Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Capsaicin For Nerve Pain: Pros And Cons

Today's post from one of the best and most reliable medical information sites, webmd.com (see link below) explains what capsaicin is and more importantly, how to use it. Many people with neuropathy try capsaicin at least once but many are put off by the side effects and the accidental rubbing of fingers in the eyes or nose (extremely painful). Some patients are also prescribed high-strength, capsaicin patches by their doctors, or buy them online but they should be aware that you do need guidance as to how to use them safely. As a result, capsaicin gets a bad rap sometimes but can be extremely effective against nerve pain. This article explains all you need to know before deciding whether to try capsaicin creams or patches or not.

What Is Capsaicin?
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 10, 2017

In this Article
Why Should You Use It?
How Is Capsaicin Used?
Side Effects of Capsaicin

You might not be familiar with the name, but you probably know the taste. Capsaicin is the stuff in chili peppers that makes your mouth feel hot. But it's also got a medical purpose. It's a key ingredient in creams and patches that can give you relief from pain.
Why Should You Use It?

When you put capsaicin on your skin, you help block pain messages to your nerves. Studies show capsaicin creams and patches can help relieve pain that's due to:

Joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Muscle sprains and strains
Migraines and other severe headaches

Some research suggests it may help improve scaling, inflammation, redness, and pain from psoriasis. It may also help relieve pain from nerve damage that's due to:

Postherpetic neuralgia
Peripheral diabetic neuropathy

How Is Capsaicin Used?

Capsaicin comes in two main forms:

Capsaicin cream. For most types of pain relief, your doctor may suggest you try capsaicin cream, lotion, ointment, gel, stick, film, or ointment. You usually don't need a prescription.

To treat headaches, you'll dab a bit inside your nostrils. Otherwise you'll rub it thoroughly onto your skin in the area where you hurt, several times a day. Wash your hands before and after you use it, and keep it away from your eyes and mouth.
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Capsaicin patches. They have higher levels of capsaicin than creams. Your doctor may suggest it for postherpetic neuralgia or other long-term conditions like diabetic neuropathy.

You can only get the capsaicin patch at a doctor's office. She'll numb the area before applying it. Expect the process to take around 2 hours.

The capsaicin patch may help relieve pain for up to 3 months. Avoid touching the patch while it's on your skin. 

Side Effects of Capsaicin

Both creams and patches can irritate your skin and cause problems like:

Redness and swelling
Burning and itching

This sometimes gets worse in hot and humid weather, when you bathe in warm water, and when you sweat. It usually lasts for just few days but can continue for 2 to 4 weeks.

Capsaicin can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun and heat, so use sunscreen every time you head outdoors.

Like any drug, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Call you doctor if you get itching, hives, swelling in your throat, chest tightness, and trouble breathing

The patch can also cause rare side effects that affect your heart, including a slow or fast heart rate and a change in blood pressure. Let your doctor know if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems or high blood pressure.


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