Shingles is a viral infection of the nerve roots. Most people recover from their bout, but the pain can linger for almost half of the people over 60 who don’t get treatment. It can last for months, years, or even the rest of their lives.
These people have what's called postherpetic neuralgia, the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin. In some cases, the pain is mild. In others, even the slightest touch -- from clothing or even a breeze -- can be excruciating.