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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Behind the Ear Headaches: Why Do I Get Them and What Do I Do?

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If you’re human, you’ve probably had a headache. They happen all over- front, back, side, and behind the ears. There are actually three hundred different types of headaches that have been studied. They all have their own symptoms, regions affected, and severity. Often times, stress and simple forward head posture are to blame.

There are a number of reasons the notorious behind the ear headache may occur.

Causes

It might not be possible to identify why a headache occurs. Pain behind the ear may narrow down the potential causes.

Occipital neuralgia: The result of an injury or pinched nerves in the neck. This can happen if your neck is bent for a long period of time. Arthritis in the neck or shoulders might also be the culprit. Some people feel pain in the forehead or behind the eyes. Pain usually starts at the neck and travels upward.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ): The TMJ helps your jaw open and close. If the joint is misaligned, injured, affected by arthritis, the action of opening and closing the jaw becomes distressed. TMJ and jaw pain can be painful. This condition can lead to behind the ear headaches. At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we treat TMJ and jaw pain. See our most recent TMJ and jaw pain blog for more information.

Mastoditis: The mastoid bone is located behind the ear. If it becomes inflamed or infected, it leads to a condition called mastoiditis. Untreated infection of the middle ear is what usually leads to this condition. Headaches, fever, and loss of hearing are common symptoms.

Diagnosing

When you are trying to find the cause of your headaches, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remembering where the headache occurs, severity, recent injuries, and activities leading up to the headache are important. If you suffer from consistent headaches, keeping a log book with some notes might help you and your doctor diagnose your symptoms.

If your headaches are severe and regular, a physical exam with your doctor is recommended. By pressing on the base of the skull, your doctor will be able to confirm whether or not you have occipital neuralgia. If your doctor feels it is necessary, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be done.  Looking for symptoms of infection will also help rule out conditions like mastoiditis.

Treatment

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in treating headaches.  Our headache program includes:

  • Strengthening of the scapular muscles to support the head and neck
  • Soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Pressure Point Release to occipital, sub occipital, upper trapezei, and levator scapulae muscles
  • Modalities for pain relief including the 830MLaser and ice
  • A Comprehensive home exercise program

Call us at (714) 997-5518 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physical therapists today!

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5519

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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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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Sore After Work? Here are Five Ways to Fix That

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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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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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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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Physical Therapy: Essential to Recovery from Sports Injuries

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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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How Can Trigger Point Therapy Help Me?

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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

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Slipped Discs: Is There Such a Thing?

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Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutrition, asks what do you know about intervertebral discs? You probably do know that they are commonly associated with words like pain or discomfort. Perhaps you’ve heard some say “I’ve ‘slipped’ a disc in my back”. Many people believe that discs are fragile, but how much truth is there to that? Keep reading and you may be surprised!

If you’ve read the title, and you suffer from back pain, you might have done a double-take. The point is– discs don’t simply “slip” out of place. If you have the picture in your head that discs slip like a bar of soap in the shower, you’ve got the wrong idea.

 

What is the function of the disc?

Every segment of your spine has discs, except for the last few vertebrae in the top of your cervical (neck) spine. Discs are composed of several layers of cartilage that surround an inner gel-like center material, called the nucleus pulposus. The end plate which connects to the actual vertebrae is both bony and cartilaginous, and creates an exceptionally strong connection. This makes it IMPOSSIBLE for discs to ‘slip’. They do not slip out of place like a banana peel! The nucleus pulposus, can however ooze out and press on a nerve root.  This is called a protrusion.  This protrusion can break of and become a herniation.

 

Can discs become injured?

Yes. Can discs heal? Yes. Are they strong? More than you know! A study examined the results of strength tests in both younger and older populations. They found it takes 740 lbs. of force to compress the disc height 1mm in young subjects and 460 lbs. in older patients. Ultimately, it was concluded that the discs are VERY strong. However, we know that shearing forces, that might be experienced while lifting and twisting, or blunt force trauma, from things such as car accidents, are much more likely to injure discs.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we provide personalized therapy programs for each patient. Our trained therapists have will assess your injuries, old and new, and goals to design a physical therapy program to help you overcome injuries.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

Visit our website for more valuable information and helpful tips www.walkerpt.com

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