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Pain Cream
February 2001

Q. Have you heard of Painfree HP, a cream for pain, and if so would you recommend using it? I have fibromyalgia.

A. The active ingredient in this product is capsaicin, a chemical similar to that found in certain hot peppers. It produces a hot sensation when applied to the skin, and is thought to stimulate blood circulation to the area of application. Since blood flow is the key to our immune system and healing powers, improved circulation can certainly help local pains, but is usually not strong enough for deeper sources of inflammation. It is safe, the only common side effect being local skin irritation, so you can certainly give it a try.

Here is some information on fibromyalgia which is often considered as related to chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), is estimated to be affecting nearly one million Americans. It is an area of much research, yet there is still very incomplete understanding of the cause of the condition, and as such treatment can vary a lot from person to person.Use of medication is often aimed at relieving the specific symptoms that are contributing to the disability. In your case, several of the medications have sedation as a side effect, so perhaps the combination of drugs could be simplified to avoid this potential problem.

The current definition of CFIDS is as follows:

1. Severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and

2.Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms:

  • substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
  • sore throat
  • tender lymph nodes
  • muscle pain
  • multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.

Several excellent WEBSITES can provide valuable information for you:

http://my.webmd.com/content/dmk/dmk_summary_account_1654

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/index.htm

http://www.co-cure.org/

http://www.cfids.org/

http://www.aacfs.org/

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