This is a BLOG written and created by Nikki Albert, who has chronic migraines with aura and fibromyalgia.
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Topical #capsaicin cream for #fibromyalgia
When it comes to the treatment of pain with fibromyalgia most people have at one time or another tried various topical creams. Some people may find relief with arthritis creams while others do not, however, research on capsaicin based topical based creams shows promise. Capsaicin is what gives chilli peppers their tongue scorching heat but has analgesic properties. Capsaicin based creams can be purchased without a prescription or with and are used for conditions such as back pain, muscle pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and nerve pain.
What is fascinating about how capsaicin works in particular for fibromyalgia is that it is believed it lowers substance P in nerve endings at the location it is applied to. Substance P is quite important when it comes to fibromyalgiabecause it is involved with transmitting the pain impulses from the brain and the levels of substance P in fibromyalgia patients is significantly higher than normal. The idea that this topical agent can temporarily dampen that signal which we know is on hyper drive in fibromyalgia syndrome makes products with capsaicin intriguing right there.
The recent study published in the Rheumatology International Journal, Jul 28, 2012 looked at topical capsaicin therapy in severely affected fibromyalgia patients using one hundred and thirty people. They were divided into two groups; the control group of 60 and the group to use the capsaicin therapy of 70 people. The topical capsaicin cream has a concentration of 0.075% and was used three times daily for a duration of six weeks.
The study results indicated: “there were significant improvements in the capsaicin group in the myalgic [pain] score (5.21 vs 3.8, p = 0.02) and global subjective improvement (22.8% vs 5%, p = 0.001). Six weeks after the end of the treatment, the experimental group showed significant differences in Visual Analogue Scale of depression (5.63 vs 7.35, p = 0.02), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (67.89 vs 77.7, p = 0.02), role limitations due to emotional problems (36.17 vs 17.2, p = 0.05), Fatigue Severity Scale (6.2 vs 6.6, p = 0.04), myalgic score (3.94 vs 2.66, p = 0.02) and pressure pain threshold (79.25 vs 56.71, p = 0.004).”
In conclusion the study demonstrated a cream with the concentrated of 0.075% is effective for short term fibromyalgia pain relief in localized regions when applied three times a day over a six week period of time. Capsaicin creams come in varying strengths from 1% to 0.025%.
How to use
Capsaicin is an irritant so it will cause a burning sensation when applied to the skin and for some people this can be too intense and for others this feels quite good. Keep in mind you can get it in different strengths. Also keep in mind, as an irritant it is a good idea to be careful with it. Do not use on skin that is damaged or wounded. Always wash your hands afterwards and avoid contact with your eyes, nose and mouth. When you apply to an area avoid heat and direct sunlight as well as hot water as this can increase the burning sensation or cause an increased itching sensation. Do not apply after a shower or bath for the same reason. There may be temporary burning or itching, but obviously if there is a more severe reaction discontinue use. And if you have had a reaction to capsaicin or hot peppers before this would not be a recommended product.
Personally I love the burn sensation of it. I say it burns just right. Normal arthritis creams cause nausea for me due to something they use in the scent of them and these capsacin ones are awesome. My spouse on the other had says it just burns and he does not like it at all. So, hey, I say give it a go but if you are like my spouse you may prefer menthol based products.
There was a site that had this and I had linked to it on Tumblr but it is gone. So I had to hunt down someone who found my post and posted the whole thing in a forum. Anyway it is around but I'm posting it here so I will not have to hunt it down to reference it. Now we all know the major symptoms are the wide-spread pain, but our pain isn't just muscle pain... it can be nerve types of pain as well, and the fatigue and the insomnia. And even among symptoms there are some far more frequent than others, but it should be said we have categories... like the cognitive dysfunction, which is a broad one that has more than one symptom and we often just say fibrofog. The insomnia... more than one sleeping disorder. So the list is interesting.
__ Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
__ Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
__ Recurrent flu-like illness
__ Sore throat
__ Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especiall…
When people ask me how I am feeling 99% of the time I am lying. I often say 'not bad', because I feel it is slightly more honest than 'good' or 'fine'. Got sick of fine. Anyway, I lie for many reasons.
I'm having a good pain day: They happen and I'll say that I'm good, fine, not bad. I even feel like I can accomplish great things... in moderation. In which case, relatively speaking, for Me I am not actually lying. This is a Good pain day, it is Not Bad for me and I am Fine with it. I just don't want to explain: I just don't want to explain how crappy I feel and in which way I mean. Because I am tired of it. I just want to deal with it, without having to discuss it, mention it or have any sympathy expressed about it. Because it can be complicated. It may be a migraine with specific symptoms. Maybe it is a FM flare though. Or both. And then I have to explain what it is because most people think my migraines are the main issue but I could be FM…