The Normal Course of Shingles
For the majority of healthy individuals, this second bout with the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) is almost always a second triumph of the body's immune system. The shingles attack may last longer than chickenpox and the person may need medication for pain, but in most cases, the body has the inner resources to fight back. Generally, over time, the symptoms of shingles improve. The lesions heal, the pain subsides within three to five weeks, and, for most people, the blisters leave no scars.
While this is the normal course for most people with shingles symptoms, it is possible for shingles complications to occur. Probably the most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia refers to pain that is present in the affected area for months, or even years, after the shingles rash has healed.
(You can read about postherpetic neuralgia and other possible complications of shingles by visiting the eMedTV article Shingles Complications.)