6 Causes of Sciatica and Why you Dont Need Surgery

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist want to inform you that patients that suffer with sciatica don’t always have to turn to surgery. Sciatica us a common issue that is caused by the irritation from the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Pain from sciatica is usually felt from the lower back to behind the thigh and radiates below the knee. This pain can make walking, sitting or standing up an issue.

6 causes of sciatica include:

  1. Trauma– car accidents, falls and sports injuries.
  2. Piriformis syndrome– When the piriformis muscle is tight, injured or stressed, it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms of sciatica.
  3. Spinal tumors– Tumors, though they are not as common, can compress nerves causing pain in the hip, thigh and groin.
  4. Herniated disk– Disks that are located in between the vertebrae of our spine can become displaced and bulge inward or outward pressing on part of the sciatic nerve. This is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
  5. Lumbar spinal stenosis– Narrowing of the passageways that major nerves pass through in the spine will irritate and compress the nerves.
  6. Spondylolisthesis– When the vertebrae slip out of alignment with the rest of the spine due to disease, previous injuries or surgeries, or excessive physical stress, symptoms of sciatica may occur.

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.”

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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5 Reasons to Try Physical Therapy Before an Injury

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist wants you to consider visiting a professional physical therapist even though you may not be injured! Here are 5 benefits on visiting a physical therapist before you feel pain.

  1. Reassurance– Physical therapists can give you the green light you needed in order to feel completely comfortable working out again. If you’ve had a previous injury that’s been healed but still have that slight doubt, a licensed therapist can check that area and ensure that it has returned to normal function. Fear and hesitation in the gym or out on the field can lead to injuries.
  2. Prevention– Prevention, is the best cure for any injury or illness. A full evaluation by a physical therapist can evaluate where you may be prone to injuries and how to avoid those injuries by evaluating strength, proper muscle function, flexibility, range of motion (ROM) and much more.
  3. Education– Therapy is much more than what you do in the clinic but also what you walk away with. Physical Therapy can give you a better understanding of your specific body’s needs and how to better it. You will learn new exercises as well as proper form and aftercare to enhance your own personal wellness.
  4. Saving time and money– Healthcare is not cheap. With prevention and education you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary cost you would usually spend at the doctor. Therapists can also determine whether pain is from a joint or muscle with confidence allowing patients to possibly avoid the high costs of an MRI, x-ray or CT scan in non-emergency situations.
  5. Empowerment– Knowing more about how your body functions can be an amazing feeling. Physical therapy tends to lead patients to a healthier and happier life!

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we have expert 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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Chronic Pain, The Invincible Illness

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 Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, refers to chronic pain as the “invincible illness”. Chronic pain can persist for weeks, months, or even years and affects over 100 million people in the U.S. Of those suffering from chronic pain, sixty percent are between the ages of 18 and 64. Sometimes the effects of chronic pain is obvious when canes, wheelchairs, crutches or walkers have to be used for mobility. Other times the pain is less obvious and kept quiet to avoid being labeled as “rude” or a “nag”.

Causes of chronic pain:

  • Sprained back
  • Serious infection
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Past injury or evidence of body damage

 Common chronic pain complaints include:

  • Headaches– 45 million people suffer from headaches every year
  • Low back pain– 65 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and sciatica are the leading cause for back pain.
  • Cancer pain- 11 million people each year suffer chronic pain because of cancer
  • Arthritis pain– affects more than 40 million Americans each year
  • Sciatic or other radiating pain into the legs or arms

The most common mistake people make is assuming they “just have to live with it.” Pain is not a lifestyle. They may not know physical therapy treatments are available to lessen most types of pain.

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. If you or someone you know is living in constant pain 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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Dr. Grace Walker’s Holiday Safety Tips

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Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center wants to make sure you have a fun and safe holiday season!

Some Shopping and Decorating Tips from Dr. Grace Walker, Physical & Occupational Therapist and Nutritionist:

  • Distribute the weight of shopping bags equally on both sides of your body.
  • Consider using a fanny pack or small back pack.
  • Wear comfortable shoes; carrying packages while wearing high heels on hard surfaces can contribute to foot and ankle injuries.
  • Don’t lug overstuffed shopping bags for extended periods.
  • Test an object’s weight before you lift it by pushing with your foot
  • If an object is too heavy for you to lift, then ask someone for help
  • Wrap presents on a table instead of bent over on the floor; being hunched over for long periods of time can lead to low back pain 

DO’S AND DON’TS FOR BACK PAIN:

  • DO use ice 20-30 minutes before bed.
  • DO pull your belly button into your spine (iso-abs) and breathe.
  • DO consult your physician and Walker Physical Therapy if your condition is long lasting or gets worse.
  • DON’T twist while holding something in your arms.
  • DON’T bend at the waist, squat in instead.
  • DON’T hold your breath while exerting force.

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert physical therapist today!!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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Why Squatting is More Important Than You Think

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that health experts agree, people in the United States spend too much of their time sitting or lying down. This sedentary lifestyle has been proven to be a contributing factor in heart disease and decreased range of motion in our joints. Since this problem has been seen as a health epidemic, little adjustments to reduce the amount of time sitting, like standing desks, have become popular in many offices. Though this may help, some experts say that negative health effects can occur when you’re in one position for extended amounts of time, sitting or standing. To counteract this problem it is said that we try to incorporate squatting into our everyday lifestyle as well.

Squatting isn’t just something you do at the gym but a movement you can use day to day while resting, waiting in line, etc. Squatting is a motion that, as the world has evolved and urbanized, our bodies lose the mobility to do. If you have kids or ever seen a young child run around, you would notice that when kids want to rest or pick something up off the floor they go into a full deep squat. This squatting position has children comfortably resting in a squat with both heels in contact with the floor. If this sounds easy, go ahead and try to sit down in a full squat with both heels on the floor and stay in that position for a few minutes, it will hardly feel like a comfortable resting position. Unless, you have maintained amazing flexibility and range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, this will probably be very difficult for you to do. Squatting is a fundamental movement that almost every person is born to do with ease but, due to the lack of practicing this movement on a daily basis, we lose it.

Squatting regularly and with the correct form can increase your mobility and strength in your lower body as well as improve your health and quality of life as you get older. The key to health is movement which means though squatting is important, it is even more important to avoid staying in one position for long periods of time.

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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How Kinesio Tape May Help You Heal Faster

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Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist & Nutritionist, recommends the Kinesio Tape Method to treat pain due to sports injuriespostoperative complications, various orthopedicneuromuscular, and other medical conditions.

The Kinesio Taping Method is a rehabilitative taping technique that is intended to aid the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without limiting the body’s range of motion (ROM).[1]

The main purpose of the Kinesio Tape method is to elevate the space under the skin and soft tissue, so that the space for movement can be enlarged, the circulation of blood and lymph fluid can be facilitated, and healing rate of tissue can be increased.[2]

The method can be used as a regular treatment or added to previous treatment for myofascial pain. Its advanced purpose is to continue the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting to home care and activity of daily living.

Symptoms of Myofascial Pain:Kinesiotape on Knee

  • Deepachingpain in a muscle
  • Trigger points that are tenderto the touch
  • Pain that persists or worsens
  • A tender knot in the muscle
  • Difficulty sleeping due to pain

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

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

Orange, CA 92868

714-997-5518

[1] http://www.kinesiotaping.com/about/kinesio-taping-method

[2] http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/950519/

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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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sedentary

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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