3 Ways to Sleep Comfortably Without Straining Your Back

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist knows that getting a good night’s sleep can directly affect a person’s physical and mental health. Though, most people have their preferred position, its normal for people to move around in their sleep. Sleeping in any position for extended periods of time can cause back pain to worsen. Therefore, making adjustments in your sleep can help alleviate pressure. Body positioning is crucial to how we feel the next morning and people usually sleep in one or a combination of three positions; on your stomach, side, or back. Here are three variations to these positions that may help reduce stiffness and pain:

  1. “Back sleepers” may find that placing a pillow underneath your knees will relieve stress by correcting the hyperextension that may occur in your lower back and bringing your spine back to its natural curve.
  2. “Side sleepers” may find relief by putting a pillow (body pillows are great for this) between their knees and bringing their knees slightly towards their chest.
  3. Though “stomach sleepers” are in the most difficult position for sleep, due to the rotation of the neck and flattened spine, you can still find relief by positioning a pillow underneath your abdomen to bring your spine back to its normal positioning.

Back pain often stems from many things; from something severe such as a traumatic injury, to prolonged poor exposure while working or driving. However, one thing you might not have known is that injuries affecting other parts of the body, such as the shoulders, neck and even hips may be the root cause of a back injury.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with back pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating back pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We develop physical therapy programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist! Visit our WordPress blog for more tips and information!

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

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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6 Tips For Better Bike Fitment

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Woman sets height of bicycle saddle before cycling - studio shoot

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, knows seat discomfort can be the difference between an enjoyable ride, and a miserable one. It can stop both men and women from riding all together! Why can seat pain be such a pain in the butt?

The bones that are used when sitting, ischial tuberosities (aka- sits-bones), are not utilized by most bicycle seats.

You may have a perfectly comfortable saddle, however there are many variables involved in bike fitting; you might find some of these variables are affecting your comfort. Some quick things to check that may be affecting your comfort are as follows.

  1. Poor or Worn Saddle
  2. Improper Saddle Tilt
  3. Saddle is Too High
  4. Saddle is Positioned Too Far Back
  5. The Drop Between the Saddle and Handlebars is Too Much
  6. The Handlebar Reach is Too Far

Some preventative measures that can be implemented to increase comfort are

  1. Building strength in areas that are in contact with your saddle
  2. Reduce Your Weight
  3. Protective Bike Short
  4. Get off the Saddle Regularly
  5. Allow time to adapt to your equipment

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we provide personalized programs to help you lose weight and build strength in the areas you need to comfortably cycle or enjoy any sport for years to come. Whether you are recovering from an injury, or simply interested in a maintenance program to continue doing the activities you love, our therapists will work with you to design an affordable treatment program specifically for you!

Visit our website at WalkerPT.com and call our office at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center today to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring therapist today!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd.

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

See Three Steps to Saddle Comfort By Tom Demerly and Saddle Discomfort—Solutions for Women Cyclists for more detailed information on saddle comfort tips!

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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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PT and OT: Differences and Similarities

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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

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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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Grace Walker uses Revolutionary Pressure Point Techniques as Physical and Occupational therapist

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Pressure Points and Persistent Aches and Pains

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.

That being said, the focus will be on two common TrPs treated at Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center that have helped hundreds of patients suffering from low back pain, trochanteric bursitis and sciatica. These points are the obscure gluteus medius and minimus muscles. Other muscles such as the gluteus maximus contribute to lower extremity pain as well, but the gluteus medius and minimus are significant culprits to pain in the buttock, legs, hips and back.

These muscles are located in the deep lateral part of the glutes and are a common but unsuspected source of pain. This pair of muscles is “the deltoid of the butt”– they lift the leg just as the deltoid muscle of the arm lifts it out to the side.

 

Where exactly is the pressure point?

This pair of muscles is not a single specific pressure point, but a small area where you can find a noteworthy pressure point or points. This area is on the side of the hip. You can feel the muscles if you stand on one leg and lift the other out to the side several times. When you start to feel a burn on the sides of your hips, you are feeling your lateral glutes.

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 throughout the hip and buttocks traveling down into the leg.

Their importance is often unsuspected because the key gluteus medius and minimus pressure points are located way out on the side of the hip, but the discomfort they produce spreads inwards and downwards. It is common for this pain to be strongest right under the butt cheek, thus often mistaken for sciatica.

Because they are hidden, massaging these muscles can feel like a real surprise, proving to be a satisfying discovery of the true source of stiffness or pain.

 

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

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

 

 

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5 Things Your PT Wants You to Know About Knee Pain

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Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist and Nutritionist wants you to know these 5 things about knee pain shared by Cheryl Lock, The Denver Magazine.

August 27 2015, 10:00 AM

An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 15.1% of those consist of knee pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Management. Even if you have never suffered from knee pain, these 5 things are helpful for you to know.

  1. The problem may NOT be your knee.

It is possible that what starts out as a weakness in your hip muscles might cause you to walk “funny”, or induce tightness from your hip, which manifests itself at the knee joint. “The problem may not be at your knee, but that’s where you’re feeling the pain, because that’s where the issue is coming to a head.” Dr. Josh Hardy, PT, DPT says.

  1. Knee exercises might make it worse.

If you attempt to ease the problem yourself with certain exercises or stretches, it may actually end up making the problem worse. Core strengthening or hip stabilizing and strengthening are usually more adequate. This is where a physical therapist or doctor can help personalize the exercises to “work for you, not against you”.

  1. Some knee pain can be avoided with a little training.

Sometimes, the best treatment is to simply slow down. The knee is especially susceptible to what therapists call “weekend warrior injuries”— such as going for a 4 mile hike after months without physical activity.

Dr. Hardy says that “People should ease into exercise if they’ve been out of the game for a while. If you try to do a big run or hike without the flexibility or strength to back it up, the next thing you know your knee is irritated, and you have to play catch up even more.”

Diagnostic testing can help you figure out your level of fitness. Furthermore, Dr. Hardy states that “It doesn’t hurt to have someone take a look at your functional movement and strength to find out if you’re at-risk before going out and hurting yourself.”

  1.  Avoid quick fixes.

It’s frustrating to have to take time off from doing an activity you love and attempting to work through the pain. But coming up with a quick fix instead of taking the proper time to heal will most likely set you back even more. Your physical therapist or doctor will set you up to a gradual progression to help ease you back into your activities so there isn’t more damage done.

  1. The answer isn’t always surgery.

For the most part, non-traumatic injuries can be treated without invasive interventions, but even some more serious injuries can be treated with therapy first (depending on the patient) to try to avoid surgery. “For people who aren’t elite athletes, some can rehabilitate their muscles in such a way—with direction—that they don’t even need their ACL,” said Dr. Hardy. “If you can get functional strength back in your hamstrings, they can do the same job.”

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, CA92868

Phone: 714-997-5518

 

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