About pain after

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What is pain
after shingles?

Normally, nerves send signals to tell the brain when your body is being harmed. These signals protect you.1

The shingles virus can damage nerves and cause them to send the wrong signals to your brain. The signals make the brain “think” that part of your body is hurt. The result is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).1

Pain after shingles may affect your quality of life.2

Pain after shingles can affect your emotional well-being, your sleep, your ability to carry out your daily activities, and your desire to participate in social activities.2

There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles in the US each year. About 10% to 13% of people who get shingles will experience pain after shingles.34


  1. Mallick-Searle T, Snodgrass B, Brant JM. Postherpetic neuralgia: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and pain management pharmacology. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2016;9:447-454.
  2. Johnson RW, Bouhassira D, Kassianos G, Leplège A, Schmader KE, Weinke T. The impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on quality-of-life. BMC Med. 2010;8:37.
  3. Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/index.html. Updated June 26, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2020.
  4. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Complications of Shingles. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/complications.html. Updated June 1, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2020.
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