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 Things to Avoid if You Suffer From TMJ or Jaw Pain

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Grace Walker, physical & occupational therapist and nutritionist says: “We are physical therapy experts in providing effective TMJ & Jaw pain relief.”

Here is what you should and shouldn’t do if you have jaw pain:

  • DO use hot pack or ice pack before bed
  • DO use chin under fist when yawning or coughing
  • DO use correct posture
  • DON’T chew gum, ice, or tough, crunchy foods like steak
  • DON’T rest your chin/cheek in the palm of your hand when sitting or lying on one side
  • DON’T eat, read, or watch TV in bed
  • DON’T clench your teeth when tense, jogging, or sleeping etc.
  • DON’T lick your teeth with your tongue, bite your nails or lips, lick your lips, or bite or suck your cheeks
  • DON’T talk or sing for prolonged periods of time

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

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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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 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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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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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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