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MCT or tens for post herpatic neuralgia

My 87 year old mother in law has had shingles for about 3 weeks and is in constant severe pain. GP has doubled the dose of amytriptylene. She is on gabapentine anyway I think for RA. I'm not sure of this is classed as post herpatic neuralgia or acute shingles pain at the moment.

I have googled painmaster-the type of MCT units I have and cannot find anything about using them with shingles. There are a few reports about TENS being effective. I have a tens unit which I will take for her on Wed. The one I have is the paingone easy patch vesion similar to the MCT in simplicity but I can't fathom out the volages used.

I wondered if anyone had any thoughts about which to try first?

She also managed to get the rash infected and then stuck to her cloths. It is now dressed but I'm not sure until I get there, if there is an 'open wound' or not. Would this affect what I can do?

Many thanks if you are able to answer this. She is in agony and naturally therefore very low.

Angie Gregory

1 year ago

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Many thanks. We have just managed to get her out of hospital following a blood transfusion from which she is exhausted. I will assess her in the morning!

Dr Ethne Nussbaum
Dr Ethne Nussbaum

I hope that you found your mother-in-law with some improvement. I have had moderate success using TENS for post-herpetic neuralgia. Depending on the extent of the skin lesions, I place electrodes along the affected segment with one anteriorly and one posteriorly at spinal root, or, if there is no intact skin available anteriorly, I place both electrodes posteriorly over the nerve roots bracketing the affected segment. Most often, I introduce patients to Conventional TENS, (about 100 Hz frequency and pulse duration around 250 micros) as well as to A-TENS (about 300 micros pulse duration and low frequency e.g. 3-5 Hz) and advise them to use C-TENS for long periods (could be hours at a time) or to use 30 mins A-TENS repeating 2-3 times a day as necessary. Whichever gives best pain control is the 'right' one to use. Hope this may help you in your decision. Ethne

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