New Medical Equipment to Help Regain Hand Movement After Stroke

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

   Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has some very exciting news for those who might be affected by stroke. People who are affected by a stroke sometimes have to relearn to talk and walk again, dress themselves, and pick up objects on their own. The recovery from stroke can be exhausting both mentally and physically. Though it is difficult, it is not impossible. Especially with the help of an expert physical therapist.

When someone has a stroke, blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. The result is the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When those cells die, the area that the brain controls, such as speech or movement, is affected. According to stroke.org, each year, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Occupational therapist Shelly Kitrell says that, “brain cells that weren’t affected by stroke can be trained to perform functions that the damaged brain cells once did. Repetitive physical tasks help the brain tap into this ability.”

   New assistive devices and medical equipment are exciting. It is always impressive to see how medical equipment is designed and redesigned to reflect newly released evidence-based research.

   Enter the SaeboFlex. The SaeboFlex is a device that is fitted over the palm and forearm. It uses spring tension to assist the fingers in movement in an effort to retrain the brain. It works off the same principles that an assisted-pull up machine works, if that helps makes sense. If the device was attached to someone who had full range of motion and strength, it would feel like they were able to lift or curl their finger with minimal effort.

   Why is this important? Shelly Kitrell says “(those affected by stroke) can start rewiring or retraining the brain to be able to open and close the hand… The more you go without the use of one side (of your body), the more your brain says, ‘I don’t really have that arm. It doesn’t work anymore… You have to fool the brain to rewire it so that you can get the function back again.”

Once a patient is able to move their fingers, they can begin to build strength in their forearm. Once they build forearm strength, they can begin working on elbow and upper arm strength. Once they have gained upper arm strength, they can start shoulder strengthening. Starting to get the idea?

   At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists specialize in stroke rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is recovering from stroke, feel free to call us at (714) 997-5518. We not only specialize in physical therapy treatment, but are current on new evidence based research and assistive medical equipment to make your recovery as swift as possible.

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

Dr. Grace Walker with 3 Tips to Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, sees countless slip and fall injuries every year. They are more common than you’d expect!  ¼ of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. It is not just older populations that need to be careful- falls can happen to anyone.

“All too often, people take their footing for granted. It’s typical for someone to walk around at full speed without ever looking down at the ground. This may be fine when there are no obstacles and the ground is made of something that gives good traction, but it can result in tripping or slipping if there’s something unexpected in the way or the ground has become icy,” says Dr. Samantha Stuart, D.C. from Portland, Oregon.

We’re sure you don’t need too much convincing on the topic of how detrimental falls can be. Are you curious how you and your loved ones might be able to avoid becoming one of these statistics? Here are 3 tips to keep in mind.

  1. Slip and fall accidents often happen in icy, wet, oily or slick conditions. Sidewalks, which are normally safe, become slippery and dangerous. Painted crosswalks on the road become very slippery when they are damp. Even in better weather conditions, some dirt on the ground could have you flailing like a mad-man to keep your balance!
  2. Remember to look down while you are walking. Many accidents stem from tripping over objects, or slipping on wet surfaces. Practice quick intervention by quickly cleaning any water spilled in the home, or clearing your path of objects left by you or your children.
  3. If you are have fallen once or more, speak with your doctor. There may be a reason you have fallen that you are not aware of. The issue might even be correctable, such as balance or an unusual gait or walking pattern.

 

If you have fallen, or feel you are risk for falling, call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to start your personalized plan of care for vestibular rehabilitation with an expert physical therapist!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

PT and OT: The One Difference and 3 Similarities

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between occupational and physical therapy? While many aspects of occupational and physical therapy do overlap, they are not exactly the same. Continue reading as Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, explains the differences and similarities of physical and occupational therapy.

Occupational therapy (OT) originally began as a method to treat the mentally ill. OT has transformed into a field that helps people live independently in many different ways. Today, occupational therapists work in many diverse settings, from prosthetic and adaptive aids to assisted living care. The key word to keep in mind when thinking of occupational therapy would be “independence”.

Physical therapy (PT), on the other hand, involves treating an actual impairment. Reasons you might see a physical therapist could be rehabilitation after an injury, strengthening to prevent injury, balance rehabilitation, and TMJ- just to name a few. The goal of physical therapy is to restore mobility, decrease pain and educate. This minimizes the need for expensive surgery or long-term reliance on medications. Physical therapists also teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so they can secure long-term health benefits.

At times, occupational and physical therapists do work together. This type of program would involve the PT focusing on the impairment, while the OT helps the patient complete necessary tasks with the impairment. For instance, a worker injures his hand and is unable to work or care for himself. A physical therapists would help compose an exercise program, select and use adaptive equipment, regain mobility, and ultimately get the worker back to his job. An occupational therapist would help the worker re-learn how to dress himself, cook for himself, and cleanse himself.

The examples posted here are a very small list of the differences and similarities between OT and PT. The three largest similarities between them is that they have the same goal- to get patients healthy, happy, and live life to the fullest.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our mission is to inspire, educate and motivate clients by providing affordable treatment while promoting healing in an environment that fosters integrity and respect.

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or lack of mobility, call us at (714) 997-5518 to schedule an evaluation with one of our expert physical therapists.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

Less Bacon and More Nuts: 700,000 Deaths Annually Linked to Unhealthy Diet

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Bacon: the latest craze. Bacon-this and bacon-that, bacon infused with bacon, bacon ice-cream; just about everything you can think of these days has some type of bacon spin off. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed some new research, and has something to say about the latest trend.

So, we’re eating too much bacon. What are we not eating enough of? Nuts! These are types of food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Overeating or not eating enough healthy foods and nutrients contribute to nearly half of U.S. deaths from these causes.

Good foods that were under-eaten include nuts, seeds, seafood’s that contain omega-3 fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Bad foods that were being over-eaten include salt and salty-foods, processed meats such as bacon, bologna and hot dogs, red meats and sugary drinks.

The research that the information comes from is based on U.S. government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The analysis originated from a national health survey that asked participants about their eating habits. The results were published two weeks ago (February 28, 2017) in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So, specifically bacon and nuts; what’s the deal? The foods and nutrients were singled out because of research linking them with the causes of death studied. Studies have shown that excess salt can increase blood pressure, causing the arteries and heart to work much harder. Nuts contain more fats that can improve cholesterol levels. Bacon and other processed meats contain saturated fats that can raise levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we have found that patients who eat healthy recover faster. To schedule an appointment with an expert physical therapist call us at (714) 997-5518.

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center
1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1
Orange, CA 92626
(714) 997-5518
www.walkerpt.com

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

3 Shoulder Exercises for Relief at Home

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

shoulder pain

Have you noticed your shoulders ache, crunch, or flat out prohibit you from doing normal daily activities? Has dressing yourself, opening doors, or lifting objects become problematic? If so, read on! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, will help you understand why shoulder pain can occur, and what you can do.

Why do my shoulders hurt?

Your shoulders are one of the most intricate parts of your body. For that reason, they can be one of the easiest areas to injure. Some of the smallest muscles in the shoulder are actually the most important. For instance, the rotator cuff includes four small muscles that are vital to its movement in each direction. If these muscles become weak or injured, the humerus bone can actually make contact with the socket of the shoulder blade.

What can I do about my hurting shoulders?

  1. Postural exercises to align shoulders– Shoulder pain and injury is commonly a result of poor posture. Extended periods of poor posture at work, home, and even while driving can change the mechanics of the joint movement.
  2. Rotator cuff strengthening– Strong rotator cuffs will help your shoulders get through your daily activities with less pain. Less pain leads to less opportunity for an inflammatory response to occur. One simple exercise that can be done at home is as follows: Begin by lying down on your side with your top arm point straight to the ceiling. Next, swing your arm down 90 degrees so that your hand is flat on your hip. Repeat this 10-15 times a day, twice a day. This exercise is meant to build rotator cuff strength simple by using gravity as resistance. If you have difficulty completing this exercise without pain, please speak with one of our therapist.
  3. Build scapular stability- The scapula, or shoulder blades, are a crucial part of your shoulder complex. They are composed of many different small muscles used to guide your shoulder through its entire range of motion; pulling, pushing, and reaching. An exercise you can do at home to improve scapular stability is done standing against a wall and gently trying to pinch your shoulder blades together while keeping your arms relaxed. Do this for 10-15 repetitions, holding for five seconds each time. This can also be done twice each day.

By working these 3 simple actions into your daily routine, you can be on your way to reducing or overcoming shoulder pain. At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapist to help design physical therapy programs to increase shoulder strength. 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

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

Physical Therapy: Essential to Recovery from Sports Injuries

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Grace Walker, physical & occupational therapist and nutritionist agrees with author Darice Britt from South University who states that rehabilitation of an injured athlete should be carefully evaluated and monitored on a daily basis.

Physical therapists carefully examine the injured athlete to determine whether there are weak or inflexible muscles in the body that could cause future injury. They are trained to target specific joints and muscles in the body through exercise, manual therapy, and pressure point release techniques that help rebuild strength and movement of the body after injury.

Since injuries are time-dependent, the normal healing process follows a pattern of acute phase, subacute phase, and chronic phase.

“Each phase dictates a different treatment approach and it is the physical therapist’s responsibility to accurately diagnose which phase and what treatment the patient should receive”  Says Apostolos Theophilou, DPT, clinical coordinator of the Physical Therapist Assisting program at South University

Theophilou also says:

“Through the years, therapists have been successfully able to log the ‘steps’ for each phase, thus now we have collective treatment protocols that have a complete analysis of what activities and treatments the athlete should be receiving based on his current phase”

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

To read the full article, click here

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

Easy Home Exercises for Hand Weakness- No Equipment Required!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

New Research: Physical Therapy to Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, 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

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

Why Knee Replacements Will Increase 600% by 2030

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

 

 

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has a little bit of a history lesson for you concerning knee replacements, their evolution, and the future of surgeries. Nearly everyone in the modern world knows someone who has had a knee replacement. Over the years, the surgery has become quite streamlined. With a good surgeon and physical therapist, recovery from a knee replacement is much easier than it was in the past; considering it is such a traumatic surgery. It might make you wonder what knee surgery and recovery was like in earlier years.

When John N. Insall, MD, became the chief of the HSS Knee Clinic in 1969, there was no reliable knee implant on the market. The best relief for patients with debilitating knee arthritis was the temporary relief provided by pain medicine. Dr. Insall worked with fellow surgeons and biomechanical engineers to develop the modern total knee implant.

Although the first hip replacement came more than 25 years before knee replacements, there was still some fine tuning required concerning materials and design. Today, knee replacement implants are often made of cobalt-chromium and titanium (fancy), with a bearing portion made of high-grade. Wear resistant plastic that was not available in the early years of knee replacement surgery. There are other types of materials used in knee replacement surgery; however they are all proven, and much better than the materials being used in early knee replacement surgeries.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, in 1993 there were 195,684 total knee replacements in the U.S. Dr. Thomas Muzzonigo, a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, says “There are a total of more than 600,000 knee replacements, and that number is expected to rise 600 percent (by 2030)”.

600%!? Why such a big increase?

There may be several reasons. People are living longer, there is an epidemic of morbid obesity that stresses weight-bearing joints, improved implant materials, and people unwilling to give up active lifestyles. “Thirty years ago, people were not getting a total joint replacement until their mid-70s, now the age could be 55.” said Dr. Douglas P. Kirkpatrick, an orthopedic surgeon at North County Orthopedics in Queensbury.

So, you or someone close to you has scheduled a knee replacement surgery. Have you and your doctor discussed a recovery plan? The European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine published a report concerning total knee replacement that concluded “outpatient physical therapy performed in a clinic under the supervision of a trained physical therapist may provide the best long-term outcomes after the surgery”.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to work with your surgeon to develop a plan for rehabilitation for post-operation knee replacement therapy. We look at the “whole person” when treating pain to provide insight 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.

If you do have knee pain related to arthritis, feel free to review our blog post Entry-Level Excercises for Knee Arthritis.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

(714) 997-5518

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather

How Can Trigger Point Therapy Help Me?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dr. Grace Walker, a physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, is the director of Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center in Orange County, California. She holds doctoral degrees in both physical and occupational therapy from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

In her work as an occupational and a physical therapist, Dr. Grace Walker routinely uses pressure point release techniques (Trigger Point Therapy). Pressure point release techniques provide that gentle but firm pressure  on these points and can help to relieve pain and inflammation.

 A common cause of persistent and strange aches and pains that usually go under-diagnosed are pressure points , or muscle knots. Most of these trigger points (TrPs) are common and, on condition that you are educated on where each trigger point is, they can be massaged at home! These TrPs are the most useful and satisfying areas to apply pressure to muscle.

Even without symptoms, pressure point techniques on these muscles is still important since they usually harbor latent pressure points— points not obvious until they are pressed. These are also normally responsible for stiffness, vague discomfort, and aching.

For an appointment with an expert physical therapist call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center at 714-997-5518.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestrssby feather