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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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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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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5 Steps to Reduce Chronic Pain

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Millions of people live day to day with chronic pain. Though medication can help mask the pain for a few hours, these drugs are highly addictive and can damage your organs over time. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that medication is not your only option. There are better alternatives that can lead into a pain free life because pain is not a lifestyle! We would like to share with you five self-care actions you can add to your everyday life to help manage pain.

  1. Start a healthy lifestyle– Taking care of your body by eating the right foods, cutting out bad habits, and exercising regularly releases endorphins and strengthens your muscles to prevent further injury. You will sleep better, feel stronger and the body is able take care of itself and repair any damage a lot more efficiently with less outside help.
  2. Meditate– Stress has been proven to take a physical toll on your body. It is important to keep a positive attitude; daily meditation with deep breathing exercises will help remove your thoughts from your pain and lead to relief for your body and mind.
  3. Find Support– It is important to know that you are not alone! Joining a group and meeting other people who are going through the same struggle is comforting. You can also get helpful advice from others on how they deal with their pain.
  4. Invest in a professional massage– Massages improve blood circulation and release your body’s natural pain reliever, serotonin.
  5. Physical Therapy– Therapy can help kick start a healthy lifestyle. Trained therapist can help guide you through you pain by finding the source, teaching you how to train your body to fix it as well as provide massages to promote healing.

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 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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