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Shingles is caused by a virus called varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that sets up housekeeping in certain nerve cells. These nerve cells, or neurons, send messages -- including pain signals -- to the brain. VZV also causes chickenpox. Most people have chickenpox in their lifetime, even if it's so mild that you don't notice any symptoms. Afterward, VZV can settle into your nerve cells and live quietly for years without causing any problems. However, for some reason, VZV can become reactivated. When that happens, VZV multiplies and travels along nerve fibers. As it does so, VZV produces the painful symptoms of shingles.
Talk to your doctor about ways you can manage pain caused by shingles.
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