Who has ever had chickenpox when they were a kid? Did you develop the virus yourself or did your parents bring you over to an infected playmate’s home intentionally just to get the virus in and out of your system? In either case, anyone who has had chickenpox has an increase chance of getting shingles later in life. In this week’s blog, we will discuss the development of shingles, the symptoms and how chiropractic can help with shingles.
Chicken Pox and His Big Brother Shingles
Typically, chickenpox develops in little kids, but adults can get them if they have never had them before and are expose to an infected person. Everyone knows the classic symptoms of chickenpox: fever, flu like symptoms and widespread blisters that are very itchy. They are very contagious and can be for up to two weeks. The good news about the virus is once you get it, you can never get it again. The bad news is that if you have had chickenpox, you have an increased risk of developing shingles. Shingles are a similar virus, but the only difference is that its usually in one location versus widespread and it is a lot more painful.
The reason why people who have had chicken pox could get shingles is because the chicken pox virus goes dormant (hides away) in one of the nerve roots of our nervous system. Other than having chicken pox, really the two biggest risk factors of developing shingles are stress and older age as the immune system weakens. It is more common in individuals over 50, but you can get it in your 20s if you have been exposed to chicken pox.
Now let’s say you are an adult and you have never had chicken pox. An individual with shingles can give that individual chicken pox if they were infected but not shingles. Shingles does have an incubation/contagious period, but it is not nearly as long as the chicken pox virus. Now say that individual has had chicken pox. Can the person with shingles give the other individual shingles? NO! Shingles has its own way of developing and is not spread through human contact or bacteria.
Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles can occur anywhere on the body because it follows a nerve root pattern and we have nerves throughout our entire body. The most common places shingles will appear is along the thigh, groin, arm, chest, low back or rib cage. Symptoms are different for everyone, but the classic symptoms include a blister rash, itchy, numbness, burning and tingling. Some individuals may get flu like symptoms, but it is more rare. Shingles typically are not life-threatening, however there can be complications depending on the location of the virus. Some individuals have pain long after developing the virus. Others may develop shingles on the nerve roots of the eyes or on the brain resulting in vision loss and further complications. Unfortunately, there is no way of determining where the virus will end up. We all just need to be prepared if it does occur.
How Can Chiropractors Help?
If you think about it, shingles is a nervous system disorder because it lies within and affects the nerves. There is no fancy specific technique to adjust someone with shingles. All chiropractors are going to find the nerve root pattern where the shingles developed and adjust that area to enhance the nervous system and reduce symptoms. At our office, we have had great success assisting with shingles and have reduced the symptoms significantly and improving quality of life because chiropractic can help with shingles.
A lot of families will place their children in an area with someone who is infected with chicken pox so that child will too build an immunity to the virus and never get it again. We recommend that you don’t do that because you’re only increasing their chances of getting shingles later in life. Shingles can be very painful, and no one should not have to go through that if you don’t have too. Let the body decide what it wants to do and let it runs its course. You always have chiropractic that can help!
If you have any questions about how chiropractic can help with shingles, contact us today. We are happy to help you in any way we can!