Can Shingles Affect Your Joints?

Shingles is a blistering, painful skin rash that is common among older adults. It can cause pain in different areas of the body. If you are experiencing joint pain, it could be associated with the onset of shingles.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Herpes Zoster

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a rash due to the virus that causes chickenpox. According to MedlinePlus, once you have an outbreak of chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in your body until it appears later in life as shingles 1.


A blistering skin rash is the most common symptom of shingles. Other symptoms that can occur are chills, fever, headaches, hearing loss, joint pain and muscle weakness.

Associated Pain

The herpes zoster virus remains dormant and is stored in nerve cells, which may explain joint and muscle pain and weakness. If you have an outbreak of shingles and are experiencing joint pain, it may be associated with the virus.


The shingles rash goes away on its own over time. Treatment is usually for the pain associated with shingles--either in the area of the outbreak, abdominal region, muscles or joints. Let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing joint pain that is bothersome.


The shingles virus is one of many herpes virus strains that is still undergoing research. A vaccine is available to prevent shingles, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for adults over the age of 60 2.