Research Reports and Articles
Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
A Case Study by John o.a. Pagano, d.c.* – THE A.R.E. JOURNAL May 1984, Vol. XIX, No. 3
“In September of 1983 I was stricken with a condition known as herpes zoster (shingles). It was considered to be severe and dangerous, in that the virus involved affected the 5th cranial nerve, which is distributed across the face, ear and orbit of the eye. In addition to seeking medical help, I sent for the Edgar Cayce (Circulating) Files on shingles and followed the readings as closely as possible…
“Since this is not an uncommon condition, I decided to document the entire procedure I followed. . .” (From a letter written by Dr. Pagano, January 10, 1984)
As I lie here in my bed, two weeks after the first streaks of pain ran across the left side of my face and head, I reflect on the poignant words of Benjamin Franklin: “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” How often I had advised my patients to take heed of nature’s warnings of fatigue and overwork, saying “If you don’t rest, nature will put you to rest!” Perhaps there is a great deal of knowledge gained by experience, but this is one experience I could very well have lived without!
The warnings were all there-for months, not just a few days. They were not to be ignored, but ignore them I did. Why? Well, because I can’t get sick! I am a physician doing the Lord’s work; I will always be protected because of this worthy endeavor-or so I thought!
On Tuesday, September 27, 1983, there was a definite, abnormal sting of pain across the left side of my face. It was extremely sensitive to the touch, but no external manifestations were observed. The next day, the tenderness increased to the point of being intense, but no external signs as yet. From my experience in practice I initially diagnosed the condition as a mild case of tic douloureux, an inflammatory nerve condition affecting the 7th, facial, cranial nerve.
On the third day, however, the scene radically changed. Small little “bumps” began to form across the left side of my forehead, orbit of the eye, cheekbone, around and back of the ear, and into the neck. The pain was like the placing of a red-hot branding iron across the face. At this point, I knew what it was, but still couldn’t believe it was happening to me without “warning.” With tic douloureux, there is intense pain from the 7th cranial nerve, but no blistering or redness or even swelling. The lymph glands are usually normal and no fever is involved. With me, the picture was laid out!
Intense burning pain, swollen lymph glands, fiery red blisters, eye irritation, fever, extreme weakness, and neck stiffness-diagnosis: herpes zoster (shingles), a viral (chicken pox) infection of the 5th (trigeminal) cranial nerve. I braced myself for what was to come.
At this point, I could only work toward and pray for a successful outcome. Scarring of the face, eight problems or auditory complications are not unusual when the disease strikes in this most dangerous area. Having a close friendship with a fine physician, Arthur Faust, M.D., I immediately sought his advice on the problem. He confirmed the diagnosis of shingles, and I was injected for five days once a day, intramuscularly, with 1 ½ cc.’s of ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone). In a number of cases ACTH has acted favorably by stimulating the body to produce its own cortisone, but there were differences of opinion among the medical experts. Personally, I feel it did help. Cortisone, though discussed, was ruled out by physicians I consulted because of the possible dangerous effects it may produce.
Complete bed rest, analgesic pills, and cold towels on the face to relieve the excruciating facial pain were also required. It was made clear to me, not only by my medical internist but also later by a leading ophthalmologist that the cause of herpes zoster is unknown-and there is no cure. The cure could take anywhere from two weeks to several months, even years! This I would not accept. I intended to use every possible physical measure along with spiritual affirmations of total and complete healing.
The A.R.E. Circulating Files Index list a file on “Herpes Zoster (Shingles),” which also contains a commentary by Hezekiah Chinwah, M.D. Since the pain was so severe, I called my good friend Robert Clapp at A.R.E. Headquarters and asked if he would send me the file posthaste so that I could examine the readings and apply the suggestions. The file arrived in 48 hours! Among the hundreds of files I have ever studied, this was one of the clearest, most understandable and concise.
From Dr. Chinwah’s excellent breakdown of reading 322-4, we discover that poor eliminations are invariably at the root of the problem, this being initiated by a variety of mechanisms. In reading 106-4 we learn that hyperacidity “is produced by the over-taxation of the body with those properties that create an unbalance [imbalance] in the hydrochloric portion of the system. . .” which in turn affects the circulation (capillaries, emunctories or lymphatics), the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, liver, etc., resulting in poor eliminations. Then, irritation is set up in the skin, leading to the rash (the virus presumably is able to set in and cause problems under these conditions). Other causes of poor eliminations cited in these readings were: poor diet (527-3); respiratory flu causing congestion in the colon (338-9); general debilitation (1944-1); spinal lesions (3139-1); and malfunction in the hepatic circulation (322-4).
Of the above possible causes, I immediately related to three of them as playing a major role in my being stricken with this disease:
- Poor diet. For several months I had not been eating enough alkalineproducing foods, and regular meals were rare. This produced an overall acid condition in which bacteria and viruses thrive.
- General debility. In 1983 it seemed that my workload had intensified to the point that I was refusing new patients except in emergency situations. This brought me to the edge of exhaustion.
- Spinal lesions. In my particular case, I feel this was the primary cause. Not for months but for years, the demands of my work, especially administering certain very strenuous adjustments, have caused a spraining of my upper cervical spine, producing a migraine-type headache that only bed rest for a day or so would relieve. The area involved is the same area where the 5th cranial nerve emanates from the foramen magnum at the base of the skull. It is my contention that I sprained it so often that it became my “Achilles‟ heel.” With an unbalanced diet, heavy work demands and other stressful situations, I had little time to “play,” and I became the perfect host for the virus. It settled in the weakened area, the upper cervical spine.
Having pinpointed the cause of my situation, I immediately set out to follow, to the best of my ability, the suggestions clearly outlined in the Circulating File. They included:
- Hot castor oil packs placed directly on the swollen lymph glands behind the ear and upper cervical spine, the area of the root of the particular nerve involved.
- Highly alkaline diet, along with the taking of a few drops of Glyco-Thymoline in warm water each day to further alkalize the system.
- Taking the tri-salts – sulphur, cream of tartar and Rochelle salts-for internal cleansing each day. (Anything I could use to enhance better eliminations was stressed.)
- Spinal adjustments by my chiropractic colleague, Dr. John Cece. (This measure did much to relieve cervical congestion.)
- Massages of the neck and upper dorsals with an equal mixture of peanut oil and witch hazel. (This was accomplished by my dear friend, Ingrid Werner, who projected positive, healing thought patterns while the neck massages were applied.)
In addition to these therapies, I used electrotherapy (medcolator) pads at the base of the brain and upper cervical spine. This treatment relieved pressure built up in this area.
Cold or hot applications, depending on the reaction of each, were to be used to relieve the stinging pain. I found that, during the peak of the attack, applications of cold towel compresses worked best and were most soothing.
Besides a highly alkaline diet, I took additional vitamins. One reading was clear on this: “The only vitamins we would take would be the B-1 complex; the One-a-Day brand would be preferable. The rest of the vitamins may be added in the diets, if those indicated are followed.” (3185-11)
The readings also called for the use of a mixture of balsam of Peru, stearate of zinc and chalk (Johnson & Johnson Dusting Powder), and the use of the Wet Cell Appliance, but neither of these measures was available to me.
The irritation within the eye was of highest concern. If the virus invaded the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve, the complications would be disastrous. Hospitalization would be necessary in an attempt to prevent lesions from forming on the cornea. I placed a drop of castor oil directly into the eyeball several times a day. It was most soothing, to say the least, and perhaps far more productive in the healing process. Careful examination by my ophthalmologist revealed no infiltration into the eye, even though pain was severe through the orbit of the eye and through all surrounding structures.
Along with the physical therapies, the readings gave me some positive affirmations: “Much has been given this body as respecting the mental and spiritual attitude, and that the attitude is reflected more in that in which the individual entity meets its problems with itself as well as with others. If there are the worries and aggravations, these worries and aggravations will reflect in the functioning of the organs of the central nerve and blood supply as well as in the sympathetic. Then know in whom ye believe and know He is able to keep that ye may commit unto Him against any experience.” (338-9)
The fever broke on the third day following the appearance of lesions on the forehead and now. The burning sensation began to subside, and gradually I felt strength coming back into my arms and body. Bed rest was still the order of the day, however, especially since a migraine now raised its ugly head. A pounding pain at the base of the skull and on into the eye made it impossible to sleep well. Analgesic capsules, castor oil packs and spinal manipulations offered the only relief. Cold applications at the base of the brain brought relief at times by obviously helping to reduce the internal swelling in the area of the brain stem. Until this swelling could be completely reduced, I felt the headaches would persist. Slowly, as the infection was washed out of my body, the swelling reduced and the pressure was at least bearable. After 10 days, the worst was over, and the gradual process of rebuilding began.
As the last vestige of pain leaves my head and neck, I feel a sense of gratitude. I healed in the minimum amount of time possible. Any scarring involved seems also minimal, and with time and use of the scar massage formula, I hope that this, too, will disappear. The eye and vision are unaffected. There are no hearing problems. The headaches are gone, and the flashes of pain through the face have virtually subsided. In general, I am as good as new. I attribute this unquestionably fast result to the quick action of my medical and chiropractic physicians, the home care by my devoted family and dear friends, and the application-as much as possible-of suggestions from the Cayce readings. It may never be known which treatment played the most important role in ridding my body of this painful affliction. Perhaps it was one or several or a combination of all of them.
I do not believe it necessary or advisable to bring health to others by losing your own. When Edgar Cayce was working himself to a frazzle, he was advised quite often to stop and regenerate himself. When he asked for how long, the answer came with unmitigated certainty: as long as it takes. Did the unseen force of universal mind abandon me and cause me to become ill – me, a physician dedicated to helping humanity? No! Not by any stretch of the imagination. It was I who abandoned the voice within by ignoring constant warnings to balance my life. In the only way possible, I was put to rest for a while to take stock of who I am, where I am, and where I am going.
Note: Dr. John O. A. Pagano is a chiropractic physician. His noteworthy work with psoriasis has been documented and filmed and is the subject of a display in the A.R.E. Library. A member of the A.R.E. for over 20 years, he has given many lectures on Edgar Cayce and has appeared on radio and television programs. He resides in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and is an A.R.E. Cooperating Doctor.
Note: As this information is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, your use of this database of information indicates that you are aware of our recommendation that you consult with a professional healthcare provider before taking any action.