prove that someone has zoster sine herpete, since the onset of the rash is the usual indication that someone has shingles. It would usually require an evaluation to be certain that there is no other explanation for the symptoms. In this location, the primary concern would be whether there is a problem in the spine that is pressing on a nerve causing such symptoms. Your doctor would be able to perform the evaluation.

There also are several other medicines that can be used to help relieve these symptoms by suppressing the action of the nerve carrying the pain message. The most commonly used are gabapentin and pregabalin. If the symptoms are mild and you can tolerate it without medicine, then it is not necessary to be treated, but if the symptoms are more significant, you can discuss the use of these medicines with your doctor.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you doctor for your reply.
Yes the pain is on one side only, just under the breast area and round to the middle of the back. Also when touched, feels very sensitive and almost ' numb '.
Is it possible to get a spray or cream Ibuprofen over the counter for this ?
There is an over the counter cream that may help, called capsaicin. The original brand name for this is Zostrix because it was marketed for herpes zoster. The capsaicin is now available in a generic formulation and has been found to help other conditions, but it still can help with the pain of herpes zoster.

The pills that I mentioned above are generally more effective than the capsaicin, but it is an option that is available over the counter.

There are also various cream and sprays of numbing medicines available over the counter, primarily marketed for sunburns, but may offer some relief for the pain of herpes zoster. These medicines are generally not as effective as either the above oral medicines or the capsaicin, but there is no problem with trying them.

Dr. D. Love and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you