top of page


Updated: Apr 27, 2022

Two faces of the same coin

In this narrative, I reveal all the difficulties I came across during the time it took to recover from Rosacea and muscle damage associated with this condition. Moreover I give my opinion about what has happened, based on all the research I did. I hope my experience defeating Rosacea/arthritis inspires other people suffering from the same condition, into believing they too can beat this disorder. I wish my success will be the beginning for others to understand what is troubling them, and that many mysteries hidden under the mask of Rosacea will finally be unraveled.

At the age of 35 an inflammation in my face, with persistent redness and pimples, developed, little by little, until it covered my face completely. This annoying and constant inflammation persisted for years, no matter what I did. In the winter, the cold air made my symptoms worse. Anything I tried to deal with this disease had only temporary results. With time, I realized I had inherited a chronic skin inflammation – ROSACEA. Anybody ‘cursed’ with this skin problem is confronted with the fact that this is a disease for life.

Other symptoms, in particular muscle stiffness and tiredness, started to bother me as time went by. Little by little, my energy levels dropped to the point that anything I did made me feel tired very quickly. In the morning, when I woke up, it took me at least one hour until my muscles became more flexible and I could go on doing my daily chores. A few years later, one morning late in autumn, I woke up with inflammation in my shoulder, I felt pain I had never had in my entire life. It lasted for two whole weeks. Anything that touched my arm or any attempt to move it, induced an immediate dull ache. When finally the pain diminished, a process of calcification began and all muscles in the right side of my back became stiff. I couldn’t use my arm anymore, my shoulder was ‘frozen’!  After two months of painful sessions of physiotherapy I decided to quit, the pain was unbearable! However, as I had already booked a session I decided to go one last time. As usual, before physiotherapy,  I did the exercises I was told to do at home but, this time, I tried something that had already helped me in the past to relieve pain in my back. I took a couple of the hottest chilies from my garden, chopped and macerated them in alcohol. With a cotton ball I applied the lotion on muscles and, to my surprise, the heat and burning from  capsaicin in chilies, reduced the pain, facilitating exercises. But the greatest surprise of all was that muscles responded more quickly. I felt smaller muscles in the injured area recover easier, one by one, without forcing, I just had to insist on moving them slowly. The best of all, next day physiotherapy session was less painful and I needed less effort to recover damaged muscles. This allowed me to continue physiotherapy until I could completely raise my arm.

I wondered why chili had helped me so much! My curiosity made me look for an answer which I found by doing some research.

Capsaicin (the main chemical in chilies) potentiates the role of exercise in stimulating circulation so that muscles get the nutrients they need to recover. Moreover, when the lotion is applied repeatedly, capsaicin activates the pain receptors in the body till they lose sensitivity, this reduces pain and allows to exercise muscles with less effort. Reference (1)

Before I could celebrate my success, a few months later, I caught a viral infection. This time, muscles of my legs were the most affected. To walk only a few steps required a great effort. Climbing the stairs in my home, to get into the bedroom, was out of the question. I slept on the couch for the period during which inflammation was worse.

At first, I faced this situation a bit by intuition using the information I gathered during the time I was treating my shoulder. Exercising my legs everyday made me recover strength although it took over a year until I could walk without help. But along with all these muscle disorders, I also had symptoms of dizziness, blurred vision and lack of balance, not to mention a pressure in the right side of my skull that made it difficult to sleep at night. My life was completely disturbed! I had to sleep in a sitting position or else, my head wouldn’t stop spinning. It became so severe I fell to the side several times, when I tried to get up in the morning.

Things got worse at night with darkness to the point I began to fear night fall! Many times I woke up in the middle of the night gasping for air. I had to breathe slowly for my rib cage lifted with difficulty. In addition, I felt a suffocating sensation as if something was tied very hard to the right side of my neck. These symptoms made me avoid going out, besides, the irregular walk and a red face didn’t allow me to go unnoticed. I felt like a drunk not being able to walk on a straight line.

My social life was deeply affected. I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed! 

After doing medical exams that showed nothing was wrong in my head, I wondered if these symptoms of dizziness and lack of balance were connected with the injury I had in my back. Although I felt no pain, the upper right side of my back, next to the neck, had been injured very badly and was very stiff.

A visit to my physiotherapist confirmed that lack of balance could be connected with the shoulder injury. Again, I began a long process of physiotherapy that lasted for two and a half years. Luckily I found a physiotherapist with great skills and knowledge, who helped me deal with all the difficulties that followed. He probably thought I was crazy: in the very first session, I told him I needed his help to cure my arthritis and rosacea at the age of 55. But with time, he saw the results and how committed I was in achieving this goal, and he too, considered that recovering full function of my muscles could be a reality. Without his dedication I wouldn’t have succeeded in overcoming this situation. According to his diagnosis I had a condition called myositis ossificans, a disease that causes calcification of muscles, what explains all the symptoms I had of muscle stiffness and rigidity.

The possibility that rosacea was connected with arthritis made me search for information about this inflammation, with the hope that unraveling its causes would help reduce calcification, the very first step to regenerate muscles.

Many recent studies show that Rosacea is connected with a Staphylococcus aureus infection. This bacteria usually lives in our body, as part of our microbiota, without causing major problems except when it assumes a virulent form. Slowly, in a process that takes years, the bacteria colonizes many parts of the body, in particular muscles and the skin, causing severe damage. This would justify my suspicion that rosacea is connected to arthritis.

Determined to beat this bacteria, I had to know more about it so that, maybe, I could find a way to help my immune system destroy S. aureus. 

STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS A bacteria with many strategies S. aureus, a member of the firmicute bacteria, is part of the flora in the upper airways were it does no harm to the body until it finds an opportunity to become virulent and invade other parts of the body. In situations of stress, injury or a viral infection,  when the immune system is either down or busy fighting a disease, S. aureus finds the right conditions to overgrow. With that purpose the bacteria  escapes and aims to the intestines, its first target.  There it attaches to tissues and initiates the formation of a bio-film: a protection against the immune system and a tool to interact with other bacteria in the gut. Symptoms of enteritis, diarrhea and abdominal pain are the first signs of S. aureus infection. In order to colonize the body, S. aureus follows several steps: In a first phase, it attaches to tissues, just like a limpet clings tightly to rocks. Then, it covers itself with a bio-film, feeding it until it gets thicker and stronger and finally, it is ready to detach and disseminate into other parts of the human body.  In order to follow all these steps it produces virulent factors allowing the bacteria to escape the immune system and gain strength. VIRULENT FACTORS Most of the damage caused by S. aureus is due to exoproteins, nucleases, proteases, lipases, hyaluronidases and collagenases, enzymes produced by the bacteria with a destructive effect. They breakdown tissues in the body with the purpose of releasing their nutrients as a food supply or, as a means to disseminate into other tissues of the body. Nevertheless, the main weapon S. aureus uses to escape the immune