TREATMENT
治疗

TCM Treatment For Shingles/Herpes Zoster

About Shingles


Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it, caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The same virus also causes chickenpox.


Shingles can occur at any age, but is most common in people who are over 50. It can affect any part of the body. Areas commonly affected include the neck, shoulder, upper back, chest, abdomen, and in some cases, even the face or eyes. It causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters. It can cause severe nerve pain that lasts for many months, or even years, after the rash has gone.


What causes shingles?


Many people may get chickenpox during childhood, but after recovery, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in the nervous system. The immune system stops the virus from becoming active. However, later in life it can be reactivated and cause shingles.


It is not known exactly why the shingles virus is reactivated at a later stage in life to cause shingles, but a potential reason include having lowered immunity.


It is not possible to catch shingles from someone with this condition; however, you can catch chickenpox if you’ve never had it before.


Symptoms of shingles


An episode of shingles will normally last for 2 to 4 weeks. The patient will generally feel a tingling sensation in the affected area at first. This will be followed by pain, and then a rash.

  • Pain – patients experience a localized ‘band’ of pain in the affected area. The pain tends to be continuous, dull, or of a burning sensation and its intensity can vary from mild to severe. There may also be occasional stabbing pains. Some patients cannot even wear clothing or allow the area to be touched.
  • Rash – several days after the onset of pain, the rash will appear. It starts off as red blotches on the skin, and rapidly develops into itchy blisters; similar to those of chickenpox. The blisters may be there for about one week, and then become yellowish, flat, and dried out. A minor scar may be left on the skin.


Sometimes there may be additional symptoms including confusion, fatigue, fever, headache, upset stomach, abdominal pains, etc.


Complications of shingles


A number of complications can occur as a result of shingles. They are more likely if you have a weakened immune system or are elderly.


Post-herpetic neuralgia is the most common complication resulting from shingles. Some patients experience severe nerve pain if the nerves are damaged. The pain can last for a very long time; even years after the rash had disappeared.


TCM perspective of shingles


Shingles is explained in traditional Chinese medicine as the presence of pathogenic damp, heat and wind. It usually occurs along the liver or gall bladder meridians on the exterior of the body. If damp is predominant, the lesions are more likely to be in the lower part of the body, with more fluid discharge from the blisters. If heat predominates, blisters show more heat and redness and the pain is more severe. If wind predominates, the lesions are more likely to be in the upper part of the body with a more dominant itching sensation.


TCM physicians address the patient’s bodily condition, or “internal environment” directly. The diagnosis of “damp heat” actually relates to the condition of the patient’s system, which allows the virus to breed and create the outbreak. This diagnosis also allows the practitioner to provide the patient with practical, simple guidelines on what to do to help speed their recovery through means such as dietary advice (e.g. hot and spicy foods, fried foods and alcohol should be avoided during a shingles outbreak as they contribute to further “dampness and heat” within the body.)


Treatment for shingles


There is no cure for shingles in the perspective of western medicine, but treatment can help ease the symptoms of shingles.


Treatment options include:

  • Antiviral medication to help stop the virus multiplying
  • Painkiller medicines and topical creams to relieve symptoms


TCM treatment of shingles is based on pattern differentiation according to the pathogenic factor and the meridian involved.


Traditional Chinese Medicine has proven to be very effective in treating shingles, especially when in the first stages. Not only can TCM treatment alleviate the excruciating pain and treat the blisters and rash, having TCM treatment during an shingles outbreak can significantly reduce the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia.


Likewise, post-herpetic neuralgia, though a very stubborn and painful condition, can be treated with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies. Again, it is much better to go for treatment sooner rather than later in this condition as well.


According to TCM, shingles usually affects older patients with weak constitution, or younger patients who are suffering from exhaustion. The more pronounced the weakness of the patient, the greater the likelihood of complications, and the more prolonged the course of the disease is likely to be. Unless the underlying condition is dealt with successfully, the possibility of relapse or prolongation of the disease is very high.


Our TCM physicians are experienced in treating this illness. If you are suffering from shingles, please come to our clinic for treatment as soon as possible, so that we can help to alleviate your pain and aid your recovery.


生蛇

什么是“生蛇”


“生蛇”只是俗称,它的真正名字,西医叫带状疱疹,中医叫蛇串疮,或者叫缠腰火丹,又称蛇缠腰。生蛇是一种皮肤病,患这个病的人,皮肤会出现红斑和水泡,一群一群长在一起,看来像一串珠,又像一条蛇,所以俗称“生蛇”。


带状疱疹是由水痘-带状疱疹病毒引起的急性感染性皮肤病。对此病毒无免疫力的儿童被感染后,发生水痘。部分患者被感染后成为带病毒者而不发生症状。由于病毒具有亲神经性,感染后可长期潜伏于脊髓神经后根神经节的神经元内,当抵抗力低下或劳累、感染、感冒时,病毒可再次生长繁殖,并沿神经纤维移至皮肤,使受侵犯的神经和皮肤产生强烈的炎症。皮疹一般有单侧性和按神经节段分布的特点,有集簇性的疱疹组成,并伴有疼痛;年龄愈大,神经痛愈重。本病好发于成人,春秋季节多见。发病率随年龄增大而呈显著上升。


典型临床表现


发疹前可有轻度乏力、低热、纳差等全身症状,患处皮肤自觉灼热感或者神经痛,触之有明显的痛觉敏感,持续1~3天,亦可无前驱症状即发疹。好发部位依次为肋间神经、颈神经、三叉神经和腰骶神经支配区域。患处常首先出现潮红斑,很快出现粟粒至黄豆大小的丘疹,簇状分布而不融合,继之迅速变为水疱,疱壁紧张发亮,疱液澄清,外周绕以红晕,各簇水疱群间皮肤正常;皮损沿某一周围神经呈带状排列,多发生在身体的一侧,一般不超过正中线。神经痛为本病特征之一,可在发病前或伴随皮损出现,老年患者常较为剧烈。病程一般2~4周,水疱干涸、结痂脱落后留有暂时性淡红斑或色素沉着。


带状疱疹的后遗症


带状疱疹有可能会引起后遗症。老年人和免疫功能低下的患者出现上后遗症的可能性较高。神经痛是最常见的后遗症。如果神经受损,一些患者会经历严重的神经痛。这类神经痛可以持续很长时间,有些患者甚至到皮疹消失几年后仍会感到疼痛。


中医对带状疱疹的观点


带状疱疹在传统中医中被解释为患者的体内的肝经和胆经有着致病的湿邪,热邪和风邪。


如果是湿邪为主,皮损多在身体的下部,皮损的部位也会较潮湿。如果是热邪为主,皮损的部位将感到较灼热,肤色会较红,疼痛也更严重。若是风邪为主,则皮损部位较可能在身体的上部,瘙痒感也会较严重。


中医师会针对性的处理患者的身体状况或身体的内部环境。“湿热”的诊断实际上与病人身体内部环境的状况有关,中医认为这种身体的内部环境允许病毒繁殖,引发带状疱疹。这种诊断允许中医师为患者提供实用,简单的指导,如吩咐患者不要喝酒和吃辛辣,油炸的食物。这是因为这些食物会加重身体的内部环境“湿热”的情况。


带状疱疹的治疗


从西医的角度来看,带状疱疹并没有好的治疗方法,主要只是帮助患者缓解带状疱疹的症状。


西医治疗与缓解症状的方法包括:

  • 给予抗病毒药物以防止病毒继续繁殖
  • 给予止痛药和皮肤膏以缓解症状



中医诊断与治疗带状疱疹是基于脏腑辩证和八钢辩证。


中医在治疗带状疱疹方面,尤其在发病的初期,疗效显著。中医疗法不仅可以有效减的轻患者的疼痛和治愈患者身上的水泡和皮疹,它还能显着降低患上后遗症,如神经痛,的风险。


神经痛,这一种为患者带来疼痛又较难痊愈的带状疱疹后遗症,同样的能用中医疗法进行有效的治疗。当然病从浅中医,提早治疗,疗程和疗效就会较短较好。


根据中医学,带状疱疹通常好发于体质较弱的老年人,或者操劳过度的中轻年人。体质和免疫功能越差的患者,出现并发症和后遗症的机率就越高,须要更长的时间才会康复。我们须病根彻底去除,否则此病很容易复发。


我们诊所的医师对于治疗此病都有着丰富的经验。若您不幸患上此病,请您尽早来我们诊所求医,让我们为您治疗解除您的病痛,助您早日康复。

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