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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Why It’s Time to Buy a Foam Roller

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Why It’s Time to Buy a Foam Roller

girl laying on top of foam roller

Foam rollers have become very popular in the past decade. They are everywhere- from gyms to bedrooms. Foam rollers have become very popular because they are effective and inexpensive.

Foam rollers are great for everyday stretches and therapeutic use. You don’t need to be recovering from an injury to utilize them. People who use foam rollers find  them beneficial in gaining range of motion, increased circulation, and relaxation.

Foam rollers work by using gravity and body weight to encourage patients to loosen muscle adhesion that develop within muscles and tendons. They work by rolling over sore areas, lengthening muscles and increasing blood flow. Increased circulation can help with swelling and edema.

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, says, “All of my patients love using foam rollers. Rolling on one feels like getting a massage! Currently there are dozens of variations of foam rollers to fit individual needs. Hard, soft, small, or large, there is a foam roller out there just for you!”

Choosing a Foam Roller

Foam rollers come in all shapes and sizes (they even vibrate now, too!). Choosing the right equipment is important based off individual sensitivity, strength, and goals. Most foam rollers have about a six inch diameter and should be able to fit the length between the top of your head and reach all the way down to your tailbone.

Danger

It is important to avoid rolling directly over the spine or other bony areas, such as the hips and knees. Consult your doctor before deciding whether or not you would like to obtain a foam roller.

Combination Exercises

Foam rollers can be very useful for a variety of things- not just rolling and stretching. It’s not uncommon to see someone doing resistive exercise while using a foam roller. The combination of resistive exercise and balance promotes core strength and vestibular (balance) stimulation.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists can help you choose the right foam roller for you and learn how to use it correctly and effectively. We have a large selection of foam rollers to try to find which one suits you best!

 

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

1111 W Town and Country Road

Orange, CA 92868

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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3 Reasons to Stand Tall – Part 1

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Whether it’s a long work day at the computer or you are sitting at your child’s baseball game, most of us aren’t consciously checking our posture. But we should! Posture can affect your health in ways you probably aren’t aware of. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 3 ways that poor posture affects your health:

  1. Headaches – Many things can trigger a headache and posture is definitely one of them! Although there are many types of headaches, cervicogenic headaches are due to poor posture. These headaches start in the base of the neck and pain radiates upward. People who work on a computer should be aware of cervicogenic headaches when it comes to placing your monitor in the right position for yourself.
  2. FatiguePoor posture can make you feel more tired throughout your way. When practicing poor posture, your body must work harder to maintain the body upright requiring more energy and leaving a patient tired.
  3. Hip, Knee, or Ankle PainYes, posture can affect your lower body too! Because the joints, muscles, and nerves of the upper extremities and lower extremities are interconnected, your spine and posture does affect your lower body. Altered posture and muscle imbalances puts strain on your hips, knees, and even feet.

Being aware of your posture, and trying to correct your posture, is important every day! Simple stretches, exercises, and making few modifications in the work place can greatly improve your posture and overall health. At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our physical therapists are experts in pain relief and can teach you how to correct your posture. Stay tuned for our second post on how poor posture can affect your health coming later this week!

 

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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Socks that go the extra mile for you!

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Everyone walks throughout their day; why not put those steps towards good use? Students at Old Dominion University in Virginia have created Fitbit-like socks that track your steps and activity level. The purpose of their research is to use the information gathered from these socks to help people with neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease.

 

These are washable and re-useable socks that measure the person’s walking speed, foot pressure, and steps. The information is sent to an application that turns the person’s movements into useable data. Because Parkinson’s patients’ medication affects their physical activity, these socks are the key to doctors tracking their patients’ physical activity and effectiveness of their medication regime outside of the doctor’s office. Right now, the research is at the beginning phase but Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to keep an eye out for these innovative socks!

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists can teach you daily exercises that our patients suffering from neurological diseases can perform.

 

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

1111 W Town and Country Road

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Runners with Knee Pain? It could be IT Band Syndrome!

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Are you suffering from an annoying pain on the outside of your knee? This is a common symptom that runners, cyclists, or any similar activity suffer from! Although some believe that IT Band Syndrome is felt as a pain running up and down the side of your thigh, it isn’t. Your IT Band (Iliotibial band) is a thick sheet of connective tissue that attaches the muscles of your leg to your hip and to the side of your knee. The pain you are feeling is coming directly from the friction between your IT band and the bone of your knee. This pain only increases as your muscles and IT band become more tense.

Couple Running

For most runners, the repetition of bending and straightening your knee while your IT band is tense causes the annoying pain you are suffering from. The key isn’t to limit or stop the movement of bending and straightening your leg, but it’s about the tension of your IT band! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 3 exercises that can help ease your pain:

 

  1. Resisted side steps – Place a resistance band around your feet and knees. With a slight bend in your knees (similar to a squat position) step laterally to your right and then to your left until you are fatigued.
  2. “Fire-hydrants” –  Position yourself in a “table-top position” where your hands are placed on the ground and your two knees are placed on the ground. Extend your knee out to the side while maintaining a L-shape with your knee. Alternate legs until fatigued.
  3. IT Band stretch – With your hands on your hips, cross your left foot over your right. Then extend your hip towards the left side (laterally) until you feel a stretch. Then alternate legs and cross your right foot over your left foot, and extend your hip towards the right side until you feel a stretch.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists will create a personalized plan of exercises such as these! By combining these exercises with manual therapy and KT taping, you will be back to running miles and miles again!

Call Walker Therapy and Pain Center 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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5 Reasons Why Outpatient Surgery Could Be for You

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With hip and knee replacement surgeries becoming more technologically advanced, our care after these procedures have come a long way. People think that a joint replacement means lying in a hospital for weeks on end… that’s not the case anymore. With outpatient surgery most patients are home and up and walking around in a few days! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know the advantages of outpatient surgery (if your doctor thinks you are a good candidate):

  1. Less Pain – Don’t worry about self-administered medications or IV pain killers! Outpatient surgery normally uses a long-lasting local anesthetic spinal injection that helps to control your pain up to two days afterwards.
  2. Fewer transfusions – Patients are less likely to need a blood transfusion in an outpatient procedure due to advanced surgical technique and better patient optimization.
  3. Lower infection risk – Hospitals are full of people who are sick, with outpatient surgery you lower the chances of infection in your surgery site.
  4. Better recovery at home – Not having to stay in the hospital means you can heal in the comfort of your own home! It’s known that recovery is better in a familiar environment and in a place where you are more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
  5. Fast, more aggressive physical therapy – After surgery, you are working with a physical therapist the day of your surgery or within a day of you returning home. Your therapist will show you exercises to regain full function in your “new” joint.

 

You would be surprised the difference outpatient surgery has on the recovery time! Outpatient surgery is only good for certain patients and their situations. If you are motivated, mobile (independent), healthy, and have a good support group to assist you… outpatient surgery might be for you! At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists will help you recover from your outpatient surgery! Our personalized programs will get you back to moving freely after your joint replacement.

 

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center for our post-surgery program! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Are You Affected by Headaches?

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist says that “headaches are often the result of pain from the upper cervical extensor muscles” and that “headaches are often related to stress”.

When a person is under stress, they tend to tense their body and have poor posture (a head forward position adopted with chin jutting and upper cervical extension). The associated upper back and neck (cervical) muscles tighten, trigger points can be affected and pain may be experienced behind the eyes, towards the sides of your head, or near the temples of your forehead.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center’s program for headaches includes:

  • Strengthening of the upper back (scapular) muscles to support the head and neck
  • Soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Pressure point release to the head and neck
  • Manage pain relief. Including the 830MLaser and ice
  • Personalized home exercise program

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with our expert physical therapists that are experienced in pain relief! (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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