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Shingles without the rash?

swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,693 Senior Member
edited October 2012 in Parent Cafe
Has anyone ever heard of having shingles without the rash?

I have had this weird thing going on with my right leg (outside thigh from knee to close to the hip) for a while now. At first I thought is was something to do with the long drives back and forth to M D Anderson in houston with my husband as it would always seem to flare up at around that time (I was thinking pinched nerve or something). Sort of a combination of pins and needles and numbness. Then when we were in Galveston for my daughter's wedding the pins and needles turned to a really painful burning sensation - I went for a walk with my son on the beach one night and could barely walk back it got so painful. Now the numb feeling is pretty much gone, but the burning pain is quite excruciating. Even the feel of my clothes brushing against my skin is really painful at times.

I keep meaning to go to the doc, but we have a new one that I don't have much faith in. And I was not sure how seriously he would take me as the leg looks absolutely normal, no rash or anything. Plus the last thing I want to do is spend any more time in a doctor's office). But the skin constantly almost feels like a I have a bad burn, except i don't -

I was talking to a friend today and she said the pain sounded like shingles. But I don't have a rash.
Post edited by swimcatsmom on

Replies to: Shingles without the rash?

  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 11,957 Senior Member
    see below:
    from the Mayo clinic:
    "Some people experience shingles pain without ever developing the rash. "

    Contact your doctor promptly if you suspect shingles, but especially in the following situations:

    You're 65 or older, which increases your risk of complications.
    You or someone in your family has a weakened immune system (due to cancer, medications or chronic illness).

    get to a DR - FAST!

    Shingles: Symptoms - MayoClinic.com

    zoster sin herpete. Basically, shingles without a rash.
    There is also a rare condition called zoster sine herpete (shingles without the rash), which is harder to diagnose. This is characterized by chronic pain, usually in the same three- to five-inch distribution in which a rash usually occurs, but a rash never develops. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid tests can sometimes show that the VZV virus is causing this pain. Although these cases are rare, patients can be treated effectively.


    "I have just begun a round of famcyclovir for shingles without a rash. It began as a neuralgia type pain in a four inch band from my spine around to my belly button on the right side. I can push on the area and it does not hurt, but the lightest touch across it is excruciating. The shower hurts the area badly as well. I'm feeling slightly better after two days on the antiviral."

    shingles without a rash - Undiagnosed Symptoms - MedHelp
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,693 Senior Member
    Thanks melonpark mom. No, I have not had the vaccine, though I have been thinking about it ever since Bill started chemo (he can't have it unless his oncologist okays it).

    That is what this pain is like, firm pressure does not hurt but a light touch or something brushing it (like clothes or my little cat leaning on my leg) is very painful.

    How is it diagnosed? Just from the symptoms?
  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 11,957 Senior Member
    I think a blood test will confirm. Shingles could be very dangerous for your sick husband , so go to a DR asap, as the Mayo Clinic recommends.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,693 Senior Member
    I will. Because of the lack of rash, it really didn't cross my mind that it could be shingles until my friend suggested it. I may try the walk in clinic rather than our new doc. The doc there is a bit more experienced!

    But from reading about it, it sounds like the shingles itself is not contagious but you can pass chicken pox on to someone. My hisband has had chicken pox.

    Having read some of those stories, the vaccination sounds a bit risky.
  • patsmompatsmom Registered User Posts: 4,199 Senior Member
    I've had the numbness and pins & needles on my upper thigh but not the burning pain. Mine was diagnosed as meralgia paresthetica. When I researched it online, I found a lot of sufferers described a burning sensation, so you might want to see if maybe the description fits your symptoms.

    Mine's caused by a pinched nerve somewhere in the hip area, I think.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,693 Senior Member
    Actually, that's what I thought it was (darned internet) until the skin became so painful.

    It has been going on for months on and off. I wish our old family doc was still here. Sigh.
  • surfcitysurfcity Registered User Posts: 1,942 Senior Member
    My mom had shingles without the rash, and it was very painful. Hers was on her back and I believe it was one side only. I think that is one of the hallmarks - is yours only on one side? I think a blood test can confirm as well
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,693 Senior Member
    Yes, it is on just one side.
  • dadxdadx Registered User Posts: 2,577 Senior Member
    I know someone who had shingles with essentially no rash, and it went undiscovered for a while as his strength waned to the point where it evolved into an encephalitis that could have been fatal. I'd request that something be done to eliminate the possibility that shingles is causing your symptoms.
  • nj2011momnj2011mom Registered User Posts: 2,885 Senior Member
    I was offered the shingles vaccine at my recent physical, but was told if I was to be in contact with anyone w a compromised immune system (ie, going through chemo or HIV positive) or anyone <1 year to not take the vaccine. I declined, as I have a close friend in chemo & D1 is a summer nanny for a 9 month old.
  • worrywartworrywart Registered User Posts: 1,783 Senior Member
    How about the rash without the pain? I've been breaking out in blisters in one area of my back for the past 10 days or so and in the past two days a couple more have popped up at the same "latitude" on my front rib cage. Went to the dermatologist today and was surprised to hear it's shingles since I don't have the intense pain I've heard so much about. Just itchiness and discomfort if I make contact with it. Anyone had this experience?

    I'm now on Valacyclovir which is making me dizzy and out of it. I almost felt better before the diagnosis.
  • peacefulmompeacefulmom Registered User Posts: 706 Member
    "I keep meaning to go to the doc, but we have a new one that I don't have much faith in."

    Do you have a dermatologist that you have faith in? It is so hard when you don't have faith in your doctor. Sorry for your pain.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,462 Senior Member
    Get the antiviral medication, it will do no harm if you do not have Shingles, but if you do have it, the sooner you tackle it the better.
  • worrywartworrywart Registered User Posts: 1,783 Senior Member
    somemom, I believe that is what I'm taking (Valacyclovir).
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,462 Senior Member
    WW- I meant that for the OP, but that should be good for you, though any eruption you already see on your body will have to heal the normal way, the Rx does not make the rash or pain go away faster, it stops it from worsening and it prevents further outbreak.
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