Find answers to all your questions about shingles, about postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and the new age categories for the shingles vaccine.

Shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia are caused by the same virus: we call it chickenpox when we first catch it.  The virus hides away in the body. Thereafter, it can appear again at any age. When this happens, we call it shingles. This can be at any age, but it is more likely to occur as we get older.  Some people develop pain in the affected area that lasts long after the shingles blisters have healed up. This is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN for short). There is a vaccine for people in their 70s which you can get from your GP.

Scroll down to hear a radio interviews on neuropathic pain and the shingles vaccine.

Information Pack

As well as reading about shingles and the pain (PHN) treatment on this website, you can get it all sent to you or to someone you know.  This full 17-page information pack can be ordered on-line.

Also, people who are visually impaired can receive these leaflets dictated onto a standard cassette: send a donation (at least £5 please) or phone 020 7607 9661 to order this with a credit or debit card.

The pack includes:

For the patient:

  • two page introduction to shingles
  • two pages of self-help advice from other sufferers
  • two pages explaining the medical treatment for PHN – and that same information written in medical terms by an expert, for your GP
  • a two-page contact list of names/addresses of other people who’d like to share experiences of shingles
  • information on TENS, with the details of manufacturers who’ll refund your money if the TENS doesn’t help you
  • and more…

For the patient to give to the GP:

  • guideline for treating PHN which is written by pain expert Dr Mike Serpell and includes details treatments that your GP might prescribe:  amitriptyline, gabapentin, lidocaine plasters and capsaicin cream, with the dosages, references and a treatment algorithm. Then you can take these pages to the surgery to share with the doctor.

Buy the information pack here.

This information can make a difference

Thank you very much for your e-mail. It really helped put us at ease.”Sarah

Mrs Jones wrote and told us that we’d really helped. Her husband was now much better now that he is taking some new drugs [you told us about].

“I have received the Information Pack from the Shingles Support Society and I thank you very much.
This is the most complete and helpful information I have had since my shingles attack nine months ago. My treatment since that time has followed what you recommend, but the explanations of ‘why’ has been lacking.
It is also helpful to know all the alternative treatments for PHN as well as the experiences of other sufferers.”
Jean, California

… And, lots of people send a note with their donations, to tell us how useful they have found the information we send out…

Listen to Shingles – and Shingles Vaccine – Explanations

Our director Marian Nicholson explains shingles, the pain that may follow, and the vaccine that can prevent this, on Pain Concern’s podcast episode 129.

And a few years ago, Marian was on the Airing Pain 46 podcast talking about shingles, along with a migraine expert talking about his speciality:

Health care information on herpes you can trust. The Information Standard. Certified Member.
Logo of The Information Standard

This page was written under the Information Standard rules.
Reviewed on 5-10-2023
Subsequently, next review date no later than 5-10-26.
Full references for the statements made can be sent on request. Send us an email at [email protected].

The Information Standard states: The HVA shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish.  Therefore, neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the HVA.  Disclaimer: note that the blog and other personal experience stories are excluded from the scope of IS certification.

The shingles Support Society is a recognised sub-group of the Herpes Viruses Association, registered in 1985 with charity number 291657