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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4 Ways to Avoid Injury

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist knows that exercise is great for your body and mind. Whether you play sports, go to the gym or cycle on the weekends, physical activities come with the risk of injury. However, this shouldn’t stop you from getting your exercise on! Whether you are starting a new sport or have been an athlete for years, injuries are preventable.

Returning to any activity after an injury or starting from scratch can be scary.  It’s important to build your confidence and knowledge to reach your goals!

Here are 4 ways you can avoid injury and gain the confidence you need:

  1. Pace yourself– Returning after an injury or starting a new workout routine or sport can be exciting, but professional athletes are not created overnight. Gradually building your intensity, duration and frequency over time ensures that you are getting the most out of your workout with less risk.
  2. Get heated Warming up is a necessity. Five to ten minutes of cardio or dynamic stretching reduces your chance of injury and prepares your body for optimal performance.
  3. Talk to your doctor– Having an open discussion with your physician about your fitness level and abilities are important! This could help you better strategize your workouts and plan ahead.
  4. Ask for help– Whether you’re trying to gain that confidence back after an injury or starting fresh, a certified trainer or physical therapist can teach you proper form and techniques. These professionals will create a safe and fun learning environment that will help guide you through your goals!

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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Myth Busted! Cracking Your Knuckles

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist recently reviewed an article written by Michael Curtis on knuckle cracking. Whether the horror stories of early onset arthritis are true or just an old tale passed down from our elementary school teachers and parents.

To answer this question, no studies have shown that habitual knuckle crackers are any more prone to osteoarthritis than anyone else.

Lying between your knuckles and most of your moving joints is a lubricant called synovial fluid. This fluid, when put under a certain amount of pressure, creates vapor cavities that collapse and release gas. The collapse of these cavities is what creates the “cracking” sound. This occurrence is called cavitation. The gas released from this area doesn’t reabsorb for another 20-30 minutes, which is why joints won’t crack again right away. These sounds were shown in a 2015 study to have been more directly related to the formation of the cavity, rather than the collapse.

Though this study has found no harm to us habitual knuckle crackers, if you are experiencing any pain or instability with the cracking or popping of your joints it is crucial to further investigate your situation. Here at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in injuries from head to toe including balance and jaw pain. For a consultation from one of our expert physical therapist, call us at (714) 997-5518.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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Work Out Your Way to Reducing the Onset of Alzheimer’s

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You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walkerphysical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, 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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5 Tips: How to Combat Knee Pain

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist understands how frustrating it can be to treat a knee injury. Arthroscopic surgery and injections might help with your pain, but they aren’t always a sure thing.

Jane E. Brody wrote, “For those who underwent five or more courses, the injections delayed the average time to a total knee replacement by 3.6 years, whereas those who had only one course average 1.4 years until knee replacement, and those who had no injections had their knees replaced after an average of 114 days.

We understand that these options may be out of reach or scary to some people, so we’ve listed the following approaches from Dr. Siemieniuk that may help people avoid surgery:

  1.  Shed extra weight– Though it may seem easier said than done, losing weight reduces the pressure on your knees and can help lessen pain while doing daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
  2. Learn more about your body– Do you notice any activities that might cause extra stress on your knees? When does your pain become noticeable? What were you doing before this pain occurs? Try to avoid any unnecessary activities that might increase discomfort like squatting or sitting for long periods of time.
  3. Over-the-counter help– If your pain has become debilitating take the recommended dosage of over-the-counter pain reliever. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation in the irritated area.
  4. Take the time to see help– Making an appointment to see a physical therapist that specializes in knee pain can drastically reduce pain and discomfort while strengthening the affected area. It’s also important to do all of the recommended exercises at home to be able to experience the benefits fully.
  5. Small lifestyle changes– Consulting a physical therapist who can teach you how to modify your daily activities to minimize discomfort will help you live your best life!

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with knee pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating knee pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We also look at our patients BMI and their daily activities demand.

 

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environmentCall Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA92868

Phone: 714-997-5518

 

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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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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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70% of Adults Complain of Neck Pain, Do You?

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Sportsman in pain

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed a recent study that examined how effective physical therapy was for patients with neck pain. Guess what they found? Physical therapy was successful in treating neck pain. They used 3 methods: electrotherapy, kinesiotherapy, and manual massage. Results showed a combination of the 3 methods was the most effective.

“Neck pain is a common health problem in the United States. It has been estimated that about 70% of adults are afflicted by neck pain at some time in their lives, 10 to 15% of adults report neck pain that has persisted more than 6 months in the past year, and 5% of adults are currently experiencing disabling neck pain.” (Sherman 233)

Neck pain often stems 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, back and even hips, may be the root cause of neck injury.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with neck pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating neck pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We also look at our patients BMI and then look at the daily activities demand.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

 Orange, CA92868

 Phone: 714-997-5518

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6 Tips For Better Bike Fitment

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Woman sets height of bicycle saddle before cycling - studio shoot

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, knows seat discomfort can be the difference between an enjoyable ride, and a miserable one. It can stop both men and women from riding all together! Why can seat pain be such a pain in the butt?

The bones that are used when sitting, ischial tuberosities (aka- sits-bones), are not utilized by most bicycle seats.

You may have a perfectly comfortable saddle, however there are many variables involved in bike fitting; you might find some of these variables are affecting your comfort. Some quick things to check that may be affecting your comfort are as follows.

  1. Poor or Worn Saddle
  2. Improper Saddle Tilt
  3. Saddle is Too High
  4. Saddle is Positioned Too Far Back
  5. The Drop Between the Saddle and Handlebars is Too Much
  6. The Handlebar Reach is Too Far

Some preventative measures that can be implemented to increase comfort are

  1. Building strength in areas that are in contact with your saddle
  2. Reduce Your Weight
  3. Protective Bike Short
  4. Get off the Saddle Regularly
  5. Allow time to adapt to your equipment

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we provide personalized programs to help you lose weight and build strength in the areas you need to comfortably cycle or enjoy any sport for years to come. Whether you are recovering from an injury, or simply interested in a maintenance program to continue doing the activities you love, our therapists will work with you to design an affordable treatment program specifically for you!

Visit our website at WalkerPT.com and call our office at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center today to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring therapist today!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd.

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

See Three Steps to Saddle Comfort By Tom Demerly and Saddle Discomfort—Solutions for Women Cyclists for more detailed information on saddle comfort tips!

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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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