Sure, adding chili peppers to your cooking is a great way to spice up dishes, but did you know that they may help to relieve neuropathic pain? It turns out that the chemical that gives chili peppers their kick, capsaicin, is also responsible for soothing several forms of pain from aching muscles or damaged nerves.
Patients who suffer from neuropathy ; these sensations and feelings of pain are called allodynias and dyesthesias, respectively.
Capsaicin is already found in a range of topical pain-relief creams for arthritis and sore joints. Zostrix, an over-the-counter cream that contains .075 percent capsaicin, has shown to be effective in calming arthritis pain. A new review conducted by a team of researchers from Oxford University concluded that capsaicin provides relief to 4 in 10 patients who suffer from neuropathy and often feel itchy, tingly, numb, or alternatively hot and cold. The pepper-derived compound creates a sensation of heat in patients who apply the cream by binding to TRPV1s, heat-activated calcium channels that are located on the surface of pain- and heat-sensing neurons.