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Foot pain alleviation seen on Scientific American Frontiers

Posted by john a on 1/31/01 at 08:47 (037833)

I just saw a PBS Scientific American Frontiers show (with Alan Alda) where they had a short segment on using capsaicin cream on the feet to relieve a man's excruciating foot pain. The guy was a long-term HIV-infected sufferer of debilitiating foot pain that basically prevented him from being on his feet at all. He was even contemplating Ending It All because of the pain. (I don't remember what they thought the cause was or whether it had anything to do with his HIV). A doctor then tried an experimental treatment: first they applied an analgesic cream to the feet to numb them. Then they applied a 7.5% (by weight) capsaicin cream. Capsaicin is the chemical that gives hot red peppers their heat, and they said this particular cream was 100 times as strong as what you can buy OTC. They had to numb the feet first because otherwise the pain from the cream alone would be unbearable. The idea was that the capsaicin would overload and burn out the pain receptors in the feet just like they do to the tastebuds in the mouth when you eat hot red peppers. Well, after several treatments, the guy was pain free for several months, and was able to walk and run again. Pretty interesting...

Re: Foot pain alleviation seen on Scientific American Frontiers

wendyn on 1/31/01 at 13:56 (037864)

Hi John - while I was researching TTS and neuropathy - I did sometimes come across references to AIDS patients. I believe they often suffer from peripheral neuropathy - which would cause I think a lot of the same symptoms of nerve pain that many of us have.

Re: Foot pain alleviation seen on Scientific American Frontiers

john h on 2/01/01 at 16:16 (037999)

i clearly remember putting some cream on my foot with capsacin in it. no problem until i got my socks on and my feet got warm and begin to prespire! talk about hot hot hot! i could not wash it off or anything. you forget about your footpain and begin to become about the red hot pain caused by the capsacin.

Re: Foot pain alleviation seen on Scientific American Frontiers

wendyn on 1/31/01 at 13:56 (037864)

Hi John - while I was researching TTS and neuropathy - I did sometimes come across references to AIDS patients. I believe they often suffer from peripheral neuropathy - which would cause I think a lot of the same symptoms of nerve pain that many of us have.

Re: Foot pain alleviation seen on Scientific American Frontiers

john h on 2/01/01 at 16:16 (037999)

i clearly remember putting some cream on my foot with capsacin in it. no problem until i got my socks on and my feet got warm and begin to prespire! talk about hot hot hot! i could not wash it off or anything. you forget about your footpain and begin to become about the red hot pain caused by the capsacin.