You might start by seeing your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a nerve specialist (neurologist) or a doctor who specializes in the treatment of chronic pain.
Here's information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before a specific test. Make a list of:
- Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
- Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For postherpetic neuralgia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's likely causing my symptoms?
- What else could cause my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What's the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:
Sept. 16, 2015
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you had chickenpox? When?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Postherpetic neuralgia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 1, 2015.
- Tseng HF, et al. Zoster vaccine and the risk of postherpetic neuralgia in patients who developed herpes zoster despite having received the zoster vaccine. Journal of Infectious Diseases. In press. Accessed Sept. 1, 2015.
- Johnson RW, et al. Postherpetic neuralgia. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:1526.
- Dubinsky RM, et al. Practice parameter: Treatment of postherpetic neuralgia. American Academy of Neurology. 2004;63:959.
- Sampathkumar P, et al. Herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2009;84:274.
- Important drug warning. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://google2.fda.gov/search?q=cache:EKB1SS0qgzQJ:www.fda.gov/downloads/safety/medwatch/safetyinformation/safetyalertsforhumanmedicalproducts/ucm213266.pdf+tramadol+suicide+risk&client=FDAgov&site=FDAgov&lr=&proxystylesheet=FDAgov&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&access=p&oe=UTF-8. Accessed Sept. 3, 2015.