Advance Physical Therapy November 2017


For thousands of years, sunny yellow turmeric has been a staple in curries as well as a spice renowned for its ability to treat a vast number of ailments. In recent years, this South Asian native has become a sort of “spice-of-all- trades.” Turmeric’s popularity has surged throughout North America. People are adding it to food and using it to treat everything from arthritis to heartburn. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the spice can treat just about every kind of inflammation, whether it’s joint pain or a headache. Have a stomachache or nausea? Try turmeric. Have a mild rash or burn on your skin? Try turmeric. Current studies are even looking into turmeric’s effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes and dementia.

When one substance is purported to have near-magical healing powers, you have to remember to take it with an additional dose of skepticism. Can one spice really cure everything that ails you? Let’s ask science. Researchers have identified over 20 distinct compounds that work similar to NSAIDs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen). Of those compounds, six are COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 is an enzyme that causes inflammation and pain in the body. In short, these six compounds help block the enzymatic reaction that triggers inflammation. One of these compounds is called curcumin, which is often considered the active ingredient in turmeric. An article published in the medical journal Nutrition and Cancer found that, by weight, pure turmeric powder contains 3.14 percent curcumin.

However, clinical trials of curcumin have produced less-than-stellar results. A comprehensive review of 120 studies of curcumin, published in 2017 in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, found no evidence that the compound produced positive results as an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant. In fact, researchers found curcumin to be an, “unstable, reactive, non-bioavailable compound.” So what does this mean for people who use turmeric for its medicinal properties? If it works for you, continue to use it. If you’ve thought about adding it to your diet, give it a try. It’s safe to use, and studies have shown virtually no toxicity, even in high doses.



More than 50 million adults live with arthritis, a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the joints. When you suffer from arthritis, it affects the things you love to do, limiting your movement and causing pain. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to get through your routine daily activities, let alone enjoy a walk or some exercise. It’s often enough to make a patient think they’ll never get better. They’ve tried exercising, it hurt, and now they’re reluctant to give it another go. But research clearly shows that proper exercise leads to less pain and improved mobility — the key word being “proper.” That’s where a physical therapist comes in. The team at Advance Physical Therapy is here to develop an exercise plan that will alleviate arthritis pain rather than exacerbate it. We will tailor your routine to your needs and goals.

While every treatment plan is different, we often focus on increasing range of motion, strengthening muscles, and increasing endurance. Range-of- motion exercises preserve joint function so that you don’t have to keep your joints in a certain position to limit pain. Strengthening targets the muscles surrounding the joints which often weaken due to arthritis. Endurance exercises, or aerobics, increase blood flow to all parts of the body. Not only does this decrease pain, but it also benefits your overall health. If you’ve given up your favorite activities because of your arthritis, know that not all hope is lost. With the right guidance, you’ll find that exercise can improve your condition and quality of life. At Advance Physical Therapy, we want you to get the most out of life. Arthritis can be painful, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of doing what you love.

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