Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapists, utilizes trigger point therapy.

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Dr. Grace Walker, a physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist is the director of Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center in Orange County, California. She holds doctoral degrees in both physical and occupational therapy from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

In her work as an occupational and a physical therapist, Dr. Grace Walker routinely uses pressure point release techniques (Trigger Point Therapy). Pressure point release techniques provide that gentle but firm pressure  on these points and can help to relieve pain and inflammation.

 A common cause of persistent and strange aches and pains that usually go under-diagnosed are pressure points , or muscle knots. Most of these trigger points (TrPs) are common and, on condition that you are educated on where each trigger point is, they can be massaged at home! These TrPs are the most useful and satisfying areas to apply pressure to muscle.

Even without symptoms, pressure point techniques on these muscles is still important since they usually harbor latent pressure points— points not obvious until they are pressed. These are also normally responsible for stiffness, vague discomfort, and aching.

For an appointment with an expert physical therapist call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center at 714-997-5518.

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Sciatica pain meets physical therapy

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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.”

Click here to read more.

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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5 Things Your PT Wants You to Know About Knee Pain

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Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist and Nutritionist wants you to know these 5 things about knee pain shared by Cheryl Lock, The Denver Magazine.

August 27 2015, 10:00 AM

An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 15.1% of those consist of knee pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Management. Even if you have never suffered from knee pain, these 5 things are helpful for you to know.

  1. The problem may NOT be your knee.

It is possible that what starts out as a weakness in your hip muscles might cause you to walk “funny”, or induce tightness from your hip, which manifests itself at the knee joint. “The problem may not be at your knee, but that’s where you’re feeling the pain, because that’s where the issue is coming to a head.” Dr. Josh Hardy, PT, DPT says.

  1. Knee exercises might make it worse.

If you attempt to ease the problem yourself with certain exercises or stretches, it may actually end up making the problem worse. Core strengthening or hip stabilizing and strengthening are usually more adequate. This is where a physical therapist or doctor can help personalize the exercises to “work for you, not against you”.

  1. Some knee pain can be avoided with a little training.

Sometimes, the best treatment is to simply slow down. The knee is especially susceptible to what therapists call “weekend warrior injuries”— such as going for a 4 mile hike after months without physical activity.

Dr. Hardy says that “People should ease into exercise if they’ve been out of the game for a while. If you try to do a big run or hike without the flexibility or strength to back it up, the next thing you know your knee is irritated, and you have to play catch up even more.”

Diagnostic testing can help you figure out your level of fitness. Furthermore, Dr. Hardy states that “It doesn’t hurt to have someone take a look at your functional movement and strength to find out if you’re at-risk before going out and hurting yourself.”

  1.  Avoid quick fixes.

It’s frustrating to have to take time off from doing an activity you love and attempting to work through the pain. But coming up with a quick fix instead of taking the proper time to heal will most likely set you back even more. Your physical therapist or doctor will set you up to a gradual progression to help ease you back into your activities so there isn’t more damage done.

  1. The answer isn’t always surgery.

For the most part, non-traumatic injuries can be treated without invasive interventions, but even some more serious injuries can be treated with therapy first (depending on the patient) to try to avoid surgery. “For people who aren’t elite athletes, some can rehabilitate their muscles in such a way—with direction—that they don’t even need their ACL,” said Dr. Hardy. “If you can get functional strength back in your hamstrings, they can do the same job.”

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, CA92868

Phone: 714-997-5518

 

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Hope for Painful Hip Arthritis Affecting Americans

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I help people living with diabetes who are struggling, frustrated and overwhelmed. I will partner with you to create lasting strategies that increase your energy, build your confidence and return your zest for

Grace Walker, Physical and Occupational Therapist. Nutritionist and Director of Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center found this article in the New York Daily News by Katie Charles to be educational.  please see link below.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/daily-checkup-hip-arthritis-strikes-americans-article-1.2202361

Daily Checkup: Painful hip arthritis affects many Americans, and it’s treated with physical therapy, medications and, in some cases, hip replacement surgery

BY Katie Charles

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, May 3, 2015, 2:00 AM

Dr. Darwin Chen is an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai, and performs between 200 and 300 hip and knee replacement surgeries a year.

The Specialist

An assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai, Dr. Darwin Chen performs between 200 and 300 hip and knee replacement surgeries a year, and specializes in using minimally invasive techniques. May is Arthritis Awareness Month.

WHO’S AT RISK

As one of the most common chronic conditions in this country, arthritis affects over 25 million Americans. “Arthritis is a painful joint condition caused by damage to the joints’ lining, usually as the result of wear and tear,” says Chen. “It’s estimated that 15-20% of Americans will suffer from hip arthritis in their lifetime.”

The hip is one of the largest joints in the body. “It’s a ball and socket joint, in which the ball is the upper part of the femur, or thigh bone, and the socket is part of the pelvis bone,” says Chen. “Both the ball and socket bones are covered in cartilage that cushions the impact. With arthritis, the cartilage has worn away, and bone grinds against bone.”

In addition to the normal wear and tear that comes with age, hip arthritis can also be caused by abnormalities in the hip. “Of the two main structural problems for the hip joint, the first is hip impingement — which is when the shape of the ball and socket doesn’t fit well, causing abnormal contact forces in the hip,” says Chen. “The second is hip dysplasia, when the socket itself is too shallow and doesn’t cover the femoral head well, causing cartilage damage of the course of a lifetime.”

Just about anyone can develop hip arthritis, though some people are at increased risk. “Both men and women are affected equally, though men are more likely to be affected by hip impingement and women are more prone to hip dysplasia,” says Chen. “Hip arthritis also affects people from all ethnic backgrounds. There is very likely a genetic component, but it’s not limited to one gene or genetic pattern, it’s multifactorial.”

Aging is also a risk factor for hip replacements. “In most cases, the wear and tear on the hip cartilage accumulates over time, which is why the average age for a hip replacement is 60-65,” says Chen. “However, people of all different ages can be affected — I’ve performed hip replacements for patients from age 19 to 92.”

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Like other forms of arthritis, hip arthritis commonly manifests as pain. “The most common symptom is a deep-seated groin pain, a dull achy pain deep in the joint, which is frequently accompanied by joint stiffness,” says Chen. “The pain can start in the groin and can radiate down the leg, on either the front or side of the thigh; it can also cause pain in the buttock.”

Because the hip joint is essential to many of the tasks of daily life, severe hip arthritis can be debilitating. “Ordinary things can become painful, like standing up, walking, or getting out of a chair,” says Chen. “A classic first sign is difficulty in putting shoes and socks on, because that requires flexibility in the hip joint.” Severe hip arthritis can cause night pain and sleep disturbance.

Another feature of hip arthritis is that it tends to come and go. “Most arthritis patients have good days and bad days, the pain waxes and wanes,” says Chen. “It’s often an insidious onset — where there’s slow deterioration over the period of years, which can really sneak up on people.” In some cases, the spouses will notice a limp before the patient does.”

TRADITIONAL TREATMENT

The diagnosis of hip arthritis isn’t usually a tough call. “We make the diagnosis based on X-rays and physical examination,” says Chen. “On rare occasion an MRI might be called for.”

Doctors take a stepwise approach to treating hip arthritis. “We usually start with a course of conservative therapy, which can include weight loss, physical therapy, and the use of anti-inflammatory medications,” says Chen. “We can also use injections to help control the pain.” Weight loss has a powerful affect on arthritis pain because the pressure of 3 to 4 times the body weight is put on the hips when getting out of a chair or going up the stairs.

When is it time to consider hip replacement surgery? “You’re a candidate for surgery when the bad days outnumber the good and when the pain limits your daily routine,” says Chen. “There are 300,000 hip replacements done each year for advanced arthritis, and it’s one of the safest surgeries we do.”

The new direct anterior surgical approach is minimally invasive — we enter the pelvic joint from the front, which allows for muscle sparing.

There’s a traditional method of doing hip replacements and a new minimally invasive approach. “The traditional hip replacement is called the posterior approach because it entered the hip from the back; it required cutting through some of the muscles around the hip and back and the restriction of activity for a short period of time,” says Chen. “The new direct anterior approach is minimally invasive — we enter the pelvic joint from the front, which allows for muscle sparing. We also use X-rays to allow us to place the implant more precisely.”

Patients recover much more quickly from hip replacement today than they did ten years ago. “Surgery now takes 1-2 hours, and patients get up and out of bed on the same day; they have surgery in the a.m. and start PT in the p.m.,” says Chen. “Most patients are discharged on day 2 or 3, and almost back to normal within 4-6 weeks. There are really dramatic outcomes for hip replacements — patients who could barely walk have a new lease on life.”

RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGHS

Already, surgical improvements like porous implants and rapid rehab protocols are becoming the standard of care across the country. “The next generation of treatments will probably be geared more toward biologic therapy — in which biologic agents will be injected into the hip to cause the cartilage to regenerate,” says Chen. “That is still a ways away, though it might happen within our lifetime.”

QUESTIONS FOR YOUR DOCTOR

If you are diagnosed with early arthritis, ask, “What can I do to extend the longevity of my hip?” Staying active and keeping your weight down are two of the most important things you can do. If you have mild symptoms that are starting to bother you, ask, “What other therapies can I consider for symptom relief?” One of the big questions for surgical candidates both before and after surgery is, “What kind of limitations should I abide by?” Many patients return to tennis, skiing, and even running, though running does place the hip replacement parts under extra pressure. “Hip arthritis is not cancer or stroke or a heart attack — it’s nothing that’s going to kill you, but having a hip replacement does dramatically improve your life in terms of pain and function,” says Chen. “Current-day hip replacement works tremendously well — it gets patients back to the lives they want.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Get informed.

For online information you can rely on, start your web search with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (aaos.org), the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org), and Mount Sinai (mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/orthopaedics/orthopaedic-services/joint-replacement-center).

Don’t ignore hip pain.

See you doctor so you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment plain. “You may have a structural problem-knowing that and taking preventives measures can potentially delay the onset of arthritis,” says Chen.

Stay fit.

Leading a healthy active lifestyle in general is the key to healthy joints. Working to improve your flexibility can also help you maintain joint mobility.

See an expert.

If you are considering having a hip replacement, be sure to go to a center with a high volume, low complication rate, and low readmission. Look for a surgeon who specializes in hip and knee surgeries, and does at least 200 a year.

  At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center In Orange California, we treat patients with hip pain and arthritis both pre-operatively and post-operatively patients with hip arthritis. Call to make an appointment with an expert physical therapist occupational therapist call  714-997-5518

 

 

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Hip Arthritis

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There’s Nothing Hip About It

Hip arthritis generally results from osteoarthritis, or “wearand-
tear” arthritis. In a nutshell, osteoarthritis progressively wears away the cartilage of the joint it affects. Without cartilage in the joint to make movements smoother, the hip bones begin to grind and cause pain. Hip arthritis is typically found in individuals who are:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Overweight – in fact, weight loss has a tendency to lessen the symptoms of hip arthritis.
  • Genetics – if the condition runs in your family, your chances of developing it are much greater.
  • Trauma – injuries to the hip, including fractures, can increase risk.

There’s no way to tell for sure who will develop hip arthritis, but there are a few measures you can take to avoid this debilitating condition:

  • Lose weight. More weight = more compression on all joints. Weight loss can dramatically decrease symptoms. Seek the help of your physical therapist. We can teach you exercises to better distribute the pressure on your joints from everyday movements.
  • Modify your activities. Limit activities that are painful. Continue with ones that are not. Aquatic exercise is a great option to perform exercises without increasing joint compression. Use walking aids. We can show you the right way to use a cane/crutch to help alleviate your pain.
  • Ask your doctor about trying anti-inflammatory medications.
  • In severe cases, you may need to talk to your doctor about hip replacement surgery.

As soon as you start feeling the symptoms of hip arthritis, including limited range of motion, joints stiffness, and pain in the hip area, see your doctor. If you receive a diagnosis of hip arthritis, following the steps outlined above. The goal is to avoid a hip replacement surgery, which should always be your last resort. Our well trained staff will help you make the most of your
condition so you can carry out your day to day activities with less pain.

Becoming a Couch Potato Won’t Save Your Hipimage

It’s a common misconception that less activity (being sedentary) will “save” your hip from further decay. On the  contrary, medical experts recommend that you remain as active as your comfort level will allow.You certainly don’t want to force activities that will result in more pain down the road.

If you or a loved one have any hip discomfort, it is IMPERATIVE that you consult our staff right away for recommendations on exercises and activities that will be right for your condition.

The Importance of Heat and Stretching

Before exercising, use heat to loosen the muscles in preparation for stretching exercises. The best method is a warm shower or bath for 10-15 minutes. You can also use a heating pad or a towel warmed in the microwave, but remember, warm heat gets into the joint better than dry heat! Then, STRETCH daily! Some common stretching we recommend include:

  • Knee-to-chest pulls. Start in a comfortable position lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest and hold it with your hands for 10 seconds. Do not bounce. Lower your leg and repeat the process with the other leg. Repeat the sequence 5 times.
  • Hamstring stretch. Lie on your back in a doorway, with one leg through the open door. Slide your leg up the wall to straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down
    the back of your leg. Hold it for 10 seconds. Be careful to not arch your back, or bend either knee. Remember to keep one heel touching the floor and the other heel touching the wall. Do not point your toes. Repeat with your other leg.

Physical therapy is a critical step in the management of pain associated with hip arthritis. We will work with you to create a treatment plan that includes exercise and other specialized techniques to relieve your pain.

Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, Orange County, CA 92868

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