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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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 Important Tips for New and Returning Runners

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Running can be one of the simplest sports to start; all you need is a decent pair of shoes and a little self-motivation. If you’re completely new to the sport or have been on a break for a while it can take a huge  toll on your body. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has 5 crucial tips that can make the transition into running a lot easier than you think.

  1. Start slow– Starting a new workout plan can be exciting but it’s important to remember that your body needs time to adapt to the new changes it is about to experience. Don’t think that you have to run 7 days a week in order to get in shape faster. Starting off too hard can quickly lead to injuries.
  2. Run on soft surfaces– Running on softer surfaces like grass, sand, a padded track or even a treadmill will put less pressure on the foot and the rest of the body than running on hard pavement. Start with a softer surface and gradually work up to harder surfaces if you can.
  3. Wait for your muscle– It takes around 6 weeks for your body to begin to build muscle. Allow at least this much time before you really add on the mileage or else you’ll be on the road to injury before you know it.
  4. Run-walk method– Running can be difficult, don’t be afraid to walk a little if you’re feeling exhausted. Try having a set amount of time that you run and a set amount of time that you walk to recover. As you build your endurance, you can reduce the amount of recovery time you need to fit your fitness level.
  5. RECOVER– Planning your recovery days is just as important as exercise itself. Exercise causes micro tears in your muscles that need rest days to heal back stronger. Make sure you’re stretching out those muscles to keep your mobility, resting to regain your energy and let your muscles heal, and eating a 3-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein within an hour after you run for optimal recovery.

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 a free consultation 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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Why You Should Try Kinesio Tape

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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 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

  • Deepaching pain in a muscle

  • Trigger points that are tender to the touch

  • Pain that persists or worsens

  • A tender knot in the muscle

  • Difficulty sleeping due to pain

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]

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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50 Million Americans Suffer from Osteoarthritis; Are you One of Them?

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that one in five adults in the United States suffers from some form of arthritis, the most common type being osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage found between joints. This cartilage is used as a barrier between joints to prevent friction from bone to bone which can cause pain and improper joint function. Though any joint is at risk for osteoarthritis, it is most often seen in the hips, knees and spine.

The main causes of this disease are not limited to but include:

  • Family history
  • Old age
  • Obesity
  • Overuse
  • Injuries around the joint.

Symptoms (ranging from mild to severe):

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Pain or dull aches that progress over time
  • Pain in the morning and tapers off with activity
  • Pain that flares with vigorous activity

Treatment depends on each patient’s individual needs. Mild osteoarthritis may be treated with conservative methods like weight loss (for overweight patients only), low impact exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs, injections and physical therapy. If pain persists and quality of life is being affected, joint replacement surgery may be an option.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or have concerns about your joint health, it is important to consult a professional!

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to help address all of the potential variables that may be causing joint pain. We look at the “whole person” when treating joint pain to provide insights as to why one might be experiencing excess strain on their joints.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

Call us at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss our program in detail.

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Myths Busted! 6 Things You Thought You Knew About Joint Pain

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Follow along as Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, explains the Six Myths of Joint Pain. If you or anyone in your family is in pain and you’re looking for somebody to help you, you’ll be able to make a more educated decision with your new understanding of joint pain.

man knee pain

Myth #1- Pain is your enemy.

  • This is a myth. Pain is a natural warning that alerts you that something is wrong in your body.

Myth #2- Joint pain is just wear and tear and there is nothing else you can do about it.- 

  • Yes there is, especially if you follow our Be Free From Pain Program.

Myth #3- You need to take ongoing medications, such as pain killers and anti-inflammatories.

  • Medications simply mask the pain, while the joints continue to deteriorate. Even doctors will tell you about how these drugs will affect your intestines.  Did you know that these medications can also make your blood pressure go up? The American Heart Society just issued a report advising doctors to recommend physical therapy for joint pain instead of medication. Some of these joint pain reducing medications have been linked to heart attacks which resulted in death.

Myth #4- Diagnosis Dilemmas

  • How many times have you heard of a test showing a problem when there wasn’t actually a problem?  Often times, you feel the need to get extensive testing such as blood work and x-rays or an MRI.  While these tests can be informative, many times they can lead to false positives.  For example, studies have shown that many people exhibit a bulging disc on an MRI even though they have no pain at all.

Myth #5- You feel that surgery is the only answer.

  • Many times, that’s simply not true.  Remember your friend Carole’s doctor?  He recommended that she try physical therapy first.  Surgery was the absolute last resort and it should be. However, if you ignore the pain for an extended period of time and don’t see a physical therapist then surgery may be the only option left for you.

Myth #6- The pain is life-changing

  • You feel that if you have pain you should curtail your activity instead of getting treatment. That’s not always true!  Work with a professional who knows how to help you with your pain.  Often times, inactivity or “curtailing of activity” leads to more rapid deterioration of your joints.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to help address all of the potential variables that may be causing joint pain. We look at the “whole person” when treating joint pain to provide insights as to why one might be experiencing excess strain on their joints. We also look at our patients Body Mass Index as well as the daily activities demand.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

Call us at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss out program in detail.

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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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