Food For Thought: Helmetless Training

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and certified ImPACT concussion therapist has reviewed an article you may find interesting. If you have had a chance to review our most recent article on concussions, you are aware of their prevalence and seriousness. It wasn’t until professional athletes in the limelight began suffering from the effects of years of concussive damage, that society realized how dangerous concussions can be.

A football helmet and doctors hand holding a stethoscope on the crown of the helmet. Sports Concussion Concept, and related conditions, CTE, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's.

What is a Concussion?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies a concussion as “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”

 

The Study

The recent article published by Advance Healthcare Network for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine makes an interesting, debatable discovery. The article states that, “helmetless training, often referred to as HuTT (helmetless tackling training), is a training method emphasizing proper tackling technique”  and “HuTT reduced head impacts by 30% in one season.”

“Helmetless training is based on a theory termed risk compensation, in which individuals modify their behavior based on perceived level of risk. In competitive sports, athletes become more careful when they sense greater risk and are less careful if they feel more protected.”

 

The Debate

While the study is certainly interesting, it does seem to be comparable to the idea that driving without a seat belt will make you a more cautious and aware driver (please don’t). Can an athlete truly rely on other players in the game to practice “proper tackling technique”? If you did get a chance to read our most recent article, we explained that concussions do not always stem from an impact of the actual skull. They can be the result of any acceleration on the body that causes the brain to impact with the inside of the skull.

Ultimately, the choice is up to a team and coaches to consider pro’s and con’s whether they choose to wear helmets and practice proper tackling technique.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapists to help design physical therapy programs to increase neck strength, which is a factor in reducing concussions. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

 

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

 

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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Home Exercises: Handigrip Exercise for Hand Strength

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapists, specializes in hands and upper extremities. If you have hand weakness, physical therapy can be beneficial to increase strength in your muscles around your forearm, hand and fingers.

 

Common problems that lead to hand weakness include:

  1. Stroke
  2. Fractures
  3. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  4. Arthritis
  5. Extended time in a cast or sling leads to muscle atrophy (decrease in muscle mass)

 

A simple exercise you can do at home, once diagnosed and cleared by a doctor or physical therapist, is the towel handigrip exercise. This is an isometric exercise, meaning the muscles are activated, even though movement is limited by the towel. Isometric exercises might be more desirable for those who have limited range of motion, or if pain is associated with forming a closed fist.

 

Here is how you do it.

  1. Get yourself an kitchen or hand towel.
  2. Fold the towel in half, then roll it into a small cylinder like the one pictured.
  3. Grip the towel in one hand on a table top.
  4. Elbow should be close to 90 degrees, with the shoulder relaxed.
  5. Firmly squeeze the towel in your hand, holding the pressure for 5 seconds.
  6. Relax and repeat for 10-15 repetitions, twice daily.

Handigrip towel

 

If you experience any pain, consult your doctor or physical therapist.

By incorporating the towel handigrip into your exercise program, you can be on your way to increasing hand strength! At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapist to assess your injuries and goals to design a physical therapy program to increase your hand strength. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun, affordable, healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

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Kinesiotape: You’ve seen it on Olympians, now experience it yourself!

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Kinesiotape on KneeGrace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist & Nutritionist, recommends the Kinesio Tape Method to treat pain due to sports injuries, postoperative complications, various orthopedic, neuromuscular, and other medical conditions.

The Kinesio Taping Method is a rehabilitative taping technique that is intended to aid the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without limiting the body’s range of motion (ROM).[1]

The method can be used as a regular treatment or added to previous treatment for myofascial pain. Its advanced purpose is to continue the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting to home care and activity of daily living.

Symptoms of Myofascial Pain

  • Deepaching pain in a muscle

  • Trigger points that are tender to the touch

  • Pain that persists or worsens

  • A tender knot in the muscle

  • Difficulty sleeping due to pain

The main purpose of the Kinesio Tape method is to elevate the space under the skin and soft tissue, so that the space for movement can be enlarged, the circulation of blood and lymph fluid can be facilitated, and healing rate of tissue can be increased.[2]

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

1111 W. Town & Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

714-997-5518

 

[1] http://www.kinesiotaping.com/about/kinesio-taping-method

[2] http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/950519/

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4 Ways You’re Making Your Knee Pain Worse

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Do you ever ask yourself, “Am I doing the right things to reduce my knee pain?” or, “Are the things I’m doing making my knee pain worse?” Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, has worked with countless patients who suffer from knee pain. Everyone who has dealt with knee pain is aware how much it slows life down.

Senior man suffering for osteoarthritis of the knee

 

Before you go on diagnosing yourself (we’ve all done it), it is important to see a doctor or physical therapist to give you a correct diagnosis. Without one, you could be doing more bad, than good.

Read through this list and ask yourself, again, whether you are taking the right steps to reducing your knee pain.

 

 

  1. Running on hard surfaces

If you were running multiple miles on the regular, and have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or another cause of knee pain, it might be time to adjust your fitness regimen.  The impact caused by running, especially on hard surfaces, is very hard on your knees. If you are committed to running, and find your knee pain is becoming unbearable, consider running on a softer surface. Many schools have padded running surfaces on their tracks.

 

  1. Taking it too easy

Rest is a crucial part of recovering from a knee injury. However, if your doctor clears you for exercise, it might mean it’s actually time to start.

Start with low impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling. Activities such as tai-chi or yoga help increase flexibility. For inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness improves with activity. For those with RA, it is important to find the threshold of rest and movement. A physical therapist can help you design a strengthening program to build and maintain the muscles that support your knees, too.

 

  1. Every pound counts

If you are overweight, there are plenty of reasons to try and change that. Knee pain is one of them. It’s pretty straight forward– less weight equals less joint damage equals less pain.

If you are overweight, you are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis and other conditions.  However, losing weight can slow the progression of arthritis one you have it.

 

  1. Get the right gear

We’ve discussed it before- your flip-flops, Uggs, and flat-soled Vans are not the best footwear to take walking or exercising.  Shoes with support, such as athletic shoes, will be more accommodating.

The same goes for that drug-store knee brace. Relying on generic braces may be putting a bandage on a major wound. If you have recurring pain, talk to your doctor about getting fitted for a proper, load-bearing brace.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to help address all of the potential variables that may be causing knee pain. We look at the “whole person” when treating knee pain to provide insights as to why one might be experiencing excess strain on  their knees, but also in the hips,  ankles and even a weak “Core”. We also look at our patients Body Mass Index as well as the daily activities demand.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

Call us at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss out program in detail.

 

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Superman Exercises: Lower Back Strengthening

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Dr. Walker, physical and occupational therapist, has a simple lower-back exercise you can do at home without any special equipment. Before you try these exercises at home, especially if you have any history of pain, it is important that you be cleared by your doctor or physical therapist.

The “superman” exercise is useful to people who are beginning a lower-back strengthening regimen. There are also variations of the “superman” for those who may need an intermediate exercise.

This particular group of exercises focuses on training the back, buttock, thigh and shoulder muscles. It can be done prone, kneeling, and on an exercise ball. Prone Superman is the best position to start out. It takes pressure of the knees and pelvis, making it ideal for those with sore knees, hips, or poor stability.

 

Starting Position

  • Lying prone on a stable surface, a rug or carpet is preferred. Elbows bent with forehead resting in your hands.
  • Place a pillow under your hips for comfort.

Into Action

  • Start with a single backwards leg raise. Raise only a few inches, your hips should not come off the pillow. Simultaneously extend the opposite arm upwards with the thumb pointing towards the ceiling, this way the shoulder muscles become engaged.
  • Make sure to keep your eyes pointed at the floor so your neck is neutral. Your hips should also be pointed at the ground, and not rotating during movement.
  • Hold for a 5-10 seconds, then lower the arm and shoulder at the same time.
  • Alternate sides.

 

The endurance required to hold the core supported is the main focus of this exercise. As you feel the need to progress the exercise, try holding each position for longer periods of time. Once you have mastered the prone position, you can move on to the kneeling position, pictured below.

superman final

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we provide personalized therapy programs for each patient. Our staff works with every patient to build a therapy programs tailored to their goals. Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert physical therapist!

(714) 997-5518

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, CA 92868

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Two (very) Good Reasons to Limit Your Flip-flop Use

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Now that it’s August, summer is undoubtedly in full swing (if you couldn’t tell already)! Dr. Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist, knows that summer means sandal weather, right? For many of us, that is true. However, continue reading to learn why it might be best to limit how often you are in your flip-flops.

close up of female legs in sandals walking on forest road

  1. They lack support– “The let your foot be as flat as they can be,” says Jim Christina, director of scientific affairs at the American Podiatric Medical Association. If your foot is too flat, you aren’t getting any support. This can lead to a number of conditions and injuries, such as plantar fasciitis– inflammation of tissue on the underside of your feet, or hammertoe– which causes the knuckles of your toes to arch upwards. Sandals also lack ankle support and are more difficult to recover from missteps or tripping, making you susceptible to falls and a number of other injuries.

 

  1. They are not hygienic– You probably could have guessed that sandals are not supportive, but give this idea some thoughtwhen was the last time you washed your sandals? No, not just splashing them with the hose- were talking about a deep, hard scrub. The New York Times took flip-flops from their staff and sent them to a lab. Inside the foam they found Staphylococcus aureus, known to cause (your guessed it) Staph infections. To top things off, the lab also found 18,100 other harmful bacteria on the sandals.

Contact Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an assessment with one of our expert physical therapists!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, Ca 92868

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Knee Pain: Recent study compares physical therapy with surgery; New England Journal of Medicine

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, has reviewed the recent study published online March 19, 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine that randomly assigned patients with knee pain from meniscal tears and arthritis to be treated with surgery or physical therapy. Guess what they found? At both 6 and 12 months later, both groups showed the same amount of improvement in pain reduction and movement. Yes that’s right! Physical therapy was just as effective as surgery!

man knee pain

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we design an effective program for each individual. We look at the “whole person” when treating knee pain to provide insights as to why each individual is experiencing excess strain on the knees, instead of just a quick fix! It may be that there is a loss of strength and flexibility not only in the knees, but also in the hips, ankles, and even a weak “Core”. We also look at our patients BMI and then look at the daily activities demand. We also have therapist who specialize in KT tape; a new, ground-breaking technique to add support to affected areas immediately.

From seven-figure professional athletes to weekend warriors, to people over the age of 40, knee pain can result and you may benefit from our expert therapist is knee pain relief.

We develop personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

Call our office at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss our program in detail.

 

Warmly,

Grace L. Walker, P.T.

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TMJ and Jaw Pain: Do’s and Don’ts

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Grace Walker, physical & occupational therapist and nutritionist says: “We are physical therapy experts in providing effective TMJ & Jaw pain relief.”

Here is what you should and shouldn’t do if you have jaw pain:

  • DO use hot pack or ice pack before bed
  • DO use chin under fist when yawning or coughing
  • DO use correct posture
  • DON’T chew gum, ice, or tough, crunchy foods like steak
  • DON’T rest your chin/cheek in the palm of your hand when sitting or lying on one side
  • DON’T eat, read, or watch TV in bed
  • DON’T clench your teeth when tense, jogging, or sleeping etc.
  • DON’T lick your teeth with your tongue, bite your nails or lips, lick your lips, or bite or suck your cheeks
  • DON’T talk or sing for prolonged periods of time

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an EXPERT physical therapist.

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Functional Fitness: What is it? How do I do it?

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Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist & nutritionist says that functional fitness is the way to go.

If you are trying to lose weight or just tone up; and especially if you want to avoid injury while playing sports or during your simple daily routine, functional training provides a whole body workout.

Some of the training exercises involve squatting, lunging, bending, twisting, pushing or pulling.

Training this way helps condition your body to move more efficiently through your daily living or real-life activities which helps prevent injury.

All areas of our body are connected and movement occurs across three planes:

  • The right and left sides of the body
  • The front and back of the body
  • The transverse plane which divides the body into top and bottom and is where most rotational movement occurs.

A functional deficit in one area can negatively affect movement patterns in another. This is why it is beneficial to look at the whole body to improve health and achieve optimal performance.

Angie Ferguson from news-press.com says:

The key to proper and effective functional training is assessment… Assessments should include a thorough health history, lifestyle factors, postural assessment and training analysis. Extra attention should be paid to any postural and muscular imbalances and movement restrictions. Once these have been determined, flexibility and core strength can be addressed.

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist from Fort Myers. She is a USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach and has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification. 

Angie tells us some benefits of functional training:

  • Ultimate time management. Multi-joint exercises (like a squat) work a multitude of muscles at the same time, making your workout more efficient. Ideal for a busy lifestyle.

  • Challenge. These types of workouts challenge you because a lot of the movements are multi-planer or move through multiple motions, as we do in life.
  • Massive core-strengthening benefits. It engages the body’s core stabilizing and balancing muscles. These types of exercises put less stress on your muscles and joints, and help improve coordination, balance, and stability.

  • Can be very sport specific and therefore enhance your skills in any sport. The bottom line is functional fitness training is all about getting stronger.

Contact Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an assessment with one of our expert physical therapists!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, Ca 92868

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Sciatica Pain Meets Physical Therapy

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According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy,  physical therapy can offer the same results for patients with sciatica who have had spinal surgery. The academy reports from the British Medical Journal and states that studies have only shown short-term improvement in patients who have had surgery. After 6 months to 2 years, the difference between surgery patients and physical therapy patients diminishes.

Surgery is not only costly, but risky.

“The significance of this study is that patients may be able to avoid surgery if they realized they can expect a similar improvement in symptoms if they use other ways to manage the pain for 6 months,”

says Dr. Timothy Flynn of Regis University in Denver, CO, and President of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist encourages patients to become educated about their sciatic and back pain. She agrees with Timothy Flynn in his statement:

“Patients should be aware that surgery is not the only option to reduce the symptoms of sciatica.”

Click here to read more.

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment. Treatment is affordable and effective!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, Ca 92868

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