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Migraine Information (Home) > More Articles > Connection between Migraines and Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)

Is there a connection between Migraines and Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)?

Yes indeed there is a connection between postherpetic neuralgia and migraines and this is affecting a huge section of the population across the United States today. Actually the figures are quite startling. About 28 million patients in the US are diagnosed with headaches every year and many cases among them are actually misdiagnosed. Which means that migraine headaches related to postherpetic neuralgia are not always reported. Headache symptoms similar to migraines are also caused by sinusitis, brain tumors, arthritis and facial nerve disorders.

Why does Postherpetic Neuralgia lead to Migraines?

This happens due to 'referred pain'. Referred pain is when a part of the body hurts while the source of the pain is somewhere else. Postherpetic neuralgia destroys the nerves and the spinal cord tissues. And it hurts in these areas. And this is the precise area where migraines also originate – that is the neck and the spinal cord area. So postherpetic neuralgia pain is sometimes confused with migraine pains and it also at times lead to migraines.

What is Postherpetic Neuralgia?

Here is a great treatment for... Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic Neuralgia occurs due to a second outbreak of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Herpes Zoster has been known to affect a million people annually – 200,000 Americans are affected by its painful aftermaths. These aftermaths are referred to as postherpetic neuralgia.

Postherpetic Neuralgia affects the nerve fibers and skin and it pains a lot. In the young days most people have chickenpox and after medication most think that the virus has been eliminated. They are wrong.  Some elements of the virus remain dormant inside the nerve cells. Only after many years do they become active again. However this does not mean that it will lead to postherpetic neuralgia for all. Once the virus is working again, it starts moving, causing pain, and once it reaches the skin, it causes rashes and blisters. The pain differs from one person to another, and for a few it can be really acute.

Migraine pains and Postherpetic Neuralgia

Though postherpetic neuralgia mainly affects the skin, but the pain caused in the head, neck region and the spinal cord area is also considerable. Migraine originating in the brain is often thought of as a pain in the neck area, or just a stiff neck, and so the connection between the two is not established at all times. However the truth is to the contrary. Actually at times, the migraine pains remain even after the postherpetic neuralgia problem has been solved.

Here are a few early signs of the pain...

•    Sharp and jabbing, burning, or deep and aching pain
•    Extreme sensitivity to touch and temperature change
•    Severe headaches
•    In extreme cases, muscles weakness and even paralysis have been noticed.

Postherpetic Neuralgia and Migraine Headache Cure

Though there is a connection between the two, but it does not mean that curing the migraine headache will solve the postherpetic neuralgia problem. Though taking painkillers and sleeping reduces the pain for a while, but it is sure to make a comeback. So it is better to consult a professional and get the rashes checked or opt for a product that has a proven track record of fighting the cause, rather than the pain.


Though there is no direct connection between the two, but migraine pains do arise from  postherpetic neuralgia and this pain is referred to as 'referred pain'. The origin of both are in the same area and thus postherpetic neuralgia can lead to migraines.

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