OTC Pain Treatments: Capsaicin

One thing I’m noticing as the pain in my cervical spine actually lessens is that some of the pain-sensations around it are decreasing, and some aren’t. Namely, I’ve got less of the deep sharp stabby pain, but I’ve still got stiffness and aching in my neck. This is actually mostly okay with me: I do have “normal” osteoarthritis there that won’t be cured by shots, and I carry my stress in my neck and shoulders, so it makes sense that not everything is going to vanish. I’m reasonable. I can deal with tight muscles, hopefully, through other treatment or (if necessary) regular massage.

One new thing I’m trying for this is capsaicin topical treatment. I’ve read it’s recommended for arthritic pain, although it’s another thing I’ll have to use regularly for a long period of time to judge its effectiveness (like fish oil). I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it, but I’m at least trying it for a week or two on my neck to see whether it’s effective at all.

For the record, the first time you put this stuff on… don’t be an idiot. I decided that a. putting some on my neck an hour or two before going to bed was a great idea (it isn’t) and b. since I couldn’t feel it start to tingle or anything right away that obviously meant that I should put on two or three layers of it (you shouldn’t.)

Oh. Damn.

The tingle-burn comes on slowly, but after about an hour, it felt like my fucking neck was on fire. I dabbed at it with a wet tissue. Nothing. I wiped it off with a wet soapy cloth, I put aloe on it, I soaked a towel with cold water and hung it around my neck. I did finally wash enough off that it stopped feeling like burning, so that I could actually go to sleep. Note to self: I shall probably be using this in the mornings from now on, rather than at bedtime!

I KNOW that as you start out using it, you’re going to have some burning and irritation for a few days before pain relief kicks in. And I KNOW that you should gradually ease into the shit rather than basically painting your neck with it. I’m just an idiot. Don’t do what I do, kids.

So I’ll be using it – in a much lesser dosage – in the mornings this week, and I’ll let you know whether I get anything out of it in a week or two.

Has anyone had luck with capsaicin?


About sevdrag

Sev Dragomire is a professional chemical engineer, a legitimate nerd, and a certified terrible person. She has the paperwork to prove all three.
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