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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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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Happy Halloween from Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center!

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Happy Halloween from Grace Walker and the Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center staff!

Have a wonderful and safe night!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(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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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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4 Mistakes to Avoid While Foam Rolling

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, knows that foam rolling has many benefits like increased blood flow, myofascial release, improved recovery time and performance. Due to the benefits foam rolling has become extremely popular in the fitness community. Though it may seem easy, there are many mistakes that can be made that will cause more harm than good.

4 common mistakes to avoid

  1. Not paying attention to your body mechanics– Form may not seem very important when rolling out your leg but it is crucial your body is positioned in the correct posture when doing any activity. Incorrect form may cause injury or worsen your current postural condition.
  2. Using too much pressure on a knot– Our first instinct is to put as much pressure on a knot for as long as possible in order for it to disappear. However, applying large amounts of pressure on a knot for a prolonged amount of time can cause nerve and tissue damage. Try working on the area for about a minute and continue on to the rest of your muscles surrounding the area while using a moderate amount of pressure.
  3. Rolling where you feel pain– It is important to know that pain felt in certain areas aren’t always the site of the problem. Pain can come from tightness or stress on other parts of the body. For example rolling out your IT band is a common thing for many people who have Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Though this may feel good, your IT band should not be rolled out because it is a strong connective tissue that is not meant to be stretched. Research has shown that it is best to roll out the surrounding muscles like your gluteus maximus or your quadriceps which are attached to your IT band.
  4. Rolling too quickly– Stretching out any muscle takes time and your brain must have time to send signals to your muscles to relax. Slower movements allows for less irritation and time for your muscles to adapt to the pressure.

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 Facts that Will Make you WANT to Exercise

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants to shed some light on the importance of exercise. According to The World Confederation for Physical Therapy, 70% of adults spend most of their time sitting, resulting in 6% of deaths. Physical activity is an essential part to a healthy life and avoiding exercise completely can lead to many complications along the way.

Here are 5 reasons to engage in physical activity on a regular basis:

  1. It keeps the pounds off– People who are overweight, due to lack of exercise, deal with more health complications than people who maintain a healthy body by engaging in physical activity.
  2. Increases your energy– Do you ever feel groggy in the middle of the day or even become tired from the easiest household chore? Regular exercise and physical activities boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue over time.
  3. Improve your sleep patterns– Exercise during the day allows for less restless nights and a deeper sleep during the night.
  4. Release more endorphins– Physical activity and exercise is not only beneficial to your physical well-being, but can greatly improve your mental health as well.
  5. Better your sex life– Regular exercise increases confidence, energy, and stamina, giving your sex life the boost that it needs.

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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Don’t Let Your Phone be a Pain in the Neck

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that most adults spend on average around two to four hours a day on their phone. That averages to be 700 to 14,000 hours a year! This has doctors coining a new term called “text neck” or “tech neck”. Text neck is caused by prolonged neck strain from looking downwards towards you phone, computer, tablet, etc. This causes a strain on your neck muscles, whose purpose is to support an upright posture. This strain causes serious neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches.

The average human head weighs about ten to twelve pounds and is hardly noticed when sitting upright and aligned with its base of support, the neck. As soon as you tilt your head forward, backward or side to side you will notice a shift of weight that makes the head feel heavier. The farther away your head moves from its base of support the more difficult it is to keep this weight up. Therefore, neck muscles, if not strengthened regularly will become strained if you look towards the floor for long periods of time.  Simply flexing your neck forward sixty degrees can feel like you are supporting sixty pounds!

Tips to avoid “text neck”:

  • Bring your laptop to a table– Working on your computer placed in your lap forces your head to look downward causing strain
  • Buy a stand– Buying a stand and placing it on a table where you can comfortably use your tablet or even read a book can help you avoid text neck
  • Ignore the urge– It is so common in todays world to have your phone on deck for any quiet moments in your life, people feel this need to check their phone every time boredom comes around. Try to resist any urge to check your cell unnecessarily and take in your surroundings, you will be surprised what you’ve been missing.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with neck pain. We can help you strengthen your neck muscles and work on any postural issues you may be concerned with!

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA92868

 

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3 Exercises to Loosen Up Your Shoulders

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

Why do my shoulders hurt?

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 pain. At 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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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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