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Dang it! Diagnosed with shingles. When can I ride?

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  • Dang it! Diagnosed with shingles. When can I ride?

    They say don't get overheated and over stressed but I am a horse trainer and I want and need to ride. On the other hand I really don't want chronic neuralgia. Anyone who has been down this road have advice for me?

  • #2
    Hmmm, they didn't tell me any such two years ago when I had a bout of those on my back?
    I thought for a bit I just had a very bad backache.

    Where are yours, in your face, maybe?
    A friend in her 30's had some there and she ended up in the hospital, they were affecting her optic nerve.
    Thankfully they cleared and so did her eyesight

    Whatever others go thru, yours may be different, so better listen to your Drs. and try to arrange your life around that.

    Comment


    • #3
      I do have some chronic nerve pain. In an area where I had pre-existing neuropathy, but also went through a SERIOUS case of shingles.

      See a doctor for sure. I seem to recollect that if you get some sort of anti-viral meds early on during a shingles episode, it can GREATLY reduce the risk of post herpetic neuralgia (I think the meds are similar to Valtrex... Shingles is essentially an activated version of some sort of chicken pox virus lingering in your nerves... I can’t quite remember what it has to do with different forms of the herpes virus but it isn’t an STD... it’s chicken pox related and has been lurking in your body for decades... uggh).

      I also experienced shingles as starting out EXTREMELY painful - mine was centered around my brachialplexus nerves - went from my spine, throughout one shoulder, armpit, and the upper right quadrant of my torso, my armpit, and down into that arm. It was excrutiating in the early stages and they prescribed Lyrica... which didn’t help much... and lidocaine patches for areas on my skin that blistered and where nerve endings were VERY sensitive. The lidocaine patches helped a lot more. After the first week the pain turned into itching... and itching related to nerves is really really really unpleasant and intense in an indescribable way. Getting hot a sweaty riding during the summer? Avoid it for at least an extra week if at all possible... or do your best to take care of your skin with cool showers, etc. Anything you can do to rest and help yourself heal faster is wise though. Also, for what it’s worth... I have had the most luck controlling nerve pain and nerve problems with the older genetic med gabapentin, and low doses seem to be effective (thank goodness). It does make me woozy and sleepy though... and when I take it for chronic nerve pain, I take it at night and it helps with sleep - and is less problematic than many other sleep meds which are habit forming and do nothing for nerve pain. Everyone is different though and Lyrica is apparently much more effective for controlling nerve pain - especially shingles related nerve pain - for many other people. I can’t imagine taking either during the day though and trying to ride a horse...

      So sorry you are experiencing shingles. It’s truly miserable. I went through it at age 35... which is unusual (I had a weakened immune system at the time). I had only heard of older people (55 and over) getting it prior to that point. Try and identify what might have tipped you into a full blown shingles episode (stress, other illness, an immune system issue)... although it can and does happen to people randomly. My episode was due to extreme stress plus a weak immune system, and the shingles happened in a nerve that was previously damaged and inflamed. Definitely talk to your doctors, hopefully they give you some meds for short term relief, and try and rest as much as possible.

      Best of luck, and take care of yourself.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just wanted to mention that there is a relatively new shingles vaccine called Shingrix that is far more effective than the previous vaccine. And the cool thing about it is that it's not a live vaccine like the old one, so even people on immune suppressors (like me) can have it. I did the two-shot series last year.

        The catch is that there was quite a shortage of it a few months ago. I don't know if that has been resolved.

        I think insurance will cover it if you are over 50.

        Rebecca

        Comment


        • #5
          My sympathies. Mine was across the left side of my back and I had off three days. Warehouse work, and I also wore an undershirt with no seams/inside out to keep my clothes from rubbing on it. There is an injection but you have to get it on day one or two.

          So depending where it is you can ride whenever you want but you may be miserable. Initially I thought I had somehow broken my scapula by falling on it but the pain was after the fact and increased until the blisters came out, of course on a Friday so i delayed to Monday and missed the window for the shot. Definitely miserable, they hurt, they itched, took quite a long time to go all the way away.
          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
          Incredible Invisible

          Comment


          • #6
            With Shingrix, you get two shots, two to six months apart. Definitely worth it. Talk to your doctor, and see if this is advised for you.
            You can't fix stupid-Ron White

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you all for taking time to write. I am on Valtrex and have gabapentin for night time. The doctor did not think it was a good idea to give the vaccination while having an active case, but I certainly would recommend the vaccination to any one who has had chicken pox. Shingles is definitely something I'd avoid, if possible. I am very active and healthy but had a stressful week and little sleep leading up to this relapse.

              Comment


              • #8
                My shingles were so bad I couldn't sleep. I had managed to forget this part. The doctor gave me a ten day supply of low dose Vicodin and I ended up scrounging every single Vicodin and Percocet we had in the house and breaking them up to get them about the same dose, a little higher than what she prescribed too, so I could sleep well. Stretched it out for about a month. Lasted about six hours and then back to being miserable.

                i think I also took the valtrex, but barely within 72 hours of onset.

                My doctor didn't even mention gabapentin as a possible medication even for my neuropathy. I hope it works for you!
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Helicon View Post
                  Thank you all for taking time to write. I am on Valtrex and have gabapentin for night time. The doctor did not think it was a good idea to give the vaccination while having an active case, but I certainly would recommend the vaccination to any one who has had chicken pox. Shingles is definitely something I'd avoid, if possible. I am very active and healthy but had a stressful week and little sleep leading up to this relapse.
                  Good point--I meant to mention that getting the vaccine during an active outbreak is not a good idea. I was thinking for afterwards for you.

                  Rebecca

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Best I remember, all they gave me is a round of prednisone?
                    Then, it was ten days before I went to the Dr, probably too late for antivirals and I was over 70 and with a tricky heart with a mind of it's own, so not given just any medication.

                    I had the old vaccine, but 8 years ago and it only lasts about 5.
                    It did help, was not as bad as it could have been.

                    I ended up with a terribly itchy spot in the middle of my back, where I can't reach it, that comes and goes and rarely occasional pain for some hours where the old shingle's pain was from the back to the front.

                    Maybe yours will clear without any residual effects.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had shingles when I was 48. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.......well, perhaps I can think of one, but let’s not make this political, lol.

                      Tramadol did nothing for the pain. I lived on ibuprofen for over a month. I think the trigger was that my father was at the end of his life (he passed away a few months later). He was in a skilled nursing facility and I was not allowed to visit him for six weeks. I completely agreed with the facility re “no entry” but it was very difficult for me emotionally at the time. Luckily, I escaped with no post neuralgia.

                      Currently waiting to get the Shingrix vaccination series, There is a long waiting list with my primary care physician.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Paint Hunter-see if your local pharmacy stocks Shingrix. I can either get shots through my primary care doctor, or at the pharmacy, and they seem to have a better supply chain at the pharmacy.
                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Yes Paint Hunter try a Walgreens care center. They had it when I went in.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I haven't had shingles (fingers crossed, I am going to get the vaccination this fall if the supply shortage has eased) but I had a severe allergic reaction years ago and I could not stand the heat (it was in July or Aug). The heat made the itching worse and the rash extended big time. I don't think there is inherently anything that riding would do except the the weather conditions may make you feel much worse and prolong the course of the disease. Maybe give it a try on a cool morning. You are down (at least your immune system)...reduce your workload. Spreading out some rides won't hurt any of the horses. A mini--vacation of sorts.

                            Healing jingles coming your way.

                            Susan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I had shingles about 8 years ago - my case started with pain from my spine around my right side to the groin area followed in 48 hours with the rash. I was in my Doctor's office within 3 hours of the rash appearing and was prescribed Valtrex. The rash was dried up within a week - the intense pain continued. I could not stand anything touching my body in the affected area. The Doctor's office offered pain meds. After a month of the pain and minimal sleep, I tried Acupuncture. Fifty percent of the pain was gone after the first session, two more sessions and the pain was gone. One additional Acupuncture session took care of the intense itching associated with the nerves healing. Needless to say I am now a proponent of Acupuncture!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank MsB i am going to look into acupuncture!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I had shingles when I was 25. Thankfully not a very bad case. I know they put me on an anti viral meds but I don't remember any restrictions from the doctor. I did wait a few days just because it was on my hip, so breeches were painful.

                                  Hope you get better soon, OP!

                                  Comment

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