If you suffer from foot pain due to neuropathy in your feet, you likely have searched high and low for relief from that pain. Bet you never thought capsaicin, a chili pepper extract, could be part of your game plan to beat foot pain!
Once diagnosed with neuropathy by your physician, you will have some options. Certainly your doctor may prescribe pain relievers but if you prefer a natural route, you have several treatment options to consider. Chief among them: capsaicin.
For some, capsaicin is nature’s answer to alleviating peripheral neuropathy symptoms in the feet. As with any supplement, make sure you talk to your doctor before using capsaicin.
What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is a naturally occurring chemical botanical irritant. It is found throughout chili peppers, especially in the walls of the pepper. Interesting note: hot pepper seeds do not have this chemical! If you don’t believe me, test it for yourself the next time you are slicing peppers for a spicy dish at home.
The science behind capsaicin is really sort of cool. Here’s how it works:
- You take a bite of hot pepper
- The capsaicin in the pepper binds to a receptor
- The receptor activates, having been exposed to heat
- Your brain gets signals that some part of your body (here, your mouth) has been burned
- Your body responds by generating a mild inflammatory reaction that aids the injured area
Capsaicin for Neuropathy
You might be wondering how eating chili peppers will help your foot pain. While you could consume raw peppers, add dried chili peppers to a meal, or take a synthetically made capsaicin supplement, none of those will help you with your peripheral neuropathy pain.
Your need for the capsaicin will dictate the method in which you introduce it to your body. You can easily eat raw peppers, add dried pepper powder to your food, or swallow capsaicin in a dietary supplement form, but none of these methods will treat neuropathy.
The way to harness capsaicin’s analgesic power and get some relief? Application of a topical capsaicin cream directly to your skin. This can provide fast-acting pain relief. And the best part? No heartburn from spicy chili peppers!
Capsaicin Cream for Foot Pain – Benefits
Numerous clinical studies have been performed over the years that validate the effectiveness of capsaicin in topical cream form to help treat patients diagnosed with neuropathy. Scientists have established that capsaicin is safe to use and effective in treating diabetic neuropathy. Reported side effects are mild and include:
- Brief burning upon application
How to Use Capsaicin Cream to Reduce Foot Pain
Capsaicin creams are available over the counter in concentration ranging from 0.025 percent to 0.1 percent. If you are looking for the highest OTC dosage, look for those labeled “high potency” at 0.1 percent. If you need still higher doses, those are available (in patch form) and have to be prescribed by a doctor.
Always consult the packaging, but you can expect to apply your capsaicin cream three to four times per day. For diabetic neuropathy causing foot pain, you should apply the cream below your ankles. Make sure you rub it in completely for maximum relief.
Tips for Using Capsaicin Cream
A few tips relating to capsaicin’s hot pepper roots:
- Keep in mind that the first couple times you use capsaicin cream, you may feel a burning sensation. Don’t worry, it will eventually decrease after each use.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after applying to avoid getting the substance in sensitive areas such as your eyes or mouth.
- Do not use if you have cuts or other open wounds on your feet.
Capsaicin Cream Recommendations
Capsaicin cream is an effective medicinal alternative to address and reduce foot pain specific to peripheral neuropathy. Side effects are minimal and relief is fast-acting. One option for a good capsaicin cream is from Zostrix. It is available in the maximum OTC dosage.
Best of luck with this treatment option…you may never look at chili peppers the same again!