Shingles and work?

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball - you either hit it or it hits you.

A little over two weeks since shingles took over my life. It started as feeling like a pinched nerve (it is a disease laying dormant in the nervous system) went to the chiropractor for several adjustments then noticed a rash on the palm of my left hand. After a couple of days there were more spread out on my left arm plus excruciating pain down my arm and in my shoulder blade area.
Wow, the meds are strong and leave you strung out and balance is a joke.

I don’t know how this will play out with working for a living because every few minutes, or at times seconds, I get a painful jerking spasm of my muscle. The medication that is supposed to separate (or hide) the nerve pain being sent to my brain leaves me wobbly on my feet and focus is about the same as if you were drunk and had just a wee bit too much alcohol.

Hoping my case is one where it runs its course for 5 to 8 weeks and I go back to mostly normal.

Anyone had this experience? If you had chicken pox, shingles is laying dormant in you spinal nerve. 1 in 5 people get it. Best bet is to see your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect the symptoms in order to keep it at a short duration.

You can’t get the shingles shot while you are having a break out, but you can before and after.

I got shingles a couple years ago. Stress can bring them out, which is likely what happened to me. I’m told the symptoms are less severe the younger you get them- so I probably didn’t suffer the way you are now :older_adult:t2: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:. But I was still pretty miserable. I don’t remember doing anything much for treatment. Think I just took off work for 2-3 weeks.

Hang in there, man. Look for ways to reduce your stress & workload. Take it easy and rest up, and hopefully you’ll be able to get back to your normal routine more quickly.

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I’m sorry to hear you are struck with it. I’ve never had shingles, but I’m in the pool of people able to get it. I, like most people my age, had chicken pox as a kid. There wasn’t a vaccine then.

I’ll offer up my prayers for your speedy recovery.

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Gary -
So sorry to hear you are going through this. Take care the best you can to get through this.
My Grandmother went through this years ago. It was around her eye and it was terrible watching her go through this and not be able to do anything but offer her my empathy. If I was near you I would hop in and cover work for you on bad days to be of some help. Please take care and keep us updated ok ?
One Day At A Time My Brother !

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@Garry, I’m very sorry to hear about this! A good friend from my childhoods mom had shingles recently and I don’t believe she had long term affects, so hopefully you will be one of those people that fully recover. She is around 60. Please keep us posted.

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The VA won’t give me a shot until I turn 60, but I can pay for one at Walgreens once I turn 50. Honestly have no idea if I had chickenpox as a kid, all my relatives are gone.

My stepmom did get shingles a couple years ago, took about 3-4 months to clear. Same with a WC customer in her 80’s.

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Thanks, I don’t remember having any stress in the recent months. Who knows what triggered it, could have just been my turn. :-/

My doctor told me a month or more ago to get my shingles shot, I should have done it then. Now I can’t take it until this crap heals up to hopefully prevent it coming around again.

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This is so true with most anything. At least the numbness of my forearm seems not as bad as it did a few days ago.

Ugh, I dealt with a case of shingles back in 2013. Not fun, and I’m sure it was brought on by stress.

Good luck and feel better brother.

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How old were you all when shingles came on?

Sorry to hear. I just saw my doctor last week and he said I’m not old enough to receive the shingles vaccine yet. 50 and up is the age apparently.

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I was 37. I had whats called Zoster san herpetes, which is shingles without the actual rash.

One day i was working and started getting a sharp pain on my left side. It kept getting worse throughout the day and I went to the doc after work. She pretty much immediately knew it was shingles. Prescribed Valtrex because apparently shingles is dormant chicken pox which is a form of herpes. The scientific name is Herpes Zoster. She told me not to take the pills until the rash started, which it never did ($250 wasted on a prescription).

After about a month of feeling like I was getting zapped by a taser every 2 minutes or so, it started to subside. Haven’t had any sign of it since.


It gets better, but boy does it suck. I hope I never have a relapse.

Did you have chicken pox as a kid? Thats what shingles ultimately is.

It is brutal and the meds to attempt to block the pain leave me woozy and a bit on the stumbling side. I will use that judiciously. My sister and I don’t remember having chicken pox but it could have been that time period of little memory in youngsters. I haven’t read where anyone had shingles that did not have chicken pox; but someone with shingles can give someone who never had chicken pox the pox.

I had chicken pox when I was a youngster. Thanks for the warning.

If I may jump in here…l

I’m an RN who has worked mainly with the elderly, so I’ve worked with many, many cases of shingles — often being the one who alerted the doctor to its presence, and have diagnosed 2 cases in my family, sending them to their doctor for early treatment, which usually makes the episode shorter and less horrible. One was my son, who was in his late 20s at the time! But it is correct that shingles mainly attacks older people.

Yes, you have to have the virus in your system (lying dormant within a nerve) to get shingles. And yes, the virus can be transmitted to someone who is not immune (I.e., they’ve never had chicken pox or they haven’t had the vaccine). BUT, that person MUST come in contact with the fluid from the rash. So if you simply cover your rash with clothing and/or a bandage, you will not “give” anyone else the virus.

The medical director where I worked was constantly having to drill that into staff who wanted the patient isolated, or wanted to be reassigned so they wouldn’t be around the patient, etc. it was maddening, but like any hoax, old wives’ tale, rumor, etc., it was persistent, and we had to constantly educate people.

The old shingles vaccine helped, but people could still have shingles outbreaks. Now there is a new, much improved vaccine.

Getting treatment (antiviral medication) EARLY in the outbreak is extremely important. Once you get a full blown outbreak, about the only treatment is pain management, which anyone can tell you is rarely 100%.

The rash may remind you of poison ivy a bit, because it forms blisters. It travels along the path of the affected nerve, so it usually will be only on one side of the body or the other. Most of the cases I’ve worked with had a wide band of redness and blisters on the trunk in the area of the ribs, wrapping around that side of the body. Another common area is the neck (again, one side only), and sometimes one side of the face.

Pardon this lengthy post, but if even one person is helped by this information, it’s worth it.


Very good to know, thanks.

toughest people I’ve known said shingles was the worst pain. Good luck and get well.

5 weeks later it seems the shingles has subsided. I’ve broken 8 ribs, that hurt. I’ve broke my back, that really hurt. Shingles pain and rash is no joke - and I believe I had a mild case! Now I have to wait a few weeks before I can get shingles vaccination to avoid this happening again. Wishing everyone good health and get your shot if you can.

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