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Shingles pain can drastically affect your day to day life

Shingles blisters can appear as a 'band' on the body, usually around the torso area
Most people with shingles develop a painful rash, which usually appears as a band or belt on one side of their body.
Shingles is a painful rash that can cause red blisters and pain that can continue after the rash disappears (which is known as post herpetic neuralgia.)
Shingles pain can be severe and has been described as burning or stabbing.

Personal Stories

Shingles is more than just a rash. These Australian citizens have shared their personal experiences with shingles pain and postherpetic neuralgia, and how it has impacted their lives.

Leon, Kearney Spring, QLD
“Last year, I was at home recovering from an accident when I noticed a blistering rash which covered the left side of my chest and my left underarm.

The pain was so severe that I could not have anything touching it or any form of pressure on the rash, I was unable to wear clothing and was confined to my home.

Whilst the shingles rash cleared after a few weeks, I have lived with ongoing pain ever since, a permanent dull ache and intermittent stabbing pain. The pain is hard to manage at best, and with strong medication, I can sometimes go half a day without pain but I have to take sleeping tablets every night just to ensure I can get rest.”

Patient experiences may vary

My first symptoms were a driving headache,like someone tearing at my hair... It’s the worst thing I’ve ever suffered and I don’t want to have it again...

What does shingles pain feel like?

  • Most people with shingles develop a painful rash, which usually appears as a band or belt on one side of their body.
  • Shingles pain can be excruciating and has been described as burning or stabbing pain.
  • Shingles pain can disrupt sleep and everyday life.
  • Are you 70-79 years old? Elderly people with shingles can develop more severe complications.
    Older people are more likely to experience severe or long-lasting pain.

Shingles can cause serious medical complications

  • In most people, the shingles rash will last around 10 to 15 days, however complications can occur and the frequency and severity increases with age.1
  • Up to 20% of adults with shingles may develop long-term nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)) which may last for months, even years.1,2
  • Shingles on eye can lead to scarring and even blindness. Complications of ophthalmic zoster may include facial scarring and loss of vision
    Other potential complications include permanent scarring, vision loss (if the rash occurs around the eye) and increased risk of stroke.3,4

For more information about shingles please talk to your doctor.


  1. Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018, Accessed [9 May 2019]
  2. Oxman MN et al. In: Arvin AM et al., editors. Varicella-Zoster Virus: Virology and Clinical Management. 2000. p246–75
  3. Harpaz R et al. MMRW. 2008;57(RR-5): 1-30
  4. MacIntyre R. et al. PLoS ONE 2015.; 10(4):e0125025



Shingles Information & Resources

For further information about shingles and its complications such as PHN download the following resources:

How common is shingles? How to prevent shingles virus. Shingles information leaflet

Shingles Audio Information