Shingles related to nerves in the knees

Patient

Q: I have been under considerable stress over the last year and have had 2 episodes of shingles on both sides of my back. My mother-in-law just died this month and I was left alone to set up an estate sale (she had lived with her husband the last 4 years of his life after she had lived alone for 16 years and hoarded another house terribly). My fater-in-law died 2 and one half years ago and she has hoarded 3 rooms in this large home now. Since I have been here for the last 3 weeks, my knees have become so painful that I have to use a cane to walk and some days I am home bound here away from my own home and life. Some days are extremely painful and some days are manageable as in the typical cases of shingles. My knees are also painful to touch. My PCP has diagnosed me with nerve related shingles that has caused such horrible pain in my knees. I do know that shingles is a nerve related malady caused by herpes zoster if a person has ever had chicken-pox as I have. I am on Acyclovir and a nerve medicine given for shingles. I am also on 7.5 mg of hydrocodon q 4 hours which works at times, but other times, it is ineffective. Your opinion please?

Doctor

A:    Shingles is caused by herpes zoster virus usually occuring in adults who has prior exposure to virus which may be in the form of chicken pox in childhood, your main concern now is recurrent episodes of pain which are affecting your daily activities and routine.You can check with your treating physician and see the possibility of using local patches which are useful in pain relief or another group of pain medicine can be added to the one you are already taking. Injections for regional blocks can also be considered which are quiet useful in some cases. If still you experiance pain despite of above efforts discuss the possibility of being referred to specialized pain clinics.

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