Mayo Clinic Connect
4 days after my 2nd Shingrix vaccination, I suddenly developed intense peripheral neuropathy in both feet…for the first time in my life…anyone else?
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My husband has developed peripheral neuropathy affecting his feet in the last half year, and when I looked up possible causes outside of diabetes (since he is not diabetic and quite healthy with a very healthy lifestyle), I saw infectious causes including viruses like the one which causes shingles. That piece of information immediately made me line up my husband’s receiving the 2-vaccine Shingrix vaccine series with the onset of his peripheral neuropathy…tingling in his feet after the first one and now after the second one the symptoms of numbness and tingling have worsened. How is your neuropathy now? Has it lessened with the passage of time or are you having to manage it with prescriptions or therapies?
I received the 2nd Shingrex dose on February 12, 2019. I am a 62 year old male and do not have diabetes. Two nights later in bed, I experienced intense itching on my legs, feet, arms and hands. A few nights later, I experienced intense "electrical tingling" throughout my body along with nausea and lower abdominal pain. I don't know how else to describe this awful sensation. By morning, it was gone. This quickly evolved into regular daily sensations of burning feet, itching, tingling, or pin pricks of pain in these same locations. I became so alarmed that I made an appt. at the Neurological Dept at the University of Michigan. They listened to my story, did some blood tests, and gave me an MRI of my neck. Their vague diagnosis was either cervical arthritis or inflammation brought on by exercising. They offered no explanation for the leg and foot symptoms. Their recommendation is to start taking Gabapentin and get something called cervical traction from a physical therapist. I did mention to them that I had recently gotten the 2nd Shingrix dose but at that time I had not yet realized that the symptoms started only two days later and they had no reaction in any case. (We only realized this fact last night when we looked at the date of the vaccination). The only side-effect I had from the first dose was an extremely sore arm. It has been just over three months now and my feet are burning as I write this. There are symptoms every day with some days better than others but this has taken the joy out of my life.I will be seeing my PCP in two days. My greatest fear is that this may never go away and i am really just p****d off about this. I realize that it is probably impossible to prove that my symptoms are due to Shingrix but the timing is certainly suspect. I wish I had never heard of Shingrix. – Jim in Michigan
Jim- I just read your post to my 65 year old husband who also is not diabetic and has developed peripheral neuropathy in both of his feet. Just tonight, I was researching other causes and when I saw virus infections like that which causes shingles, I immediately lined up his Shingrix vaccines to his new onset peripheral neuropathy. We agree that the timing is indeed suspect…have you had any improvement since you posted your comments?
Never had the vaccine, but my PN came on sudden and was is very intense. This happened following extreme internal pain in my abdomen which ended up being herpetic neuralgia followed a few weeks later by a second shingles outbreak. My doctor says it’s diabetes related which seems reasonable based on my sugars and length of time being diabetic, however I personally suspect shingles as being the culprit. Why? Because this was so sudden and so intense where it involved my hands fingers legs feet all at once that this had to have been viral, in my opinion. Anyways the vaccine surely has a small amount of live shingle virus and I think it is possible to cause PN.
Shingrex (the vaccine for shingles) is made by recombinant technology. It is not a live vaccine, and therefore cannot cause Shingles.
Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus which lies dormant in your body until it is stimulated by many known and unknown things to cause shingles, which is therefore a viral illness.
Shingles is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It can become a chronic condition called post herpetic neuralgia, which is chronic pain in the area of the rash, even after the rash disappears. "Typical" peripheral neuropathy is usually a problem in the extremities.
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Immediately after my first Shingrix shot I developed sensory neuropathy, not peripheral neuropathy. I am reluctant to get the 2nd Shingrix.
I’m not suggesting Shingrex causes a viral infection. I am wondering if Shingrix can trigger an autoimmune response and that elevated autoimmune response can cause peripheral neuropathy. The correlation of this onset of my husband’s peripheral neuropathy with his receiving this vaccine regimen is what is concerning. I am curious about the post-marketing adverse events associated with Shingrex.
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@memomsloan, what is the difference between sensory neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy?
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@mic3, I can't find any information about Shingrex causing an autoimmune response that results in peripheral neuropathy, although of course with this disease anything is possible. Shingrex is recommended to patients with PN.
I originally replied to this post on May 21st 2019 (please read it) where I blamed Shingrix for my newly developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. I must now disavow that post and can say that the vaccine did not cause it. In my case – it was from a combination of sciatica due to longstanding lower back dysfunction and the existence of a trigger point in both of my piriformis muscles. I am successfully resolving the symptoms by treating the lower back with what are known as Mckenzie exercises which are a type of physical therapy. But the most relief is occurring from rubbing the piriformis trigger points with a Thera-Cane as described in the excellent book 'THE TRIGGER POINT THERAPY WORKBOOK' 3rd Edition by Clair Davies. Piriformis trigger points can cause all of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy because the piriformis muscle will be pressing on the nerve that goes right to the feet. If you are not diabetic and have developed peripheral neuropathy, I can only urge you to educate yourself on what I have described. Most doctors (especially older ones) have no knowledge or training about trigger points, but some recently graduated do. In my case – it was unfortunate that the symptoms occurred at the same time as when I got the Shingrix vaccine which was obviously purely coincidental. I hope this information will help somebody out there.
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Thanks so much for your reply and suggestion! We are not only looking for the cause of the sudden peripheral neuropathy but also ideas on ways to address it! I really appreciate your taking the time to respond!
Yes, I have had improvement. Shingrix did not cause it. In my case – it was from a combination of sciatica due to longstanding lower back dysfunction (probably disc herniation) and the existence of a trigger point in both of my piriformis muscles.(They are in your butt cheeks) I am successfully resolving the symptoms by treating the lower back with what are known as Mckenzie exercises which are a type of physical therapy. But the most relief is occurring from rubbing the piriformis trigger points with a Thera-Cane as described in the excellent book 'THE TRIGGER POINT THERAPY WORKBOOK' 3rd Edition by Clair Davies. Piriformis trigger points can cause all of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy because the piriformis muscle will be pressing on the nerve that goes right to the feet. If you are not diabetic and have developed peripheral neuropathy, I can only urge you to educate yourself on what I have described. Most doctors (especially older ones) have no knowledge or training about trigger points, but some recently graduated do. In my case – it was unfortunate that the symptoms occurred at the same time as when I got the Shingrix vaccine which was obviously purely coincidental. I hope this information will help somebody out there.
@jenniferhunter @jeffrapp and @johnbishop might have some thoughts on the trigger point therapy you were talking about, @19jimmy57.
Hello @19jimmy57, I was not familiar with trigger point therapy and found a link that ties it in with Myofascial Release Therapy which several members on Connect have used and there is a discussion on Connect.
Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php
> Groups > Neuropathy > Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain
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