After reading a lot of answers, it's quite obvious people respond differently to meds... I currently have Shingles, for the second time. I had a mild case 3 y ago. I realize it was mild before, because this time, the pain is different and way more blisters that eventually showed up. A couple weeks ago, I thought I pulled muscles around my left ribcage, front to back?? I know I felt this pain before, so It must be muscular, I thought. The pain, 2 weeks ago was moreso a pulling, constant intense deep achey pain where I had difficulty standing, sitting, sleeping... I raided my medicine cabinet and nothing was working. Commuting 2 hr one way to work was brutal. After a week of this I had my husband press hard on the areas attempting to massage what I thought were knotted muscles. I had a regular dr checkup already scheduled for the following week, so I figured I would discuss this pain then. (I should have went sooner)
At this point, I've gone over a week with the pain, had very little sleep, barely able to function at work etc, so after a week of this, as I head out the door for work, I grabbed some Excedrin extra strength migraine. On my commute in, my coworker and I started to notice I wasn't writhing in my seat anymore and I started to get some relief, it was the Excedrin that finally helped! Excedrin extra strength started Controlling my pain! What a relief!!!
However, last Thursday (day of dr appt), I wake up with the starts of a rash around my left torso, and a lightbulb goes off, Shingles! I suspected a day or so prior that that's what it was, but I didn't have a rash at that point ... looked it up and found out not everyone gets the visible rash. Now the pain has started to kick into the next pain level, and I've taken so much Excedrin around the clock for a week, my stomach is hurting and I'm trying to cut back some. Dr confirms shingles and gives me script for anti viral Med and gabapentin. I have heard mixed things with gabapentin and was reluctant to take it, but I did anyway. Today, 12-11-17, I have been on gabapentin and Excedrin and the combo is definitely helping. I am no longer feeling the pain as if you are about to be operated on without any anesthesia or meds. I actually know what that feels like, too, as I had both of my children by c-section and during the one, I was not completely numb when they started to cut me open! (Searing, burning, ripping pain.)
So, so far, for me, my gabapentin experience has been positive, however there are 5 refills, so hopefully I don't need them! If I do, I will be back on this forum to let you know! :-) .
Also, of note, besides my positive experience, so far, with gabapentin (and Excedrin, of which, the dr did NOT prescribe), my dr told me that a new Shingles vaccine is coming out soon. It was approved October 2017 and when it arrives at dr offices, my dr said he was getting it right away for himself, he highly recommended it. My dr did not tell me what the name of the vaccine is, but when I looked it up, I found news articles on Shingrix, I believe it's called. I will be getting it, as I want to take every precaution I don't get Shingles for a 3rd time, because as anyone that has had the shingles virus knows, it beyond painful and can linger. I hope something of what I wrote, albeit a long read, helps someone out there! Good luck!