8 Activities that are Hurting Your Spine

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants to warn you on 8 activities that may be hurting your spine health and causing pain.

  1. Carrying heavy Bags- Having a purse or wearing a backpack with only one strap causes uneven weight distribution leading to your spine curving to one side more than the other which can cause neck and back pain and spine damage. Always use both straps on your backpack and if you are carrying a heavy purse try to hold it close to the center of your body.
  2. Text Neck- Yes, it is actually a big problem. Leaning forward or tilting your head down to look at your phone puts your neck under 60lbs of excess pressure. Try to keep your phone at eye level when using it or take a break from your phone and only use it when necessary.
  3. High Heels- Prolonged wear of high heels causes the spine to be out of alignment leading to lower back and leg pain. Reducing the amount of time you spend in heels or switching to flats will protect your back, legs and feet from injury.
  4. Tummy Sleepers- Sleeping on your stomach can cause a lot of excess pressure on the spine and neck. This sleeping position can also cause numbness and tingling in the body. Sleeping on your back is the best position for your spine.
  5. Watching TV for long periods of time- Its easy to get lost in a TV show and lose track of how long you’ve been resting your neck on the arm of your couch. Lying on the couch while watching TV can put your body in strange positions and if you are not mindful of how your back is aligned you could be in for some serious neck and back strains.
  6. Improper form while exercising– Keeping your spine in its natural alignment is one of the most important things to watch out for while working out. Many injuries, like disc damage, are caused due to improper form while lifting in the gym.
  7. Chores– No, I’m not here to tell you its okay to stop doing household chores but we do want to warn against bad posture while you mop, vacuum, wash dishes or whatever you have on your To-do list. Keeping your spine in a neutral position and never bending at the waist to lift heavy buckets or dishes will prevent back pain and spinal strain.
  8. Cycling– Cycling is an amazing cardiovascular exercise but riding a bike for a few hours that is not fit to your height can bring pain to your neck and back . Try getting your bike fitted to your body type or use a stationary bike with longer handle bars closer to your body so you’re not reaching too far forward.

Warming up before chores or any physical activity can reduce the amount of strain on your muscle supporting your spine. Try to always keep your posture in mind while doing day to day activities. If you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain, it might be a good idea to consult an expert on the issue.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, 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 patients to provide insight as to why the patient is experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! 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

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Beware: Consequences of Sedentary Lifestyles

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As the director of Orange County California-based Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center, occupational and physical therapist, and nutritionist, Dr. Grace Walker offers wellness advice to her patients and through her practice’s blog. Physical therapist Dr. Grace Walker believes strongly in the power of movement and cautions against a sedentary lifestyle. According to ABC News, a number of Americans currently spend as much as 15.5 hours daily in a sitting position.

Studies have shown that excessive sitting links to a variety of illnesses, including metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

In fact, Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg and the University of Sydney in Australia have found that 11 or more hours of daily sitting can lead to a 40 percent increase in one’s risk of death.

Researchers have found these risks exist even if the frequent sitter incorporates a daily exercise regime, which suggests that sitting itself is the contributing cause.

Physiology supports such a claim. When the lower half of the body is still, the brain receives signals to increase blood sugar and decrease its reliance on stored fat for fuel. At the same time, metabolism reduces to less than 34 percent as compared to periods of activity. Data also suggests that every two hours of sitting correlates with a 7 percent increase in diabetes risk, while this sedentary time also contributes to the weakening of spinal support muscles and tightening of the hamstrings and hip flexors. It seems that only a lifestyle that incorporates regular standing and moving can mitigate these risks and help the body’s systems work optimally.

For an appointment with an expert physical therapist call Walker Physical and 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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National Physical Therapy Month #ChoosePT

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants to warn the public about the dangers of the over prescription of pain killers. Pain killers can be amazing for short term pain relief but when used by patients with chronic pain for long periods of time, addiction is seen by those who don’t think they have any other options. The medical community is trying to begin the switch from pain-killers to more long-term management solutions like physical therapy. October happens to be National Physical Therapy Month and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) started the hashtag, #ChoosePT. #ChoosePT is an opioid awareness campaign and encourages consumers to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pick safer alternatives like physical therapy. Help fight this epidemic by spreading awareness so we may move ahead of the ongoing opioid addiction.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, 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 patients 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

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5 Key Exercises for Spinal Stenosis

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Dr. Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants to share with you the five best exercises for people who suffer from spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramina in your spine. Foramina are passageways for nerves and other vascular structures that travel up and down your spine.  Narrowing of those passageways can cause pain, tension and weakness in the back and legs.

5 Exercises

  1. Lumbar rotation stretch

– Start by lying on your side with your top knee crossed in front of you and the bottom leg straight

– Bring your top hand up and back behind you while rotating your spine until a stretch is felt

– Hold for 10 seconds and return to starting position

– Repeat multiple times on both sides

  1. Knee-to-chest

– Lie on your back with knees bent

– Pull both knees, one at a time, to chest until stretch is felt

– Hold for thirty seconds and release one knee at a time

– Repeat multiple times

  1. Quadruped Thoracic extensions

– Start on elbows and knees with neutral spine

– Brace your abdominals

– Sink your chest to the floor while keeping a neutral spine and begin to drop your hips back slowly and then return to starting position

-Repeat multiple times

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch

– Start standing with one foot on top of a chair (knee should be aligned with hips)

– Brace abdominals and lean forward keeping the opposite foot planted into the floor slightly behind you

– Squeeze glutes and feel a gentle stretch in front of the hip

– Repeat multiple times on both sides

  1. Bridges

– Lie on your back with knees bent and arms flat on the floor beside you

– Gently brace the abdominals, squeeze glutes and slowly lift hips up so that your lumbar and thoracic spine lifts off the floor

– hold and drop back down to the starting position

– repeat until fatigue

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, 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. 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

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4 Mistakes to Avoid While Foam Rolling

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, knows that foam rolling has many benefits like increased blood flow, myofascial release, improved recovery time and performance. Due to the benefits foam rolling has become extremely popular in the fitness community. Though it may seem easy, there are many mistakes that can be made that will cause more harm than good.

4 common mistakes to avoid

  1. Not paying attention to your body mechanics– Form may not seem very important when rolling out your leg but it is crucial your body is positioned in the correct posture when doing any activity. Incorrect form may cause injury or worsen your current postural condition.
  2. Using too much pressure on a knot– Our first instinct is to put as much pressure on a knot for as long as possible in order for it to disappear. However, applying large amounts of pressure on a knot for a prolonged amount of time can cause nerve and tissue damage. Try working on the area for about a minute and continue on to the rest of your muscles surrounding the area while using a moderate amount of pressure.
  3. Rolling where you feel pain– It is important to know that pain felt in certain areas aren’t always the site of the problem. Pain can come from tightness or stress on other parts of the body. For example rolling out your IT band is a common thing for many people who have Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Though this may feel good, your IT band should not be rolled out because it is a strong connective tissue that is not meant to be stretched. Research has shown that it is best to roll out the surrounding muscles like your gluteus maximus or your quadriceps which are attached to your IT band.
  4. Rolling too quickly– Stretching out any muscle takes time and your brain must have time to send signals to your muscles to relax. Slower movements allows for less irritation and time for your muscles to adapt to the pressure.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, 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 patients 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

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3 Exercises to Loosen Up Your Shoulders

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Have you noticed your shoulders achecrunch, 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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Do You Know the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist wants you to know, though, sprains and strains have similar signs and symptoms they actually occur on different parts of the body. To know the difference between these injuries you have to know the difference between ligaments and tendons and how they work in your body! Sprains are the stretching or tearing of ligaments which are bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones at a joint. Strains are related to the tearing or stretching of a muscle or tendon and a tendons purpose is to attach muscles to bones.

Sprains commonly occur at when walking on an uneven surface and you ankle twists or at the knee while cutting and pivoting during sports. When sprains occur, a pop is commonly heard and felt in the injured area. Strains happen when a muscle is suddenly stretched or overused in prolonged repetitive movements. Strains can be identified if a muscle spasm follows the injury.

Similar signs and symptoms include:

– pain

– swelling

– bruising

– reduced mobility

Due to similar symptoms, sprains and strains have the same initial treatment following an injury. RICE, which stands for, rest, ice, compression and elevation, should be implemented immediately. Giving your body plenty of rest allows for a quick recovery without compromising the healing process. Using ice can help with pain and reduce swelling when done for no more than twenty minutes at a time. Keeping the injury compressed by wrapping or adding pressure to the area can reduce swelling and improve stability. Finally, elevating your injury above the level of your heart is key to reducing and preventing any edema.  If symptoms persist, it is important to seek a professional to ensure there are no further complications.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapist to help design 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

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3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Hip Fractures

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Dr. Grace Walker, nutritionist, physical and occupational therapist, is aware that at the age of 40, everybody begins to slowly lose bone mass. Women between the ages of 60 to 90 are most likely to experience a hip fracture due to the loss of bone density that occurs after menopause. You may be able to slow down this process by simply building as much bone mass as you can before this occurs, which will leave you with more “in stock”.

Ways to increase bone density and reduce the risk of hip fractures include:

  • Weight bearing exercises
    • Running
    • walking
    • Resistance training
  • Classes that improve balance and strength
    • Yoga
    • Tai chi
    • Pilates
  • Proper nutrition

Factors for losing bone density and increasing the risk of hip fractures is:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol (multiple drinks a day)
  • Having low body weight

It is important to pay close attention to your bone health if you identify with any factors that increase the risk of hip fractures. It is recommended that women at the age of 65 and men the age of 70 monitor their bone health with a bone density scan. Fractures usually happen with everyday accidents like tripping around the house. Patients with repaired fractures can begin weight-bearing exercises right away with physical therapy to return to their daily activities as soon as possible.

If you have fallen, or feel you are risk for falling, call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to start your personalized plan of care with an expert physical therapist! 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

714-997-5518

Orange, CA 92868

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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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These Boots are Made for Walkin’: 8 Benefits of Walking for Exercise

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Sorry for stealing your song title, Nancy Sinatra! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist says, “Walking is a great form of exercise. It is low impact, requires no special skills or equipment, and is simple to do!

Some of the benefits of walking include:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
  • Reduced high blood pressure
  • Good for your brain- may reduce risk of developing dementia
  • Reduced risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Helps alleviate symptoms of depression
  • Good for your bones
  • Relief from fibromyalgia pain
  • May help reduce medications (with prescribing-physicians approval)

Studies suggest that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day, such as brisk walking, is necessary to see health benefits.  Exercise does not need to be done 30 minutes at a time, but can be broken up into three separate 10 minute blocks, too.

Some ideas to mix up your own walking routine can be to include adding some headphones and music, walking alongside friends or with your dog, and walking around your business while you’re on break. When you’re just beginning your walking routine, start slow and gradually increase your intensity and duration.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our mission is to inspire, educate and motivate clients. Our staff can help you with many physical ailments that might be impeding you from starting or continuing your exercise routine that is so vital to your health. To schedule an evaluation with one of our expert physical therapists 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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