If “rub it” seems like sissy advice for your throbbing cluster headaches, aching back or worrisome arthritis pain, perhaps “burn it” will do the trick?
Capsaicin creams and sprays burn away the pain, so to speak, with the same chemical that makes peppers hot. These medicines make your body use up the substance triggering your pain. Integrative medicine physician Andrea E. Gordon explains in our article “Capsaicin Treatment: How Hot Peppers May Help Burn Away Headache and Arthritis Pain.”
Of course, the question is, is the cure worse than the treatment? In some cases, maybe; in others, maybe not, says Dr. Gordon. One thing’s for sure: Don’t get it in your eyes. “Capsaicin oleoresin is an oily extract used in pepper self-defense sprays!” Dr. Gordon says.
You can find capsaicin treatments in your pharmacy, but some applications require a health-care provider’s supervision. (Read the article for more on that.)
Have you tried capsaicin cream or spray? What was it like? Did it work?
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