Capsaicin Cream


Capsaicin is the ingredient found in different types of hot peppers, such as chillies and cayenne peppers, that makes them spicy and hot. It is available as a dietary supplement and in topical creams that you apply to your skin. For the treatment of knee OA only the topical creams are of use.

Capsaicin cream can reduce pain for sufferers of knee OA. It’s exact mode of action is still not completely clear to scientists, but it has been shown to slow the release of ‘substance P’ in the body. This is a neurochemical that assists in transmitting pain signals. Continued use of capsaicin can interrupt the transmission of pain impulses.

Capsaicin cream is inexpensive and easy to use in your daily routine and has been proven effective. There are a few tips to using it so make sure you read the instructions. Capsaicin cream should be considered as a part of your treatment plan.

Be Aware

Capsaicin creams come in different concentrations, from as low as 0.01% to over 0.1% concentration by weight. Most clinical trials have used 0.025% concentration for arthritis applications.

Capsaicin may cause a stinging or burning sensation upon the skin. The higher the cream’s concentration, the more discomfort that may result. If the sensations are too strong, ice, cold water or other cold surfaces can help relieve the discomfort.

The scientific evidence is unclear on whether higher concentrations increase effectiveness, so it is probably best to start with 0.025% cream. It is worth noting that the burning sensation is not necessary to gain the benefits of use.

With some patients, it may seem that their knee pain actually increases with first applications of the cream, however it will usually start decreasing with ongoing use. An allergic reaction to capsaicin is also possible, so it is best to apply the cream to a small area of skin to test it first.

It is advisable to wear gloves when applying the cream, and be very careful to not contact it with eyes, other mucous membranes or broken skin. If you apply the cream without gloves, make sure to wash your hands well with soap or vinegar afterwards. Do not apply it immediately after a hot bath or shower, or use it with any kind of heat, as your skin pores will be opened and the effect of the cream may become quite painful.

There are some other common side effects of using capsaicin cream, including coughing and skin redness, and more rarely, inflammation and blisters. Of course, discontinue use if any of these occur and rinse the area well with cold water, using soap or vinegar if necessary.

Always follow the instructions that come with the product.

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