running and shingles

hi, i was wondering if anyone here has had shingles. you get it if uve had chicken pox as a kid, since the virus lays dormant in a nerve in the spine and then comes back if u get stressed or have a shock. ive got quite a lot of stress due to family problems, its been quite serious actually and has even interfered with my running. shingles only affects one part of the body, like part of a leg, arm or on one side of the face, it depends which nerve it attacks.

anyway i went for this nice hilly run about 12 days ago, round parbold hill, i went there especially. i love it there, but it was rainy and i wore waterproofs which were too hot for the temp. now i got back and felt sore on my left thigh, like a burning itch, but nothing was there. i thought it was just prickly heat.

a few days later i got spots, but still didnt know what it was. my mum made me fumigate my room thinking id got fleas off the cat, though i was sure it wasn't. meanwhile, i was still able to run and felt fine, i even did hilly fartlek on saturday and felt great. but by the bank holiday it was driving me mad. i had to go to the A&E where they told me to take piriton antihistamine tablets, saying it was a bite or allergy from something outdoors.

but it didn't itch exactly, it was more of a burning pain. that's coz it is the nerves under the skin that are affected, even when the spots go. yesterday i went to the GP who diagnosed shingles. i have been very lucky not to get it on my face or arm, since it can lead to sight problems on the face or scarring. im not bothered about scars on my thigh since i wear long shorts anyway, i'm just thankful that i've been given a warning sign to try to sort my life out.

now i was just wondering has anyone else had it, and if so how long did the nerve pain last? did you run with it? i'm staying off work to recover, but i'm contemplating doing a fell race since the Dr said it's ok if i'm not feeling tired, in fact it might be good for me to enjoy myself.

hope ur all having better health than me!



  • I worked for a consultant gynaecologist who ran FLM (in 1989), at the age of 62, with a dose of shingles, and did a pretty good time, too.

    Take your doc's advice, Severa, and go according to how you feel. You're young, so statistically you're likely to make an excellent recovery and are less likely than an older person to be left with residual nerve pain at the affected area.

    You're a very mild infection hazard - you COULD transmit chickenpox to someone who had never had it - so don't deliberately get up close to anyone who is pregnant and hasn't had chickenpox herself, or has a dodgy immune system due to steroids or disease.

    Hope you're better soon!
  • I have a recurring spot on my left buttock (I'm sure everybody wanted to know that detail) which often starts with nerve pain on the side of my leg a few days earlier.
    I hadn't had it for years but I had a bout of it in February just after I started running more seriously.
    I took it as a warning that I needed to take better care of myself, like you every time I've had it I was either physically or emotionally tired (though I have had very stressful times when it didn't flare up).

    For me the nerve pain disappears as soon as the spots and blisters appear. These itch a bit but it is bearable. I just cover with some antiseptic stuff and a non-stick gauze pad until the blisters heal. At that point my main complaint is that the lymph nodes in my groin become swollen and painful while the blisters are there, and the skin can take a long time to heal properly. Both don't stop me doing things, but it makes sense to not overdo it and give your body time to deal with it.

    Btw the first time I had it my gp at that time diagnosed it as herpes simplex (which causes fever blisters on lips) instead of herpes zoster (which is chickenpox and shingles), the next gp called it shingles.
    From what I've read about shingles that seems to usually cover larger areas of the body and mine stays within an inch circle so it may not be shingles.

    During my last attack I did some more reading and one thing I learned is that anti-viral medication has improved so when you start to feel the tingling pain again it is worth seeing your gp and getting medication that may prevent an attack.

    I'm lucky in that I have never had lasting nerve pain, and I hope that yours disappears soon!
  • Velociraptor, thanks for the advice, i was pleased to hear that someone else managed to run well with shingles! i think most of my family have had chicken pox, and since the spots are on the top of my leg theyre always covered and im not likely to get near enough to anyone to spread it.

    i ran the winter hill fell race today, and felt a little bit tired, but had decided to take it easy, not try to race the descents or try to place well. it was an enjoyable experience since i'd never been there b4, and at least now i have knowledge of the course when i return to race there properly, God willing!

    Roos, its unfortunate you get repeated bouts of the problem, i read that its unlikely that you get shingles twice unless ur taking certain medication which depresses the immune system. maybe ur just unlucky, but i also heard that you can get antiviral drugs to lessen the pain if it's detected early. at least neither of us has it on our face, though. that can be really bad. i read that where it flares up is in whatever nerve it's been stored, latent, since first getting chicken pox!
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