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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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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It’s Obvious These Four Celebrities Love Physical Therapy

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Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images

 

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center is pleased to share this article recently published InStyle magazine.

From infrared saunas to freezing in the sub-zero temperatures of a cryotherapy machine, celebs and the fitness-obsessed will try just about anything to maintain their inner glow. And often times it’s Hollywood that introduces the rest of us to the hottest wellness trends that are about to make it mainstream. Case in point: physical therapy. This once daunting pain management therapy reserved for this recovering from surgery or injury has shifted its place in the wellness space, becoming a hot new addition to celebrities’ workout routines, whether they are injured or not.

The physical therapy guru behind Jennifer Aniston’s fit frame and P. Diddy’s healthy lifestyle is Dr. Karen Joubert. We asked Joubert why her clients are turning to physical therapy as a compliment to their workout routines, and how it’s changing their bodies.

“The clientele I work with are under an enormous amount of pressure and in many cases, this will manifest itself physically,” she says. “Artists can perform 4-7 shows a week along with traveling and trying to maintain a healthy diet, it’s a lot for anyone to handle. Physical therapy teaches them proper mechanics whether its basic posture on the screen and or extreme dance moves on stage. Education and maintenance provide them with longevity and prevention of injuries. In the long run, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

But why the sudden shift in how people are viewing the benefits of physical therapy, as opposed to just having to go to a session to heal an injury? “The desire for wellness and longevity has really helped to bring physical therapy to the forefront,” she says. “Recently, there has been a huge push in the longevity and prevention aspect of medicine. The public is turning more and more to physical therapy to help them understand and manage their pain. Who doesn’t want to feel better and do it with the guidance of a good physical therapist instead of popping addictive medications? Becoming in touch with the body can be a game changer in every aspect of one’s life.”

As for her favorite clients who dedicate themselves to regular sessions, she has a few in mind. “My favorites, include Puffy, Jennifer Aniston, Cher, and Serena Williams,” she says. “I challenge anyone to follow their daily raegimen. I can’t even keep up! They are so disciplined in all aspects of their lives, no wonder they are all successful! And YES, they all do physical therapy 3-5 times a week!

If you are interested in managing or preventing pain with the help of physical therapy, call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center at (714) 997-5518 to have 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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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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Is Sciatica Pain Making Work Unbearable?

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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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Bursitis: How Treatment has Changed Throughout the Years

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has an interesting history lesson for you regarding bursitis. Bursitis affects many men and women all over the world. In the past, bursitis used to be an easy way to write of pain that was difficult to diagnose. Ancient methods were utilized to treat symptoms. These techniques could be painful, and down-right scary!

 

What is bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation (-itis) of a bursa. The bursa is a sac filled with lubricating fluid, located between tissues such as bone, muscle tendons and skin. The job of a bursa is to decrease rubbing, friction, and irritation. Bursitis often occurs in (but is not limited to) shoulders, elbows, hips or knees.

Symptoms can build gradually, or have sudden onset. Severe loss of motion and joint pain may be a sign to go take a visit to the doctor, and get a proper diagnosis. Chronic inflammation can lead to calcification and bone spurs, which can be extremely aggravating and may need surgery to be removed.

 

What treatments are available for bursitis?

In the past, people were using a treatment that dates back to ancient Greece for removing bursitis known as bloodletting. Just as it sounds, it involves draining blood from the area. It was believed that removing blood from different areas could cure diseases and relieve pain. The practice was recommended by physicians and carried out by barbers! This is why barbers have red-and-white poles; red is for blood, white is for bandages. Of course, this practice is no longer carried out in modern medicine (not is America, at least). If you do find someone who offers to perform bloodletting on you, there’s no evidence it will heal your bursitis; and remember, your insurance probably won’t cover it!

Since the development of evidence-based medicine has come into the picture, treatment for bursitis has progressed. Some options include oral and injectable steroids, and physical therapy. The steroids that are used can be helpful, but also might have their own set of complications. Orally, they can cause weight gain, and alter hormone balance. If injected, they can cause damage to soft tissue, which could cause a bursa to be weakened or rupture.

Physical therapy is frequently performed. Modalities, safe exercise, and hands on treatment from trained physical therapist can often be enough to reduce and break the cycle of inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of bursitis, once it is reduced, pain will be decreased and range of motion will increase. Beyond that, physical therapy does not have the complications that come with steroid treatment.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our professional therapists are experienced in treating bursitis. They will not only help you understand you condition, they will teach you how to identify and interpret pain triggers and patterns.

Call Walker Physical Therapy and 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

www.walkerpt.com

 

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Super Bowl Players Need Super Shoulder! 3 Tips for Sore Shoulders.

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Super Bowl 51 is around the corner! Consider the following when you see your favorite players putting their shoulders down and taking hits!

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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Glued to the Desk all day? These 3 Exercises are for you!

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, is very familiar with pain developed from prolonged sitting. Too much time sitting can lead to muscle atrophy, or shrinking muscle tissue. Also, when you stay in one position for too long, your bones actually press against the muscle and skin in your bottom. This pushes the blood away from your skin. If you stay like this too long, you get what’s called a decubitus ulcer, or bedsore.

Close-up Of Young Businesswoman On Chair Having Backpain In Office

On the more extreme side, Mayo Clinic has reported that sedentary lifestyle attributes to nearly 50% increased risk of death from any cause, and 125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain or heart attack.

If these statistics are a wake-up call for you, here are three exercises to get you body feeling better!

  1. Crab Hip Hold– Jeremy Frisch, U.S.A.W., owner and director of Achieve Performance Training, says this move is “perfect for zeroing in on all the muscles that don’t see any action when you’re sitting all day: hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and shoulders.”
  2. Resisted Rows– Working over a stack of books or computer all day causes your shoulders to slump forward and your back to hunch. To stretch and strengthen these muscle, check out this instructional guide for rows.
  3. Half Frog Stretch– This yoga pose focuses on the thighs, shoulders, and upper back. These areas are prone to becoming tight after sitting for extended amounts of time.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to identify the factors that may be causing pain, and correct them. Our therapists work to understand your activities of daily living to develop personalized exercise programs for you during treatment, home, and work, too.

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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Handigrip Exercises At Home, No Purchase Necessary!

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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

www.walkerpt.com

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Knee Pain: Two Ways to Get Dramatic Results

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, shares that patients seen for knee injuries find dramatic results by a few life style changes. Research shows that knee injury patients who utilize physical therapy, along with these tips listed below, find greater, longer lasting relief.

stock-photo-81368917-runner-touching-painful-knee-athlete-runner-training-accident

  • Be conscious of your footwear

    • Women might love the look of those high-heels, and men the comfort of sandals, however these types of shoes are just as unsupportive as they look. One wrong step in heels or sandals could be disastrous, not only for the ankle, but the knee as well. The same misstep in ergonomic footwear, may be correctable and more forgiving on the knee. Women should also know that “the higher the heel, the more the knee will bend when the foot hits the floor. This put a lot of strain on the knee joint, especially for women who are overweight.”  (Christensen 1)
  • Maintain a healthy body weight

    • Overweight men are five times more likely (and women four times more likely) to experience knee osteoarthritis. Research shows that a “loss of at least 10% of body weight is associated with moderate to large clinical improvements in joint pain.(Asay 1)

To see the second part of this article, “Three areas of exercise to reduce knee pain”  featured on our blogger website, click the link.

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 hip, 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 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

References:
Christensen. Ann Rheum Dis. 2007 Apr; 66(4): 433–439. PMCID: PMC1856062. Effect of weight reduction in obese patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta‐analysis
Asay JL, Favre J, Titchenal MR, et al. Effects of high heel wear and increased weight on the knee during walking. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2014.
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