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Treating Shingles Pain with Acupuncture

Updated: Jan 27

If you had chickenpox as a child, there's a 1 in 3 chance you could get shingles in your lifetime. Though shingles--like chickenpox--usually only happens once, there are cases of shingles breakouts happening two or three times. It's not an experience you want to repeat!

Although there is no cure for shingles, acupuncture can relieve pain and speed recovery from shingles breakouts.

What Is Shingles?

Also known as zoster, shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus can lie dormant for many years before recurring as shingles. Shingles causes inflammation of the spine and infection along the connecting nerves, leading to rash and blisters on the skin.

Shingles can be triggered by:

  • trauma

  • immune-suppressing diseases (pneumonia, cancer, HIV)

  • steroid use

  • prolonged stress

  • aging

A large number of shingles patients--a reported 18%-41%-- experience extremely intense, burning pain that Western pharmaceuticals aren't able to relieve. Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat the pain and inflammation associated with shingles without the negative side effects of drugs.

Acupuncture for Shingles

Acupuncture accelerates the healing process by releasing endorphins, which reduce stress levels in the body. The endorphin release helps restore the immune system's function, which works to deactivate and control the virus. Acupuncture points along the infected nerves work as an anti-inflammatory and help in the recovery and regeneration of the damaged nerves.

In studies, acupuncture had a 94% success rate at treating shingles pain. Comparatively, nerve pain medication (gabapentin) only had an 86% success rate and had withdrawal effects including insomnia, anxiety, and nausea.

If you have a shingles flare-up, don't suffer through the side effects and withdrawals of less effective painkillers! Call us at (321) 972-2940 to schedule your initial health consultation and start treating your pain naturally today!


Hunstad, Eric P. (2017). Acupuncture Information Manual.

Center for Disease Control. "Shingles: Overview." (n.d.) Retrieved from

HealthCMI. "Acupuncture Beats Drugs for Shingles Nerve Pain. (May 27, 2014). Retrieved from

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