Post-herpetic neuralgia is the name given to pain that occurs in the nerves of someone who has previously had shingles. It can be caused by shingles itself or by a bacterial infection of the brain, or both. It can also occur without any known cause.
Post-herpetic neuralgia can occur in any nerve affected by shingles, but it most commonly affects the trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve). This nerve carries sensation from your face to your brain, which means that it may be responsible for causing pain when your face is touched. Post-herpetic neuralgia may also cause pain when you eat hot or cold foods and liquids, chew gum or ice cubes, or blow your nose. The symptoms of post-herpetic neuralgia vary from person to person; some people experience intense pain while others only experience mild discomfort.
The good news is that post-herpetic neuralgia almost always goes away on its own within several months of onset—though this may take up to two years depending on the severity of symptoms experienced by each individual patient.