Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. They typically appear as a rash on the trunk or face, but can occur anywhere. The rash is painful rather than itchy, and usually is in a fairly straight line as opposed to being spread all over the trunk. This is because they follow the path of a nerve, thus causing the pain. The rash will eventualy go away on its own - but if it can be treated with an anitviral medication the chronic symptoms left behind can be reduced. Very often the shingles rash will disappear but pain will persist in the same area - this because the nerve has been imprinted by the rash and continues to send a pain message to the brain. If necessary, the sensory nerve involved can be deadened to alleviate the pain without causing any muscular problems. Talk to your physician ASAP.