Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox in childhood. After the primary outbreak of chickenpox as a child, the virus lays dormant in the body’s spinal cord for life. What causes this reactivation is unknown but is thought to be due to emotional stress, suppressed immune system or hormone imbalances. Usually showing symptoms unilaterally, the pain first appears at the middle of the spine then shoots around the ribs of the front of the chest.
Signs and symptoms:
- Pain shooting around from the back to the front of the ribs
- Pus filled blisters along one or two ribs
- Redness and swelling
- Pins and needles numbness along the ribs
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