Capsaicin is an active alkaloid in hot peppers. It has been successfully used to reduce pain in herpes zoster, diabetic neuropathy and post-mastectomy pain syndrome (Sandford & Benes 2000). It works as an inhibitor of substance P.
Total Sample Size
|Sandford & Benes 2000USA
|Population: SCI: Age=18-66 yr; Gender: males=6, females=2; Level of injury: C6-L5; Severity of injury: complete=4, incomplete=4; Cause of injury: MVA=3, GSW=3, fall=1, aneurysm repair=1; Type of pain=nociceptive (radicular).Treatment: Patients who underwent topical capsaicin therapy to reduce pain were retrospectively reviewed.
Outcome Measures: Reduction in pain.
|1. Patients showed improvement in pain in 1-2 wk of topical capsaicin therapy.2. Two patients showed long-term efficacy for over 2 yr.|
Topical capsaicin was used to treat radicular post-SCI pain for 1-2 weeks (Sandford & Benes 2000). Patients showed improvement in pain and 2 of the 8 patients were still improved for over two years.
There is level 4 evidence (from one case series study: Sandford & Benes 2000) that topical capsaicin reduces post-SCI radicular pain.