When it comes to muscle pains, which is the better treatment: Capsaicin or Menthol? While both have their pros and cons, Capsaicin, according to most experts, is the better option overall. Let’s take a closer look at Capsaicin and some ways it can benefit us.
What is Capsaicin, and what are its benefits?
Capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne peppers their distinct spicy flavor, has been linked to some health benefits. While capsaicin extract is notorious for starting a three-alarm fire in your mouth, it can also provide pain relief when applied to the skin. This is due to capsaicin’s analgesic properties which aid in pain relief. It is thought to be better than Menthol for muscle pains and can also help with weight loss, heart health, and more.
When applied topically, Capsaicin may help control peripheral nerve pain and other types of muscle and joint pain. It works by releasing heat, which provides relief to patients suffering from conditions such as arthritis.
How does Capsaicin compare to Menthol for muscle pains?
Capsaicin works by causing the body to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers. It also helps to reduce inflammation. When you apply capsaicin to your skin, it helps to block pain signals to your nerves. Capsaicin creams and patches have been shown in studies to help relieve pain caused by:
- Joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Muscle sprains and strains
A recent study found 8% topical capsaicin effective in patients with recurrent or chronic neuropathic pain, particularly sickle cell disease.
Menthol, on the other hand, works by numbing the area around the pain. It only relieves minor muscle and joint aches and pains (including arthritis, backache, and sprains). Menthol works by first cooling and then warming the skin. These sensations on the skin divert your attention away from your actual aches and pains. While this can provide some relief, it does not treat the underlying cause of the pain.
Side Effects of Capsaicin
Capsaicin is generally safe for most people to use. However, some people may experience side effects. Topical capsaicin can result in the following side effects:
- a burning sensation in the affected area
- itching, irritation, or redness
- sneezing, coughing, and throat irritation
Topical capsaicin may cause eye irritation or pain in severe cases. It can also cause localized pain, blistering, and swelling. People should also avoid prolonged sun exposure when using capsaicin creams, which can increase sensitivity to sunlight.
Oral capsicum in the form of pills or capsules is generally considered safe when taken as directed. Some possible side effects include upset stomach, irritation, sweating, or a runny nose. There are safety concerns if you take more than is recommended or for an extended period.
If you experience any of these side effects, discontinue use and consult a doctor.
Who should avoid using Capsaicin?
Pregnant women and young children should avoid using Capsaicin. If you have any other medical conditions or are taking any medications, please consult a doctor before use.
How to use Capsaicin safely and effectively
When using Capsaicin for muscle pain, it is important to start with a lower concentration and increase the dose gradually as needed. You can apply it directly to the area of pain using a cotton swab or cloth. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after application. If you experience any side effects, discontinue use immediately.
Alternatives to Capsacin and Menthol for Muscle Pains
While Capsaicin and Menthol are two of the most popular choices for relieving muscle pain, they are not the only options available. Here are some other alternatives:
1) CBD Oil: Full-spectrum CBD oil has been shown to be effective in relieving muscle pain when applied directly to the muscle. It does not cause the burning sensation that capsaicin does, and it can be used in conjunction with other medications if necessary. If you have CBD made from isolate, you can add back the terpenes which are easily available online.
2) Hot/Cold Packs: Hot/cold packs can be used to provide relief from muscle pain. The heat from the pack can help to increase blood flow to the area, which can aid in healing. The cold from the pack can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Buy direct from Amazon or your local pharmacy.
3) Massage: Massage can be a helpful way to relieve muscle pain. It can help to increase blood flow to the area and reduce inflammation. It is important to find a qualified massage therapist who has experience working with people with muscle pain.
4) Exercise: Exercise can be a helpful way to relieve muscle pain. It can help to increase blood flow to the area and reduce inflammation. It is important to find an exercise routine that is appropriate for your level of pain.
5) Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for centuries to relieve pain. It involves the insertion of needles into specific points on the body. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving muscle pain.
So, which is more effective for pain: Menthol or Capsaicin?
Menthol does help relieve pain, but only in minor cases like superficial burns and muscle pain. On the other hand, Capsaicin has shown impressive benefits and is considered better than Menthol for pain management, especially for neuropathic and chronic pains. If you’re in doubt, always consult your doctor.