Capsaicin cream is a topical pain reliever that is applied directly to the skin. The cream is part of the over-the-counter products sometimes referred to as deep heating rubs. Containing capsicum, the component that gives cayenne pepper its heat, the product can be used to ease pain and stiffness in various joints as well as bring a measure of relief to sore muscles.
As with many pain relievers of this type, the soothing action of capsaicin cream is only temporary; this means the product must be applied again after several hours. The effect, however, normally lasts long enough to allow the user to move through the initial pain and stiffness that is sometimes associated with overexertion during the performance of physical tasks or engaging in sports activities. This respite from the discomfort provides time for the body’s natural healing capabilities to kick in and permanently ease any of the temporary inflammation that comes with overexertion of the muscles and joints.
This cream is also considered an analgesic and has properties that help to ease the pain by desensitizing the surrounding tissue. The properties of the capsicum or cayenne warms the area while also lowering the presence of the neurotransmitter known as Substance P. This, in turn, minimizes the amount of pain felt by the user while at the same time giving the skin and the underlying layers of tissue a feeling that is pleasant and warm.
There are a number of muscle and joint conditions in which analgesics like capsaicin cream can be helpful. Many of these ailments are characterized by stiff and painful muscles and joints. People who suffer with bursitis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, general nerve pain, and rheumatoid arthritis often can apply the topical cream, rub it gently into the skin, and experience some degree or relief for several hours.
Cayenne has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for stiff muscles. There are a number of recipes for home made topical creams and poultices that make use of the crushed or dried powder from the cayenne pepper to produce what amounts to a natural remedy version of the cream. Whether using a home recipe or purchasing the over-the-counter product, many people choose to use the cream to ease stiffness in the joints just before retiring for the night, helping to increase the chances for a restful sleep.
Most commercial versions include usage instructions that stress the need to seek professional medical care if the aches and pains persist after a certain period of time. A medical professional can evaluate the origin of the discomfort and provide guidance on whether to continue using the topical cream or if more aggressive treatments are necessary.