Fix My Back: 3 Ways to Attack the Back

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Fix My Back

Back pain IS one of the top complaints that doctors receive from their patients. Back pain can drive you crazy, especially if your job has you doing any heavy lifting or spending long hours at a desk (i.e.- pretty much everyone). The other thing that can drive you and your doctor crazy is that there is no easy fix! While pain medication can be an effective and temporary solution, they should be used with extreme caution.  Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know three phases of how to treat your back pain!

So, what are the 3 phases?

The three phases are an important waysilhouette man with back pain to identify the cause of pain and decide the best course of action.

  1. Hot or Cold?

That depends, when did the pain begin? Is the pain chronic (over 72 hours), or acute (recent, less than 72 hours)? Typically acute pain responds best to cold packs, while chronic, or recurring pain, responds best to heat. Try a hot or cold pack depending on whether the injury is acute or chronic, but be sure to use the appropriate number of layers to prevent any burns. Yes- ice directly on the skin can cause a burn.

  1. Gentle Activity

It is best to resume normal activity if possible. Gentle range of motion (ROM) will increase circulation, which can help with pain. Try gentle stretches if you are able to without pain.

  1. Over-the-counter pain relievers

Be sure you understand the differences between popular over the counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol. Tylenol is an effective pain reliever, while others, like Ibuprofen or Advil, are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Understand which works best for your pain. If your pain stems from inflammation, an a reduction in pressure (inflammation) may be what you need to reduce your pain. As long as the doctor says it’s ok!

 

 

In the end, if your pain doesn’t seem to diminish, talk to your doctor about physical therapy! Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center’s Be Free From Back Pain Program is an effective and affordable way to manage your symptoms. We treat the root cause of the pain! Our expert physical therapists use pressure point release, flex-n-move program, kinesiotaping, and ML830 laser to keep you pain free!

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center

1111 w. Town & Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Driving with Dementia?

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What is dementia?

Dementia refers to a group of different symptoms. Symptoms including memory loss, word-finding difficulties, impaired judgement, and problems with day-to-day activities. Injury or loss of brain cells are typical for patients who suffer from Dementia. Therefore dementia combined with driving could get a little bit dicey.

 

What is normal?

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, it is possible to have symptoms of dementia without having Alzheimer’s.

Most noteworthy is the question- Is it safe to drive with dementia?

The question is very subjective. According to Attorney Bernard J. Rabik, “People with dementia who continue to drive pose a potential danger on the road, worry their families and present challenges to health-care personnel. Most people would agree that anyone with moderate or severe dementia should not drive, but a careful evaluation is required to assess whether a patient such as your dad with his dementia remains fit to drive.”. In conclusion, just because someone can drive doesn’t mean that they should.

What can I do

Discussions about driving habits should be ongoing between friends and family. Furthermore, passengers should be observant of a important red flags such as

  • Failure to comprehend traffic signsSenior man holding up keys to his new car
  • Making poor of slow decisions
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Hitting curbs or other objects
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Continually taking longer to complete a known route
  • Forgetting the where they are coming from or where they have been

Certainly, driving evaluations are available. Strategies can be taught to help the driver continue driving if the evaluator deems the driver safe. Receiving poor driving evaluation result could be enough to convince your loved one that they have become too unsafe to drive. However, other times, more initiative needs to be taken to ensure the safety of our loved ones and others on the road. Discussion options with friends and families and involving the driver themselves is important. Above all, having this conversation is important to keep everyone in the family safe!

In a perfect world people will be able to recognize when they are unfit to drive. Unfortunately people with dementia are easily confused and can be unaware that they are making bad decisions. While we want to respect our loved one feeling, it is important to remember that safety is a priority.

 

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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Frozen Shoulder: Why and What Next?

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Frozen Shoulder: What, Why, and What Next?

Periarthritis HumeroscapularisWoman with frozen shoulder

Periarthritis humeroscapularis (frozen shoulder) is a pretty big word! But what it mean is that there is arthritis between the humerus (upper arm) and scapula (wing-shape bone on the back/shoulder). Many people with frozen shoulder have difficulty raising their arms.

Our shoulder is the joint with the greatest range of motion. It moves like no other joint in the body! It is very specialized. Once the shoulder become affected, the consequences become apparent very quickly. Eventually something as simple as putting on a t-shirt has become a daunting task.

Besides a broken arm or rotator cuff issues, frozen shoulder can also be caused by stroke, diabetes, cardiac disease, or Parkinson’s disease. Anyone who finds themselves immobile for long periods of time is at risk, had a recent surgery, or takes certain medications is at risk for developing periarthritis.

In the end, symptoms of periarthritis are pain and stiffness that make it hard to move the shoulder. A doctor must diagnose the condition before treatment can begin.

 

 

Treatments

Over-the-counter medications (OTC)– non-steroidal medications can reduce inflammation and relieve pain

Corticosteroid injections– help reduce the pain by relieving the inflammation, however the process can be invasive and more aggressive than OTC medications.

Physical therapy– Physical therapy is vital to periarthritis treatment to help relieve pain and gain mobility quicker. Patients also benefit from advice from therapists on their unique situation, circumstances, and environment.

Surgery– Surgery is usually a last-resort for most, as it is the most invasive. Physical therapy is sometimes prescribed to help rehabilitate from the trauma the surgery caused.

If you are experiencing frozen shoulder or other arthritis related conditions, come see our expert therapists at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center. Our experienced staff will evaluate your specific needs and develop a treatment plan for your unique lifestyle!

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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3 Reasons to Stand Tall – Part 2

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sedentary

We hope you have been checking your posture throughout your day since our Part 1 post! Posture can affect your health in many ways! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 3 ways that poor posture affects your health:

  1. Thoracic outlet syndrome – Poor forward head posture and slouched shoulders restrict nerves and blood flow in the lower neck and upper chest that limits the blood supply to your arms. Patients with thoracic outlet syndrome experience mild tingling and or numbness in the arms, causing pain and bad circulation.
  2. StressPosture can affect you mentally too! The pain you experience due to poor posture can translate into mental stress, decreased motivation, and overall mood.
  3. ArthritisIn the long run, poor posture can be extremely detrimental to your joint health and be a contributing factor to developing arthritis. Small changes in posture can help to prevent long term problems in the future.

Correcting your posture throughout your day is key! At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists are experienced with working with patients who suffer from the symptoms of bad posture. By correcting your posture, you can help to correct your overall health. Our caring, compassionate, and empowering therapists are here to teach you simple stretches, exercises and modifications to make correct posture second nature.

Call to schedule an appointment! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Zap Your Pain Away with Our Laser!

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From TMJ to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and from shoulder strains to knee injuries, muscle and joint pain can seem like an unsolvable and despairing burden. Thankfully, Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, and her expert physical therapists at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center have discovered the miraculous ML830 Cold Laser for these and many other troublesome conditions.

 

Dr. Chadwick Smith, professor of Orthopedics at USC says, “the ML830 Cold Laser has clearly proven its clinical value treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and had become the industry standard”. But how can a laser be so effective?

The ML830 Laser…

  • Reduces pain sometimes after one treatment. Most conditions take between 2-9 treatments to completely alleviate symptoms. Chronic conditions may require more treatment.
  • Reduces inflammation By following instructions from your therapist, you can prevent further injury and prevent pain.
  • Increase tissue healing by sending photons (light) into injured tissues without being absorbed by skin, fat, or blood.
  • Increases tissue cell repair and strengthens the tissue.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our knowledgeable and caring staff uses the laser for many of our patient’s injuries and painful conditions.

 

Call us today to schedule one free treatment with the ML830 Laser! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

 

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Slip and Falls Happen Ever 11 Seconds- These 3 Tips Might Help!

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionistsees countless slip and fall injuries every year. They are more common than you’d expect!  ¼ of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. It is not just older populations that need to be careful- falls can happen to anyone.

“All too often, people take their footing for granted. It’s typical for someone to walk around at full speed without ever looking down at the ground. This may be fine when there are no obstacles and the ground is made of something that gives good traction, but it can result in tripping or slipping if there’s something unexpected in the way or the ground has become icy,” says Dr. Samantha Stuart, D.C. from Portland, Oregon.

We’re sure you don’t need too much convincing on the topic of how detrimental falls can be. Are you curious how you and your loved ones might be able to avoid becoming one of these statistics? Here are 3 tips to keep in mind.

  1. Slip and fall accidents often happen in icy, wet, oily or slick conditions. Sidewalks, which are normally safe, become slippery and dangerous. Painted crosswalks on the road become very slippery when they are damp. Even in better weather conditions, some dirt on the ground could have you flailing like a mad-man to keep your balance!
  2. Remember to look down while you are walking. Many accidents stem from tripping over objects, or slipping on wet surfaces. Practice quick intervention by quickly cleaning any water spilled in the home, or clearing your path of objects left by you or your children.
  3. If you are have fallen once or more, speak with your doctor. There may be a reason you have fallen that you are not aware of. The issue might even be correctable, such as balance or an unusual gait or walking pattern.

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

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Hip Pain

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People with an active or athletic lifestyle know that minor muscle aches and pains are inevitable. Typically with rest, ice and a massage, our aches and pains normally resolve themselves. But what if the achy conditions don’t clear up right away? Hip pain is common among active individuals and it’s important to understand what your body is trying to tell you. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 5 things that most people aren’t aware of.

  1. Backs, hips, and knees have a tricky way to mimic each other when it comes to pain. You may feel as if the problem is your hip but it can actually be your back. Seeing a medical professional is the best way to figure out where the pain is really stemming from!
  2. Hip pain can feel more intense because of bursitis, tendonitis and arthritis. These problems are typically treated with non-operative measures such as medication, anti-inflammation injections, and physical therapy.
  3. One of the most common reasons for hip pain is osteoarthritis. Patients with arthritis often have a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle with arthritis also.
  4. Groin pain can sometimes be mistaken as a problem at the hip joint. Normally when a suspected groin muscle pull doesn’t seem to improve, it’s osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis pain typically ranges from time to time, so patients tend to have good and bad days.
  5. Hip arthritis treatment is improving! There is a new minimally invasive hip replacement procedure called the “anterior approach”. It is important to see an orthopedic specialist to talk about the best treatment options for your symptoms.

 

Seeing a medical professional is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. While hip pain can be limiting, its often easily treated once accurately diagnosed.

 

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center for any questions or to schedule an appointment! (714)997-5518

 

1111 W Town and Country Rd Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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3 Shoulder Exercises to Reduce Pain

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shoulder pain

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 and nutritionist, will help you understand why shoulder pain can occur, and what you can do. 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 painAt 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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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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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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