Work Out Your Way to Reducing the Onset of Alzheimer’s

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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 Walkerphysical 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

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Stanley Cup Finals: Hockey Players need Super Shoulders!

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So, California didn’t get any of their teams into the Stanley Cup Finals. We are all a little sad here, even though the Ducks almost made it! Hockey players are known for loosing teeth. concussions, and shoulder injuries. If you’ve got a weak shoulder or an injured, keep reading. You will probably find this information helpful!

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, finds physical therapy to be extremely effective in treating shoulder pain and injuries. Current researchers agree. Many people will report shoulder pain at one point or another, statistically between 7 and 26% of the population report shoulder problems at any one time. Up to 50% of patients who have been diagnosed with shoulder pain are referred to a physical therapist for treatment.  (Dolder 50)

Young man having shoulder joint pain

The effects of techniques employed by physical therapist “have been shown to have an immediate effect on patient pain, range of motion, and disability.” (Dolder 54) If you are experiencing mild onset of shoulder pain, these three quick tips, listed below, may be used to try to avoid the worsening of symptoms.

  1. Strengthen the supporting muscle groups

    • Strengthening of the muscles that innervate (intersect) the shoulder and rotor cuff, such as those originating from the chest, under the arms, and back. Strength in these areas will increase foundational support necessary for the shoulder to go through the entire range of motion, pain-free.
  2. Shoulder stretches

    • Many common stretches, often utilizing a doorway or wall corner, before and after strenuous activity.
  3. Icing

    • Immediately after any activities that may be impactful to reduce the chances and severity of inflammation.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for patients with shoulder pain. We develop specific exercise and stretching programs for specific patients, along with a variety of specialized treatments to reduce pain and regain range of motion and strength. We look at the “root cause” when treating the shoulder to provide insight as to why the patient is experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix!

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy & 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

Refrences:
Dolder. J Man Manip Ther. 2010 Mar; 18(1): 50–54. doi:  10.1179/106698110X12595770849687 PMCID: PMC3103116.
Is soft tissue massage an effective treatment for mechanical shoulder pain? A study protocol.
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More Than Just Your Feet: 5 Things High Heels are Hurting

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It was Cinderella that said “one shoe can change your life”, but we don’t think wearing only one shoe would help your posture much, either. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, can agree that the right shoe can change your life.

High heels have been one of the biggest trends in women’s fashion. For good reason to; we can’t deny what a beautiful pair of shoes can do! To anyone who has worn a pair of high heels and experienced the discomfort, it’s probably not much of a surprise how hard they can be on your body. They affect the lower extremities (feet, ankles and legs), and also a few other areas that might surprise you.

  • Ankles Injuries: First, let’s review what might be the most obvious. High heels are more prone to accidents. It’s hard to deny that when you’re walking on miniature stilts all day. The lack of surface area and balance in high heels make accidents more likely. A sprained ankle might be tangible, but did you know that knee and hip injuries are also possible? Since heels have very little support, recovering from a minor trip becomes a much more difficult task.
  • Deformities: The pointy shoe is cute and in style, but  you can’t say it’s comfortable. Shoes with a pointed toe cause issues such as hammer toe and bunions.
  • Heel Pressure: A three-inch heel raises pressure on the heel 75%. A one-inch heel raises heel pressure 22%. If you’re going to remain loyal to the oh-so-trendy heel, consider a pair that aren’t too high.
  • Muscle Shortening: Walking in high heels simulates walking up a hill. This causes an increased load on the calf and Achilles. Prolonged use causes the calf muscle to shorten and tighten to compensate. The result is increased stress along the plantar surface of the foot which can cause conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
  • Terrible Posture: While your posture might feel sexy and confident in those high heels, it’s probably too much. Normally the spine is an s-curve. This design is meant to act like a shock absorber. High heels drastically alter the curve in your back. The results in the chest being pushed out too far, the lower back being pushed forward (causing misalignment in the spine), and excess pressure on the knees.

If your body is starting to feel the effects of those heels, it might be time to give yourself a break! If you are committed to the heel-life, consider less height and work a calf stretch into you daily routine.

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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2 Unrelated Conditions Attributed to TMJ Syndrome

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to be aware of the dangers of untreated TMJ syndrome. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the area that connects the jaw to the rest of the skull. If this joint becomes irritated or inflamed the pain can become unbearable. Due to the location of the joint, once inflammation begins the pain can spread to the mouth, teeth, ears, neck and shoulders.

TMJ disorder is easily aggravated by many daily tasks such as eating, talking and yawning. As a result, anyone who suffers from TMJ syndrome should obtain treatment from an experienced TMJ professional right away.

TMJ disorder is painfully and irritating. If it is not resolved quickly, additional dental issues may arise. Many people who suffer from TMJ disorder show signs of premature wear from grinding or clenching their teeth. This can occur without knowledge or during sleep.

Teeth grinding and clenching can lead to fractured teeth and worn down enamel. Many people who grind tend to favor one side of their jaw over the other which can cause swelling on one side of the face, which can cause unsymmetrical muscle growth over a long period of time. This can give the patient’s jawline an uneven appearance.

While tooth grinding probably does seem like a tangible effect of TMJ disorder, did you know that TMJ disorder can also lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even permanently compromised hearing? Since the temporomandibular joint is directly under the ears, some TMJ sufferers complain of pain in their ears. Inner ear problems can lead to problems with balance and recurring dizziness (vertigo).

Success Story:

“I had no hope that my TMJ could be helped. I was pleased to find that Walker Physical Therapy had a procedure to address TMJ. I was elated to experience actual relief and improvement after a short course of treatments. Everyone involved has been interested, helpful and pleasant to work with. Thank you to all.”

-C. Law

If you suffer from TMJ syndrome or Jaw Pain, call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center at (714) 997-5518 to set up and evaluation and begin treatment with our expert physical therapists!

 

See our blog “Do’s and Don’ts for TMJ and Jaw Pain“!

 

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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New Research: Laser Therapy Reduces Work Injuries by 65%

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   Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, is a big supporter of laser therapy. New research has been revealed concerning laser therapy at a worksite in British Colombia, Canada. The results are both encouraging and exciting.

The largest and most modern Kraft pulp mills in Canada employs approximately 400 people. The mill operates 24-hours-per-day and seven-days-per-week. The site sees so many work injuries that a physical therapy program was implemented in 2005.

With the high costs associated with worksite injuries, it is essential to reduce occupational injury rates. Along with regular therapy treatments, laser therapy has recently was introduced in 2015. The results speak for themselves!

   “To determine return-on-investment for therapy laser, and whether the (laser) modality had an impact on injures per year, we compiled data from 2004 through 2015. Our data showed that prior to implementing therapy laser (2002-2014), we experienced an average of 35.17 injuries per year. During the year following the addition of laser to the physical therapy program, we only had 12 MSI, constituting a decrease of 65%. Thus, during the first year of implementation, this program can be estimated to have saved nearly half a million dollars.”

, author- Laser Therapy for Industrial Rehab

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we utilize the ML830 Laser. The ML830 Laser sends light (photons) into your injured tissues and can penetrate 2 inches without being absorbed by the skin, fat, or blood. No heat is generated so it is safe for use anywhere (except for eyes) on the body. The 830 Laser stimulates the cells to repair and strengthen at a remarkably fast rate. It is effective and FDA approved.

This treatment does NOT wear off like most medicines, electrical stimulation, heat or ice. It increases your body’s own healing power and enhances that process-true healing. It you don’t re-injure the area, the pain should not return.

Dr. Walker announces, “By pairing the 830 laser therapy with physical therapy treatment, I have seen an increase of up to 80% in our patients’ recovery time. The 830 laser stimulates cells and accelerates the healing process by reducing pain, reducing inflammation, and increasing tissue healing. The laser has proven successful in helping many of our patients return to a full level of functioning after a fall, a car accident, or any other type of personal injury. The 830 laser therapy was even voted the modality of choice by the New England Patriots, who won the Superbowl, and the USC football team for treating painful injuries.”

Success Story: “I came into Walker Physical Therapy with severe pain in my right shoulder. I couldn’t remember the last time I slept through the whole night without waking up in excruciating pain several times. After the complimentary laser treatment on my first visit, I was able to sleep on my back without experiencing as much pain as usual. After 9 laser treatments along with my physical therapy program, my shoulder pain went from a level 10 to a level 2. I can now sleep through the whole night without waking up once in pain. If you are suffering with shoulder pain go see Walker PT & Pain Center!”                                                                   

 -Kathy Smith

If you are interested in the benefits of laser therapy, feel free to give us a call. We offer affordable laser treatment packages so that you get the most benefits. To schedule a consultation with one of our expert physical therapists, or to book your first laser treatment session 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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Dr. Grace Walker with 3 Tips to Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries

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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

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New Year, New You, New Posture! One Important Number to Keep in Mind

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What does perfect sitting posture look like? If the name of the title hasn’t given it away yet, 90° is the magic number to keep in mind!

What does that mean exactly? Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, shares 5 quick tips below will give you a better idea.

  1. 90° angle at your neck and shoulder
  2. 90° angle at your back and legs
  3. 90° angle at your lower and upper knee
  4. 90° angle at your foot and ankle
  5. 90° angle above and below your elbow
favi ergo 2 final

Walker PT Office Manager, Faviloa, demonstrates the “90 degree rule”.

While seated at your desk at home or work, keep these important postural cues in mind. Sitting down and working all day, one might find their head and shoulders begin to lean forward and their lower trunk begins to tilt backwards, creating a ‘slouched’ position.

This leads to none of the foundational postural muscles to engage, leaving the spine and shoulders vulnerable to injuries. Sitting with bad posture over a long period of time can also lead to nervous system problems.

By incorporating these 5 quick tips into your postural awareness, you can be on your way to reducing incorrect posture and pain! At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapist to help assess your posture and design physical therapy programs to increase postural 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!

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

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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Balance Therapy at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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Grace Walker, physical & occupational therapist and nutritionist says: ” Even if you feel a little less balanced than you used to, or only had a minor fall, you are still at risk and will benefit from the Better Balance Program.”

It has been estimated that at least 20% of patients who present to their physician with vertigo have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Usually, patients with BPPV report:

  • Dizziness that may be triggered by head movements
  • Unsteadiness
  • Falling or near falling
  • Visual &/or visual disturbance

Dizziness leads to falls and for people over the age of 50, falling is NOT a normal part of aging

-Grace Walker

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to start your personalized plan of care for vestibular rehabilitation with an expert physical therapist!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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