I have suffered debilitating PHN for 2 yrs. I tried Gabapenten with no pain relief, but many suicidal thoughts. Anything safe?

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) is a very painful shingles complication, which is caused by the Herpes Zoster Virus, the chickenpox virus. Normally, shingles clears up with a couple of weeks, but if the pain in the nerves lasts long after the blisters and rashes have disappeared, you are suffering from PHN. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but you can control its symptoms with the right treatment. PHN improves with time and this should help you get rid of your suicidal thoughts.

With PHN, there is no single treatment method; you need to try out a combination to determine the ones that work best for you. Medication to control the pain includes:

  • Strong painkillers (Opoid Painkillers)
  • Lidocaine skin patches
  • Capsaicin skin patches
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants

In case these options do not provide any relief, your doctor may recommend other approaches, such as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), nerve blocks and surgeries. In addition to these, you could also try out complementary treatment techniques, like:

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga therapy & deep breathing
  • Meditation and other relaxation techniques
  • Massage therapy
  • Herbal therapy
  • Biofeedback and hypnosis
  • Homeopathy

While there is no clinical evidence to prove that complementary treatments work, many patients swear by them. If nothing else, these alternative treatment options should improve your mental & emotional health, which can help you take a more positive approach to dealing with PHN.

Some patients have also gained relief from nerve pain with the help of certain supplements and vitamins. Given below is a list of natural remedies you may want to try for pain management:

  • Peppermint: Rub a few drops of peppermint oil on the affected parts of the skin or inhale steam with peppermint added to it.
  • Reishi Mushroom: Known for its medicinal value, this fungus is available in several different forms. You could apply it topically or even consume it in many ways.
  • Rose Geranium Oil: Apply some rose geranium oil topically wherever you feel the pain. This remedy has a balancing effect on the nervous system and will relieve adverse symptoms.
  • Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO): This dietary supplement can be taken orally, through an injection or can even be applied to the skin.

There are a few risks associated with the remedies mentioned above and therefore, it is essential that you check with your doctor, before trying any of them. Discontinue using these remedies immediately, if the pain worsens or if you experience any type of adverse side effects.


  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postherpetic-neuralgia/DS00277
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000555.htm
  3. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/postherpetic-neuralgia/Pages/Treatment.aspx

answered by K C

Treatment for PHN-

1. Switch on to Yoga pranayam such as Kapalbhaati and Anulom Vilom for 20 minutes each early in the morning daily for 1 month.

2. Take a homeopathic remedy called variolinum 1m 1 powder dose and then repeat the 2nd dose after 15 days.

 3. Take bio chemical remedies called Calcarea sulph and Mag phos 3 tablets from each 2 times daily for 3 months.

4. Take 1 tsf honey 2 times daily as a tonic.

5. Relax and enjoy life to the fullest .Yoga Pranayam will help you a lot and medicines would finally and rapidly cure you if you stay relaxed.

answered by D M K

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