Facts About Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia True/False:

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia is the same condition as the chicken pox.

False.  The “chicken pox” is caused by the herpes-zoster virus.  After a person has the chicken pox, there will always be a chance that the herpes-zoster virus can return (the virus is not killed after the chicken pox resolves, it only remains dormant).  If the chicken pox virus becomes activated later in life by a trigger that the immune system can’t suppress, it is referred to as Shingles.  Shingles is painful because the virus is found in the nerve cells, and extends down nerve fibers to the skin, forming the blisters and rash- this is why people say the pain “runs along the nerve”.  Post-Herpetic Neuralgia occurs in some cases when the pain of the Shingles lasts long after the skin is clear.

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia is contagious.

False.  This condition is not contagious, unlike the chicken pox. 

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia pain can last for months or even years.


The Shingles virus is contagious.

Both True and False.  The Shingles virus cannot be spread from person to person.  However, a person who has not had the chicken pox can contract the chicken pox if exposed to the blisters and rash from the Shingles.