While you may initially talk to your family doctor about your signs and symptoms, he or she may refer you to a nerve specialist (neurologist) or a doctor who specializes in the treatment of chronic pain.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you might want to write a list of answers to the following questions:
- What types of symptoms are you experiencing?
- When did these problems begin?
- Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
- Are your symptoms interfering with daily tasks?
- What medications or dietary supplements do you take?
- What treatments have you tried in the past for this pain?
What to expect from your doctor
During the exam, your doctor will look at your skin and ask you about your symptoms. He or she may touch your skin in different places, to determine the borders of the affected area and any changes in the sensation of touch and temperature.
He or she may ask you how the pain is affecting your enjoyment of life, your sleep and your interactions with others. Your doctor may also review in detail medications you may have tried for this pain, including the dosages and any side effects you experienced. It's helpful if you have collected this information prior to your appointment. Finally, he or she will review your other medical conditions and medications before determining the best course of treatment for you.
Nov. 13, 2012
- Treatment of postherpetic neuralgia. American Academy of Neurology. http://www.aan.com/professionals/practice/pdfs/pn_guideline_patients.pdf. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Postherpetic neuralgia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Watson P. Postherpetic neuralgia. American Family Physician. 2011;84:690.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Ultram (tramadol hydrochloride), Ultracet (tramadol hydrochloride/acetaminophen): Label change. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm213264.htm. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Watson JC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 17, 2012.
- Irving GA, et al. NGX-4010, a capsaicin 8% dermal patch, administered alone or in combination with systemic neuropathic pain medications, reduces pain in patients with postherpetic neuralgia. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2012;28:101.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Update on herpes zoster vaccine: Licensure for persons aged 50 through 59 years. MMWR. 2011;60:44. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6044a5.htm?s_cid=mm6044a5_w. Accessed July 18, 2012.