MONTHLY HEALTH UPDATE
Adding This To Your Diet May Help Your Memory
Chad Abramson, D.C.
Whole Body Health
Adding This To Your Diet May Help Your Memory
Curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric that gives mustard and curry their yellow color, has
long been known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant capabilities. Because of its prevalence in
Indian cuisine, some researchers suspect that reduced inflammation in the brain from frequent
curcumin use may explain why senior citizens in India have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s
disease and better cognitive performance than older adults from other backgrounds.
In a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, UCLA researchers examined what effects an easily absorbed curcumin supplement had on memory in individuals with AND without Alzheimer's disease. The study utilized a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included 40 adults (age 50-90) who had mild memory complaints. The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups receiving either a placebo or 90 mg of curcumin two times a day for 18 months. Outcome measures used in the study included standard cognitive tests performed initially and again at six-month intervals, and curcumin blood levels were measured initially and again after 18 months. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans were utilized in 30 of the 40 subjects to determine the levels of amyloid and tau in the brain tissue at the start and after 18 months.
The curcumin group experienced significant improvements in memory and attention skills while members of the placebo group did not. Participants in the curcumin group also performed 28% better on memory assessments and reported mild improvements in their mood. Moreover, their brain PET scans showed significantly less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus, parts of the brain associated with memory and emotional functions. The only reported side effects were mild abdominal pain and nausea, which affected four of the curcumin group participants. The authors are planning a larger study that will include people with mild depression to see if curcumin can also serve as an anti-depressant. It will also allow researchers to assess whether curcumin’s memory enhancing effects will vary according to people’s genetic risk for acquiring Alzheimer’s, their age, or the extent of their cognitive problems. These preliminary results are exciting, as it appears that taking curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years. Doctors of chiropractic frequently council patients on diet and supplementation through the use vitamin, minerals, herbal formulas, and more, of which turmeric/curcumin is a common recommendation, especially given it anti-inflammatory benefits for musculoskeletal conditions.
Can Whiplash Treatment Outcomes Be Predicted Early On?
Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) refers to a collection of neck-related symptoms that are most commonly associated with car crashes. Experts estimate that up to 50% of acute WAD-injured patients will develop some form of long-term disability. Being able to predict who is more likely to develop long-term disability is VERY important, as it can place a substantial burden on not only the patient and their family, but society as a whole. In order to determine which risk factors may predict whether or not WAD patient is at increased risk for long-term disability, a recent study analyzed findings from twelve systemic reviews. The researchers found that higher levels of post-injury pain and disability, higher WAD grades (WAD II & III), cold hypersensitivity, post-injury anxiety, catastrophizing, compensation and legal factors, and early-use healthcare each raise the risk for ongoing disability. The research team also determined the following are NOT associated with prolonged recovery: post-injury MRI or x-ray findings, motor dysfunction, or factors related to the collision. In essence, this study looked at prognostic factors for a “typical” acute or newly injured WAD patient and found that those with severe neck pain and anxiety, who are seeking or have sought legal advice, and who had early healthcare use are at greater risk of a prolonged recovery. The type of accident (rear-end, T-bone, front-end, crash speed), examination findings, and x-ray findings do not appear to increase the risk of becoming chronic. These findings parallel other studies regarding the association of chronic pain and psychosocial factors prolonging recovery including non-specific chronic low back pain as well as other conditions – even carpal tunnel syndrome! The authors emphasize the need for future studies to focus on how this type of information can be used in the treatment planning of WAD patients in the acute stage in order to PREVENT the progression to chronicity. Doctors of chiropractic often see WAD-injured patients weeks or months after their accident, after they’ve been managed by primary care as well as by various specialty services. However, some patients will elect to seek chiropractic care soon after an accident. Future studies need to focus on the outcome of care rendered by different provider types to determine if one form of care minimizes the chronicity spiral that unfortunately exists. Until then, rest assured that exercise, self-management strategies, and independence from prolonged care is the foundation and mission of the chiropractors associated with ChiroTrust!
Neck Pain / Headaches
Neck Pain – What Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?
Simply put, spinal stenosis describes a narrowing at the openings of the spine. When
spinal stenosis exists in the cervical spine, it’s called cervical spinal stenosis (CSS). This
condition is usually the result of wear-and-tear or aging, and hence, is most common over the age
of 50. However, CSS can occur at any age if a vertebra in the neck sustains a fracture.
There are two types of CSS: central and lateral CSS. Central CSS is narrowing of the
central canal where the spinal cord travels and gives rise to the many pairs of nerves that exit out
to the arms, trunk, and legs. Lateral stenosis is narrowing of the side openings (referred to as the
lateral recess or the intervertebral foramen) through which the spinal nerves travel outward from
the cord and into the left and right arms and legs.
Causes of CSS include the following: osteoarthritis (in which a narrowing of the central and/or lateral canals occurs and crowds the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves); a herniated disk (where the cushions between the vertebra crack or tear allowing the more liquid-like center to leak out and press into the cord or nerves); an injury (fracture); a tumor (growth); Paget’s disease (a condition where the bones grow abnormally large and brittle); and/or a combination of the above.
Symptoms may start out as a vague pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the innervated area(s). If a spinal nerve (lateral CSS) is affected, symptoms can present in the arms, torso, or legs. When the spinal cord itself is compressed (central CSS), symptoms can include loss of bladder or bowel control (in extreme cases); impaired balance; sciatica (pain down the back of the leg), foot drop (weakness standing on the heels), and more. A gradual loss in walking time/distance is common and stopping to sit or bend over is usually relieving (this is called "neurogenic claudication").
The diagnosis is made by following a careful review of the patient’s history and a thorough examination, which may be aided by x-ray, MRI, and/or CT scans. Though guidelines recommend starting with non-surgical treatments, such as chiropractic care and at-home exercises, if bowel or bladder weakness is present, then surgery may be required to open the narrowed canal(s). The good news is that CSS can often be successfully managed via chiropractic treatment and other conservative options.
What Is Frozen Shoulder?
Adhesive capsulitis (also known as “frozen shoulder”) is the end result of inflammation,
scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the humeral head or "ball" part of
the ball and socket joint. Adhesive capsulitis dramatically reduces the range of motion of the affected
joint, which can severely impact one’s ability to carry out their normal daily activities. A frozen
shoulder may or may not be associated with shoulder pain and tenderness. Though all movements are
affected, raising the arm to the side is often the most impaired movement of the shoulder.
Conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, and rotator cuff injury can lead to adhesive capsulitis,
especially if the person refuses to move the shoulder for an extended length of time. Diabetes,
chronic inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid) of the shoulder, and chest or breast surgery are
known risk factors for adhesive capsulitis.
The condition is diagnosed following a review of the patient’s history for prior trauma caused by over reaching/lifting or from repetitive movements. The examination will look for severe loss of shoulder range of motion (ROM), both active and passive. X-ray, blood tests for underlying illnesses, and other imaging approaches may also be required to make a final determination for adhesive capsulitis.
Treatment for adhesive capsulitis has classically included an aggressive combination of anti- inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, manual therapies (such as joint manipulation, mobilization, and traction), exercise training, ice (if painful), heat (if no pain), and physiotherapy modalities such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, laser, etc.
Exercises performed by the patient are also highly important for achieving a satisfactory outcome. The patient can begin immediately with pendulum-type exercises, long-axis traction (while sitting, grip the chair seat and lean to the opposite direction while relaxing the shoulder muscles to open up the ball-and-socket joint), and eventually strengthening exercises (TheraTube, TheraBand, light weights, etc.).
A recent study involved 50 patients with frozen shoulder (20 males, 30 females, ages 40-70 years) who underwent chiropractic care for a median time frame of 28 days (range: 11-51 days). Researchers looked at patient-reported pain on a 1-10 scale and their ability to raise the arm sideways (abduction). Of the 50 cases, 16 resolved completely (100%), 25 showed 75-90% improvement, 8 showed 50-75% improvement, and 1 experienced less than 50% improvement.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Great Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused when the median nerve is compressed as it passes
through the tight bony carpal tunnel at the wrist. The condition can result in pain, numbness, tingling,
and weakness in the hand, and it can affect one’s ability to carry out everyday life and work tasks.
Here are a few GREAT exercises for CTS that require no equipment and can be done anytime and
PRAYER: Place your hands in a "prayer" position. Touch the palm-side finger pads together and slowly push the palms into one another while keeping the elbows up as much as possible as you feel a strong stretch in the hands, fingers, and palm-side of the forearms. SHAKE: Shake your hands for 10-15 seconds as if you just washed them and you’re trying to air dry them off.
WRIST FLEXION STRETCH: Hold your arm out in front of you with the elbow straight, palm facing down. With the opposite hand, bend the wrist as far downward as possible so the fingers point to the ground. This will produce a strong stretch in the muscles located in the back or top of the forearm. Repeat five to ten times holding each stretch for 15–20 seconds (as tolerated).
These exercises can be repeated multiple times a day, as often as once per hour. It is often very helpful to set a timer on your cell phone to remind you to take a stretch break. A "good pain" (stretch) is considered safe while sharp or radiating pain may be potentially harmful. However, if you experience sharp, lancinating, or radiating pain, then stop or modify the exercise.
Frequently, CTS involves more than just the wrist, and exercises that target the neck, shoulder, and elbow can often hasten recovery. This is especially true when there is “double crush syndrome” where the median nerve is entrapped in more than one location such as the neck, shoulder, elbow, or forearm (as well as the wrist).
Chiropractic management of CTS can include manipulation and mobilization of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder, and neck. Muscle release techniques are often employed as well as the use of physical therapy modalities such as laser, electric stimulation, ultrasound, and others. The use of night splints to keep the wrist straight when sleeping is a “standard” used by most healthcare providers. Co-management with primary care may be appropriate if diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, or other complicating conditions are present.
Low Back Pain
Can Exercise Prevent Low Back Pain?
While it’s not possible to totally prevent low back pain (LBP), individuals who regularly exercise
appear to have a reduced risk for LBP. Additionally, fit adults who develop back pain may experience it
less often, at a reduced intensity, and for a shorter duration than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.
Which type of exercise is the best? A general rule is to keep trying different activities, starting
with those MOST appealing to you. After all, you should enjoy exercise, so start with your favorites:
walking (one of the best), walk/run combinations, running/jogging, bicycling, swimming/water aerobics,
yoga, Pilates, core strengthening, balance exercises, tennis, basketball, golfing, etc.
Specific exercises for the low back can be individualized by determining your "position preference", or the position that feels best to your low back. For example, bend forward as if to touch your toes. How does that feel? Do you feel a good stretch or pain? Does it shoot pain down your leg? If it feels good, then that might be your preferred position and the one to emphasize with exercise. Examples of exercises that fit this scenario include (but are not limited to): posterior pelvic tilts (flatten your low back by rocking your pelvis forward); single and double knee to chest; and bending forward from a chair (as if to touch the floor).
If bending backward feels good (better than flexion and especially if the presence of leg pain lessens or disappears), then “extension-biased” exercises fit that scenario. Examples include standing back extensions (place your hands behind the low back and bend backward); prone "press-ups" (lift the chest off the floor while keeping the pelvis down); and laying back-first over a Bosu- or Gym-ball. Pelvic dysfunction and core weakness can also increase the risk for LBP. Try these exercises: abdominal crunches (bend one knee, place your hands behind your low back, and raise the breast bone toward the ceiling only a few inches and hold); front and side planks (start from the knees if necessary); supine bridges (supine, knees bent, lift the buttocks off the floor); “bird-dog” (kneel on all fours and raise the opposite leg and arm, keep good form, and alternate); and the “dead-bug” (on your back, bend the hips and knees at 90 degrees with your arms reaching toward the ceiling; slowly lower your right arm and left leg and return them to their starting position; repeat with the other arm/leg).
When lifting, bend the knees and hips but NOT your low back; keep weights close to you and lift with your legs. Don’t attempt lifts that you know are too heavy.
If you have a history of low back pain, research shows that receiving maintenance chiropractic care can help reduce the number of days in which low back pain may hinder your activities.
FOR YOUR FREE NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION CALL
Abramson Family Chiropractic
10222 19 th Ave SE, Suite 103, Everett, WA 98208
This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.