Can Shingles Affect Your Joints?

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Shingles is a blistering, painful skin rash that is common among older adults. It can cause pain in different areas of the body. If you are experiencing joint pain, it could be associated with the onset of shingles.

Can joint pain be from shingles?
Can joint pain be from shingles?

Herpes Zoster

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a rash due to the virus that causes chickenpox. According to MedlinePlus, once you have an outbreak of chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in your body until it appears later in life as shingles.

Shingles is a rash due to the virus that causes chickenpox
Shingles is a rash due to the virus that causes chickenpox (Image: librakv/iStock/Getty Images)

Symptoms

A blistering skin rash is the most common symptom of shingles. Other symptoms that can occur are chills, fever, headaches, hearing loss, joint pain and muscle weakness.

Mature man with symptoms accompanying the Shingles virus
Mature man with symptoms accompanying the Shingles virus (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Associated Pain

The herpes zoster virus remains dormant and is stored in nerve cells, which may explain joint and muscle pain and weakness. If you have an outbreak of shingles and are experiencing joint pain, it may be associated with the virus.

If you are experiencing joint and muscle pain in addition to shingles symptoms, then it may be associated with the virus
If you are experiencing joint and muscle pain in addition to shingles symptoms, then it may be associated with the virus (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Treatment

The shingles rash goes away on its own over time. Treatment is usually for the pain associated with shingles--either in the area of the outbreak, abdominal region, muscles or joints. Let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing joint pain that is bothersome.

There is treatment available for the pain associated with shingles
There is treatment available for the pain associated with shingles (Image: Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Research

The shingles virus is one of many herpes virus strains that is still undergoing research. A vaccine is available to prevent shingles, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for adults over the age of 60.

There is a vaccination available to prevent shingles for those over the age of 60
There is a vaccination available to prevent shingles for those over the age of 60 (Image: Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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