Myth Busted! Cracking Your Knuckles

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist recently reviewed an article written by Michael Curtis on knuckle cracking. Whether the horror stories of early onset arthritis are true or just an old tale passed down from our elementary school teachers and parents.

To answer this question, no studies have shown that habitual knuckle crackers are any more prone to osteoarthritis than anyone else.

Lying between your knuckles and most of your moving joints is a lubricant called synovial fluid. This fluid, when put under a certain amount of pressure, creates vapor cavities that collapse and release gas. The collapse of these cavities is what creates the “cracking” sound. This occurrence is called cavitation. The gas released from this area doesn’t reabsorb for another 20-30 minutes, which is why joints won’t crack again right away. These sounds were shown in a 2015 study to have been more directly related to the formation of the cavity, rather than the collapse.

Though this study has found no harm to us habitual knuckle crackers, if you are experiencing any pain or instability with the cracking or popping of your joints it is crucial to further investigate your situation. Here at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in injuries from head to toe including balance and jaw pain. For a consultation from one of our 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 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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5 Tips: How to Combat Knee Pain

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist understands how frustrating it can be to treat a knee injury. Arthroscopic surgery and injections might help with your pain, but they aren’t always a sure thing.

Jane E. Brody wrote, “For those who underwent five or more courses, the injections delayed the average time to a total knee replacement by 3.6 years, whereas those who had only one course average 1.4 years until knee replacement, and those who had no injections had their knees replaced after an average of 114 days.

We understand that these options may be out of reach or scary to some people, so we’ve listed the following approaches from Dr. Siemieniuk that may help people avoid surgery:

  1.  Shed extra weight– Though it may seem easier said than done, losing weight reduces the pressure on your knees and can help lessen pain while doing daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
  2. Learn more about your body– Do you notice any activities that might cause extra stress on your knees? When does your pain become noticeable? What were you doing before this pain occurs? Try to avoid any unnecessary activities that might increase discomfort like squatting or sitting for long periods of time.
  3. Over-the-counter help– If your pain has become debilitating take the recommended dosage of over-the-counter pain reliever. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation in the irritated area.
  4. Take the time to see help– Making an appointment to see a physical therapist that specializes in knee pain can drastically reduce pain and discomfort while strengthening the affected area. It’s also important to do all of the recommended exercises at home to be able to experience the benefits fully.
  5. Small lifestyle changes– Consulting a physical therapist who can teach you how to modify your daily activities to minimize discomfort will help you live your best life!

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with knee pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating knee pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We also look at our patients BMI and their daily activities demand.

 

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environmentCall Walker Physical Therapy & 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, CA92868

Phone: 714-997-5518

 

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3 Exercises to Combat Knee Pain and Arthritis

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You may be asking yourself, “What is arthritis, and what can I do to relieve my symptoms?” Dr. Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational therapist, has helped countless patients with arthritis over the last 30 years. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, or are experiencing symptoms listed below, keep reading to find out some simple things you can do at home to relieve pain.

stock-photo-51727404-man-knee-injured-and-sprained

What is arthritis?

Mayo Clinic defines arthritis as “inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints (synovium).”

What can I do to reduce symptoms?

The main objectives of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Here are 3 exercises to begin with to build knee strength and increase stamina. If you have pain or difficulty performing these exercises, consult your doctor or one of our trusted physical therapists. 

  1. Standing Leg Lifts– Targets hips and glutes (buttocks).
  • Stand against a wall to ensure proper posture.
  • Raise a leg to the side without rotating the foot.
  • Avoid leaning to stationary side.
  • Lower leg down.
  • Repeat 15-20 times each side.
  1. Sit and stand– Targets Quadriceps and glutes.
  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross arms in front of chest.
  • Stand up fully, while keeping control.
  • Slowly sit down.
  • Repeat for one minute, minding your posture.
  1. Kick-backs– targets hamstrings.
  • Stand up straight
  • Lift one foot off the floor with knee bent, bringing your heel as close to your buttocks as possible.
  • Hold for a count of five, then lower down.
  • Knee should be aligned and posture straight.
  • Repeat 10-25 times each day, 2-3 times per day.

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.

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

 www.walkerpt.com

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3 Shoulder Exercises to Loosen Frozen Shoulders

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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

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Research says Physical Therapy is Vital to Recovering!

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Dr. 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

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Selfie Elbow- Yes, We’re Serious

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Walker PT & Pain Center Office Manager, Faviola, might be needing some treatment for that Selfie Elbow!

Selfie elbow, the latest tech-related injury. Yet another injury add to the list alongside the smartphone claw, neck injuries from using tablets, and carpal tunnel from typing. Hoda Kotb, the host of “Today”, told Elle that her doctor believes that her selfie addiction has caused her elbow pain. The awkward grip she was using while extending her arm is the perfect concoction of contorted movement to cause pain.

Doctor Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist says, “These injuries are nothing new. They are variations of old fashioned repetitive strain injuries that have been around as long as there have been jobs. The movement that most people use to take selfies is similar to many movements done by mechanics, electricians, and other workers. This movement shouldn’t irritate people who only take a few selfies. People who take multiple selfies everyday should keep an eye on the symptoms listed below.

Similar to golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, selfie elbow got its name by the movement or action that causes the pain. Symptoms are the result of inflammation of the tendons that pass through the elbow. This pain can occur in anyone who strains the tendons of the forearm and is not limited to selfie addicts.

Symptoms of selfie elbow are-

  • Tenderness in the elbow.
  • Elbow pain when using your arms (such as lifting, writing or driving).
  • Numbness or tingling in the elbow down to the hand.

So, what can you do if you are affected by selfie elbow? The first thing you should do is stop with the selfies! You’re not likely to have a repetitive motion injury if you stop repeating a motion! Selfie elbow, like golfer and tennis elbow, is caused by inflammation of the tendons that run through the elbow. To reduce inflammation, limit movement, use ice (especially after movement) and start stretching. Some good stretches to combat pain are tendon glides and forearm stretches. Tendon glides and stretches allow the tendon to reach its greatest amount of movement and help reduce swelling.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in repetitive motion injuries. Whether you have become injured from work, sports, or other activities (selfies), we have a rehabilitation program for you. Call us at (714) 997-5518 to set up 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

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3 Shoulder Exercises for Relief at Home

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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

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Easy Home Exercises for Hand Weakness- No Equipment Required!

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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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Cause and Effect: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist & Nutritionist affirms!

Everyone has a carpal tunnel, but not everyone has carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpals: the eight bones that make up your wrist, and are located at the base of your palm. The joint formed with the forearm hand bones forms the carpal tunnel.

Before learning about what carpal tunnel syndrome is, it is essential to first become acquainted with what the carpal tunnel is, and everyone has a carpal tunnel, but not everyone has carpal tunnel syndrome.

The eight bones that make up your wrist, and are located at the base of your palm are called carpals.  These bones form a joint with the forearm hand bones, and this forms the carpal tunnel.

Inside this tunnel are nine tendons and one nerve.  The tendons are what allow you to flex your fingers.

The median nerve crosses the carpal tunnel and is what causes your muscles to contract.

The median nerve also tells the brain what sensations you experience on the thumb, index, middle, and half of your ring finger.

Now that you are aware of your carpal tunnel, we can discuss Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve, typically from swelling of the tendons around it.

The first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are usually:

  • Numbness and tingling of the thumb, index, and middle finger
  • Pain in that area

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Anything that causes pressure on the carpal tunnel– there is no one cause.  

Do you believe your workplace environment is causing you pain and have symptoms? A physical therapist can work with you to identify  the reason for your symptoms and create a personalized treatment to bring relief.

What are you waiting for?

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

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, Ca 92868

Click on the link to find out more about carpal tunnel and hand therapy.

http://www.lbhandtherapy.com/

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Rainy Days, Blankets and 4 Important Vitamins for Arthritis Pain

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Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist wants you to know what you can do to ease your joint pain from arthritis in cold weather…. (even if it may not really be the weather causing the pain.)

Maisha Rumelia Rahman from The Daily Star states that,joints

There is no conclusive scientific evidence to support that fact. Some studies have found little or no link between weather and joint pain, while others have found a strong relation between cold, damp days and arthritic flare-ups.

Regardless of how the pain got there, Grace Walker, director of Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center approves of these tips from the Daily Star, to tame the pain:

Stay warm.  This may sound like a no-brainer but dress up in layers, keep your home warm and warm up the car before you get in to ease pain related to cold weather. Add extra layers over knees and legs so that you can remove them or put them on.

Eat healthy and stay hydrated  Load up on foods rich in –

Omega-3 fatty acids: These can be found in fish and nuts and may help as they seem to reduce the level of inflammation.

Vitamin K: Make your meals greener with fresh spinach and cabbage, which are abundant in winter, to take advantage of their soothing properties.

Vitamin C: Add color to your diet with juicy winter oranges and tomatoes to help prevent painful cartilage loss that comes with arthritis.

Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain. Vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk for osteoporosis. Get your daily vitamin D fix from cheese, milk and healthy cereals.

Also make sure to drink enough water as even mild dehydration may make you more sensitive to pain.

Keep moving.  One of the obvious reasons why cold weather may cause joint pain is that people are less likely to work out when it’s really cold. Though your duvet may seem too comfortable to get out of, try to go on your morning walks as exercise helps lubricate joints and prevent pain.

If you feel that it is too cold outside, bring your workout indoors. However, do not overdo it! Choose low impact exercises which are easy on joints and can enhance your range of motion, like yoga or tai-chi. Lifting weights may help as well because it builds joint-supporting muscles.

This applies throughout the year – if you are overweight, try to shed a few pounds. The pain and effort you put into losing weight will go a long way in reducing joint pain.

Pamper yourself.  Finally, some good news after all that talk about eating healthy and tedious work-outs! According to the Arthritis Foundation, warm baths can soothe joints. Also consider indulging yourself in a massage to relieve pain in muscles surrounding the joints.

(Rahman M. , 2016)

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

To read the entire article, click here

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