Pain Relief from a Pepper

  1. GPS1504
    Pain can be debilitating. It can stop you in your tracks and knock you out of commission. If you are a sufferer of chronic pain, you know all too well how much it can impact your life and stop you from doing not only the things you love, but also the things you need to do to survive. Pain relievers are a way of life for some of us as we embrace everything from modern medicine to over the counter pain relievers and even homeopathic options. It is convenient to be able to utilize these defenses in the war against pain, but what happens when the SHTF and these options are no longer available to you?

    The first and most logical choice is to keep pain medicines on hand. Purchasing over the counter pain relievers is probably the easiest way to do this, but be aware of expiration dates and rotate your stock. If you have prescriptions for pain medicines, especially the narcotic variety, it is becoming increasingly hard to keep these on hand. Due to prescription abuse by some, we are all punished in the form of pharmacies not issuing refills until the moment they are due, which prevents us from having anything extra on hand. When it comes to prescription pain killers, do your best to set some aside, but don't expect to have a long term supply on which you can rely.

    What else can be done to fight pain? You can prepare your own pain remedies by taking advantage of the heat generating properties of peppers, specifically chili, jalapeno, habanero and cayenne peppers. These peppers contain a chemical component known as capsaicin. When you eat a hot pepper and experience a burning sensation in your mouth, that is capsaicin at work. Capsaicin serves many purposes in addition to pain relief, such as oxidizing fat to aid in weight loss, killing cancer cells, preventing sinus infections, clearing up psoriasis, gastric relief, and reducing inflammation. If you look at topical pain relievers sold today, capsaicin is an ingredient in many of them. It produces the heat needed to dull pain and relax it away.

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    If you have access to hot peppers, it is possible to make your own capsaicin pain reliever with an actual pepper but it is far easier is using powders readily available in grocery and health food stores. If you wish to try using a pepper, the portion of the pepper that holds the seeds together would need to be harvested and diluted into a spray or cream, but be sure to use gloves, goggles, and a mask when handling capsaicin. Do not rub the pepper directly onto your skin due to the immense heat it produces. Adding a small amount to a base such as beeswax, glycerin, or olive oil is the best method of application. Using powder, however, is an easier method and there are many different recipes you can follow to achieve the same or very similar results. The easiest method is to simply combine one part cayenne powder and five parts of warm Vaseline to create a ready to use rub.

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    The way that capsaicin works is by triggering a chemical release in your nerves, specifically the nerves that are responsible for sending pain signals to your brain. The goal of capsaicin use is to get those nerves to trigger until the chemical releases are depleted. Once the pain causing chemicals have been spent, the pain will subside. When you first apply capsaicin, it is going to burn. How much it burns will depend on the saturation, and there could be some trial and error when it comes to making your own. Always start with a small amount and work your way up if need be; too little is far better than too much in the case of capsaicin. Even over the counter products may contain too much for some people; I personally have had my skin blister because of too much capsaicin in an OTC product.

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    Capsaicin can take time to work, so be prepared and don't expect instant or immediate relief. It is most effective on aches and pains of the muscular type as well as nerve pain and headaches. Be very careful to avoid getting it in your eyes as it will burn painfully. Do not apply capsaicin to areas of sensitive skin. Always be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling although use of gloves is even better. When you find yourself in a painful pinch, there are a lot of remedies to try. When your options wane, however, sometimes you have to think outside the box and one option in that scenario is to relieve pain with the help of a pepper.

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