People have been suffering with arthritis since the dawn of humankind. Painful joints and stiffness can slow a person down considerably. And arthritis pain in hands makes it difficult to accomplish even simple tasks, such as removing jar lids or buttoning shirts. Are there simple, old-fashioned remedies that can help?
Hot Pepper Extract Eases Pain in Hands:
Q. I have arthritis in several joints, especially my wrists and fingers. A number of years ago, I began applying a rub that contains capsaicin, the heat from hot peppers. I find it very effective if used daily. I have also added turmeric to my regimen. That offers additional pain relief.
A. Capsaicin, the compound that gives hot peppers their zip, has long been used in arthritis liniments such as BenGay, Heet or Sloan’s liniment. It is also available in gel or cream form. You may have seen Capzasin or Zostrix-HP.
Capsaicin Against Nerve Pain:
Zostrix was developed to treat the nerve pain that may linger after a shingles rash clears. If you apply a capsaicin product every day or several times daily, it can help ease arthritis pain (Laslett & Jones, Progress in Drug Research, 2014). The idea is that it depletes substance P, which is essential for the sensation of pain.
You might want to use disposable gloves to apply your rub. Getting even a tiny amount in your eyes, nose or other delicate tissues could be extremely uncomfortable.
Turmeric to Fight Inflammation:
Turmeric, the yellow spice in curry, has anti-inflammatory activity. You can learn more about it in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource covers a number of foods, medications and supplements that can help ease arthritis pain in hands and other joints.