[ Home | Contents | | Next | Previous | Up ]
Date: 02 May 2004
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
My mother has suffered with polymyalgia for years. I've had symptoms for years, but not until this latest attack which has been severe have I realized that I have all her symptoms and have her disease. I haven't gone to be diagnosed yet because I realize that prednisone is apparently all they can do about it.
I had: arterial spasms in my legs that cause constant pain making walking practically impossible.
Neck and ear on my migraine side so sore I couldn't move my head and (hurt all the time)
Strong feelings of flu all night and mornings and fatigue. Plus everywhere else hurts too.
Here is what I've been doing for these symptoms that really works. I use capsaicin cream liberally on all painful areas. Which in the case of my neck required putting it on my scalp up to ear height and on my aching ear too.
It stops the seizing which is what I call the painful feeling of arterial spasm. It takes away all soreness and helps greatly with sleep and fatigue, and allows more activity.
There is a lot to tell you about using it for the first few times and I don't know how much space they allow here, but here goes.
Generic is as good as name brand. You can get a good generic at Walmart ($6.) called Arthritis Pain Relief. Or you can buy name brand at any drugstore (about $11.)
Capsaicin is the chemical that makes hot peppers hot. It causes the neurotransmitter "Substance P" to be released from the nerve endings--nerves which start in your spinal cord and reach everywhere. Substance P is the pain and inflammation neurotransmitter.
When we have pain and inflammation I think Substance P builds up and we become more painful in the future because of the build up. With capsaicin cream we cause drawing off the Substance P and eventually it is for a time at least, depleted.
I read that it takes 3 to 7 days to end pain with it, but I have to tell you that it helps my pain and soreness right away.
Wear gloves when you put it on because you will saturate your hand with it otherwise and be getting it on your face ever after.
It's surprising how often we touch our faces and it gets very warm anywhere it touches for a while. But since the touch to the face doesn't contain much cream it the warmth doesn't last that long and isn't intolerable even if you should accidentally get it into your eye.
It feels stinging, something like getting soap in your eye for a few minutes at the most, usually it only lasts a few seconds and then goes away without effect.
After you put it on, because you have so much substance P built up in your nervous system, your nerves release this chemical and that release causes intense itching for at least an hour.
I use a fork saved for that purpose and sit alone and scratch for the duration. That's the capsaicin working. After you have used it for a while (Weeks, months, a year, I don't know as I used it sporatically for the first few years) there is almost no itching.
It takes a while for the warmth to start, maybe an hour or so. Then the areas that were sore feel bathed in a gentle warmth which gets a lot hotter if you're in a warm situation, say on a hot day outside, or in a hot car.
I'm pretty hot many hours later, if I've used the cream all over my body which I do. But also I get hotter as the day progresses anyway. It isn't a burning, it's a warmth.
I can work in my flower garden doing heavy work and use the capsaicin and wake up to very little soreness. Some fatigue, but I slept and am not sore.
At first I was afraid to leave the cream covered areas uncovered, but now I don't worry a bit about it. The relief is so great and I have learned not to touch my eyes.
I don't notice and my husband hasn't complained (and He would) about touching anything "hot", (of course that includes me).
Supposedly eventually one has less substance P and less pain. I couldn't bear this aching and soreness without capsaicin. I dread using prednisone, because I know it isn't good for a person. So far I've avoided it.
I've found capsaicin to be a life saver. I hope this information can help someone else out there. God bless you all.