Hmmm.... but if capsaisin burns, why would I put it on my inflamed knees?
It doesn't really burn normal unbroken skin, for most people, but it kind of tingles. Mucous membranes are much more sensitive. It's the same basic concept as a TENS unit. Same thing with the menthol that's in most other creams and such. If you overload a nerve with too much "information" or too much data to transmit, it will shut down temporarily. that means it wont transfer pain either.
In practice, it's probably more about
massaging the salve into the area. Really it's more the massage. I've found that regular old hand lotion works the same, if you use it to massage what hurts. The menthol or capsicum added to whatever you use can help keep the resulting relief last a little longer, by overworking and trying to confuse the nerve endings in the skin.
Whatever you are rubbing on it does not penetrate into the joint. It stays at skin level. Whatever you would pick up into your bloodstream is minute.
Original DX - Early onset osteoarthritis (dx in 2001), scoliosis, sciatica
Now 2013 - Further testing in progress, poss new diagnosis.
+bipolar disorder, migraines, macular degeneration, TIA's (they think), chronic insomnia, & more
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference