Postherpetic Neuralgiaaccording to TCM

What is Postherpetic Neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia is a nerve pain condition that persists after a shingles infection has subsided. It is recognized by lingering pain in the areas of the skin where the shingles outbreak occurred. This condition can be particularly distressing because the pain is often severe and unresponsive to standard pain-relief medications.

The pain of postherpetic neuralgia is typically described as a sharp, stabbing, or burning sensation and may be accompanied by sensitivity to touch or temperature changes.

How does TCM view Postherpetic Neuralgia?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) interprets postherpetic neuralgia as a blockage of Qi and Blood, leading to an imbalance in the body's natural energy flow. Such blockages can be caused by the lingering pathogenic influence of a viral infection — in this case, the herpes zoster virus.

TCM prioritizes understanding the unique pattern of disharmony in each patient, which is essential for providing targeted treatment. By identifying the underlying imbalances, TCM practitioners can formulate a treatment plan that addresses both the symptoms and the root cause.

Causes of Postherpetic Neuralgia According to TCM

In the TCM framework, postherpetic neuralgia is often attributed to the Stagnation of Qi and Blood, which creates heat and subsequently Toxic-Heat in the Channels, leading to pain.

Another contributing factor can be a Deficiency of Yin, which fails to nourish and moisten the body, resulting in a vulnerability to lingering pathogenic factors. These imbalances can be the result of an unresolved external invasion or an internal condition that weakens the body's defenses, allowing the virus to cause prolonged damage.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Postherpetic Neuralgia

To address the complex nature of postherpetic neuralgia, TCM recommends herbal formulas that support Blood tonification and Qi movement. For instance, Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang utilizes the gentle nourishing properties of White Peony Roots to soothe and harmonize the Liver and Spleen, which are often implicated in chronic pain conditions according to TCM.

This approach not only aims to alleviate pain but also to rectify the underlying imbalances that contribute to the persistence of symptoms, providing a holistic treatment strategy.

See more details below about Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang, a herbal formula used to address postherpetic neuralgia.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that tonify blood

TCM Herbs for Postherpetic Neuralgia

See more details below about White Peony Roots (Bai Shao), a herb used to address postherpetic neuralgia.

  • By Herb Category
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency