Arthritis is a common problem that affects people of various age groups and the condition worsens as one age. Modern lifestyle as well eating habits have greatly enhanced the occurrence of arthritis and the pain and discomfort that comes with it can easily make life a nightmare.
To escape the pain, people usually resort to painkillers and creams that offer the much-needed relief and allow them to continue with their regular lives with ease.
But taking painkillers daily for arthritis can lead to other problems which may turn serious if pills are consumed for a prolonged period. As such, it has often been suggested by doctors to use an arthritis pain relief cream that will offer relief topically and eliminate the risks that pills entail.
What Do These Creams Contain?
Creams used for arthritis often have capsaicin as a major ingredient. Capsaicin has a burning effect on the human skin and is considered as a skin irritant. It doesn’t actually lower or lessen the pain, but the burning sensation induced by this compound makes the human brain to forget the pain and perceive the burning-like sensation.
Creams or gels that do not have capsaicin as an ingredient contain trolamine salicylate and methyl salicylate as the major ingredients. Both these compounds are analgesics and thus, their anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the joint inflammation and offer relief for arthritis pain.
Menthol is also commonly added as an ingredient in creams, gels or lotions that are marketed for arthritis pain relief. Menthol is known for its cooling properties which, in this case, acts as a mild anesthetic and makes the area feel numb. Much like capsaicin, menthol has no curing properties and solely covers the pain up for a certain period of time.
Some arthritis pain relief creams may also contain camphor as an active ingredient. It has a strong aroma and when applied, gets quickly absorbed by the skin, thus inducing a cooling effect that numbs the area and relieves the pain temporarily.
What You Should Know
Capsaicin, which is often used in these creams, is the same ingredient that imparts the spicy hot property to peppers. Naturally, it acts an irritant to the human skin and the burning feeling that it induces may often lead to rashes and actual burns, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Not only capsaicin, trolamine salicylate and methyl salicylate are the two ingredients that constitute what is commonly known as aspirin.
So, if you face allergic reactions with the intake of aspirin, it is quite possible that you will not be able to use creams containing these ingredients for pain relief. So, before using any cream for arthritis pain, it would be prudent that you consult a doctor for suggestions, especially if your skin is sensitive or you have allergic tendencies.
Are Arthritis Pain Relief Creams Effective?
Pain relief creams that contain capsaicin, menthol, camphor, trolamine salicylate and methyl salicylate as the main ingredients do not offer any sort of permanent cure for arthritis pain. Their topical use can act as a temporary relief or cover-up for the pain and the feeling will start coming back once the effects of the ingredients wear off. As such, they should be used as an aid in relieving the pain and not as methods to cure to the problem itself.