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Postherpetic Neuralgia Awareness

  • Published: 2010-09-16 : American Pain Foundation.
  • Synopsis: The American Pain Foundation Proclaims Second Annual Postherpetic Neuralgia Awareness Day.

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The American Pain Foundation Proclaims Second Annual Postherpetic Neuralgia Awareness Day.

Professional Baseball Player LaTroy Hawkins Raises Awareness of the Condition That Put Him on the Disabled List

The American Pain Foundation (APF), in partnership with professional baseball player LaTroy Hawkins, acknowledges those suffering from Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) today, as it recognizes the second annual PHN Awareness Day. PHN Awareness Day was created to raise awareness to the pain caused by shingles and PHN, also known as after shingles pain. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox and can affect an individual who has had chickenpox at anytime without warning. More than 90 percent of adults in the United States have had chickenpox, placing them at risk for shingles. One in every five of the 1 million Americans who have had shingles each year may go on to develop PHN, a potentially devastating condition that disproportionately affects those over the age of 50 or with weakened immune systems.

Hawkins suffered from shingles last year and still experiences PHN pain today. As a PHN Awareness Day spokesperson, Hawkins will share his PHN story and discuss how he manages the pain.

"As a professional pitcher, back and shoulder pain is something you deal with on a regular basis, but this was no ordinary pain," described Hawkins. In fact, after-shingles pain put him on the 15-day disabled list at one point and the burning sensitivity of his skin meant he couldn't even be covered when lying in bed. "Hugs," he said, "were completely out of the question." The pain even got in the way of his favorite down-time activities, such as hunting, fishing and helping people in his community. But for the most part, he, like many who suffer from this often excruciating condition, was playing through the pain.

Earlier this year, the APF, with support from Endo Pharmaceuticals, conducted a survey of shingles patients to determine if older adults are unaware of the risks and symptoms of PHN. Of the survey respondents who first experienced after-shingles pain, almost half did not think that it was related to their shingles rash and more than half (53%) said the pain they experienced after having shingles was more frustrating than actually having shingles.

"These survey results reinforce the need to continue to educate older Americans and health-care professionals about shingles and after-shingles pain," said APF Chief Executive Officer Will Rowe. "PHN Awareness Day is the ideal platform to remind those suffering that there is a network of support for them to learn more and connect with others who are affected by the condition."

PHN Awareness Day is one of the multiple initiatives that the APF is spearheading during National Pain Awareness Month to help spread the word about shingles and PHN. Additionally, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is partnering with the Patchwork of Hope Network (P.H.N.), an educational campaign sponsored by Endo Pharmaceuticals, which features live events across the country where attendees listen to presentations about PHN symptoms and potential treatment options, meet others affected by PHN, and have an opportunity to create individual quilt squares to tell their story about how PHN has affected their lives. To date, 738 people have attended P.H.N. events and a total of 524 quilt squares have been created.

The campaign maintains an interactive and informational website,, where visitors can learn more about PHN, utilize tools to help take control of their pain and join a community of support.

About Shingles and After-shingles Pain -Each year, shingles affects approximately 1 million Americans, and oftentimes, the early signs of it can easily be mistaken for another illness. Some people begin by feeling burning or shooting pain, numbness, tingling or itching in one area of the body or face, or mild-like flu symptoms, such as fever, headache, chills and nausea. In otherwise healthy people, the rash may disappear without major consequences in two to four weeks; however, one in five shingles sufferers may develop after-shingles pain.

About the Patchwork of Hope Network -The campaign kicked off in May with an educational, consumer event in Los Angeles, Calif., and a second event took place in June in Tampa, Fla. At these two events, attendees heard presentations about PHN symptoms and ways to cope, met others affected by PHN and had an opportunity to create individual quilt squares to tell their story about how PHN has affected their lives. The squares were sewn together to create a Patchwork of Hope Network quilt, which serves as a handmade testimonial to those who are affected by PHN pain. To learn more about the Patchwork of Hope Network campaign and what Hawkins is doing to support it, please visit This campaign is sponsored by Endo Pharmaceuticals.

About the American Pain Foundation -Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation (APF) is an independent nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy and support. The mission of APF is to improve the quality of life of people by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. For more information, visit

About the National Council on Aging -The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans - especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged - and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together non-profit organizations, businesses and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities. For more information, visit

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