New Shingles Pain Relief Available at BJU
There’s a new approach for treating postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), and it’s now available at Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU).
What is shingles?
Shingles (also called herpes zoster) is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Children without immunity to this virus who are exposed for the first time will suffer from chicken pox. Some people who are exposed will become carriers of the virus without developing any symptoms. The virus will lay dormant in their nerve roots. These carriers may experience shingles when their immune system becomes weak and the virus becomes activated. It travels up the nerve roots to the areas of skin supplied by those specific nerve roots. This is why shingles can wrap around either the left or right side of your body. It can also appear on the face, around one eye.
What is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)?
In most patients with an acute shingles infection, the disease is self-limiting and the rash and pain will disappear completely by itself. But, in some patients, the pain persists for more than one month. This is called postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN. PHN is nerve pain caused by a shingles infection. It may last one or two years or, in severe cases, more than 10 years. In the elderly population, because their immune systems may be weaker, the pain can be worse.
What is spinal cord stimulation (SCS)?
Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that delivers low-voltage electrical stimulation to block the sensation of pain. It is considered to be one of the most advanced methods of treating PHN in the world.
Treatment using SCS employs the following:
The pulse generator is the power source for the spinal cord stimulator. It generates low-voltage electrical pulses. The extension cable connects the pulse generator to the lead. The lead is a small, insulated wire that has a set of electrodes at one end. The lead is placed into the epidural space on the posterior aspect of the spinal cord, and the electrodes are positioned at the level of the nerve roots innervating the painful area. An electrical current from the electrodes induces a paresthesia, or a tingling sensation that masks the pain. Pain signals are inhibited before they reach the brain. The physician programmer and patient programmer are used for setting the correct parameters.
Below are some pictures showing how this procedure is performed.
A professional technician adjusts the settings to the correct parameters.
Here are some of the reasons why this new procedure is highly recommended:
- The procedure is guided by C-arm X-ray and thus the nerve is precisely located and treated.
- It is minimally invasive and leaves only invisible scars.
- It allows for optimal pain relief for patients.
- This procedure itself does not involve any pain medication, allowing patients to avoid complications from long-term medication use.
The Beijing United Family Hospital Pain Management Clinic is dedicated to helping those who suffer needlessly from pain. We aim to improve quality of life and to help escape the damage that could be done by oral pain medication. We believe that pain isunique for each individual and that pain management is about more than just prescription medications and surgery: It’s about minimally invasive treatment options that allow you to get your life back.
Conditions we treat:
- Trigeminal neuralgia facial pain
- Shingles pain
- Allergic rhinitis
- Cervicogenic headaches
- Intervertebral-disc pain
- Cancer pain
- Soft-tissue pain
- Back pain
- Pain from internal organs
- Shoulder pain
- Pelvic pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome