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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10 Signs that You May Have a Concussion

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According to the federal centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2013 most of the 2.8 million traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations were concussions. Concussions are usually thought to be the result of sports like football and soccer but Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, knows that concussions can result from something as serious as a car accident to a simple slip and fall. People who play contact sports are much more susceptible to concussions and are at risk for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that occurs after repeated trauma to the head.

Symptoms include:

  1. Headache
  2. Dizziness
  3. Nausea
  4. Disrupted vision
  5. Poor balance
  6. Fatigue
  7. Brief unconsciousness
  8. Light sensitivity
  9. Vomiting
  10. Disorientation or memory loss

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we want to ensure the best care possible when an individual suffers a concussion. Our Concussion Management Program includes, vestibular, balance and ocular motor rehabilitation, a return to play activity program once patient is symptom free and much more! Call us at (714) 997-5518 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physical therapists today!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1 Orange, CA 92868

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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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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3 Treatments for the Root Cause of Your Neck Pain

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, knows that neck pain can make everyday activities, like driving, an obstacle. Though neck stiffness may fade within a few days, some people may experience symptoms that are long lasting. Physical Therapists can target a specific classification of neck pain such as, mobility deficits, headaches, sprains, etc. Evidence proves that this treatment has a better outcome than just general neck pain treatment.

Specific treatments include:

  1. Manipulation/mobilization of the cervical or thoracic spine- The neck is a very vulnerable area and mobilization techniques can be less invasive and just as effective, in reducing pain, as cervical thrust manipulation. It has been proven that these techniques can improve neck pain and function.
  2. Strengthening- Treatments combined with exercise can be extremely beneficial. Increasing the strength and endurance of the muscles that support the neck, called the Deep Neck Flexor Muscles, can reduce the amount of stress on stiff joints while improving the coordination of movements in the neck.
  3. Stretching- Neck pain is usually accompanied by lack of flexibility in neck muscles. Therefore, including stretching in your treatment can increase neck mobility. In a study, neck stiffness was seen to improve in patients who practiced stretching almost as much as patients that underwent manual therapy.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with neck pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating neck pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix!

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, CA 92868

 Phone: 714-997-5518

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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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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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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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70% of Adults Complain of Neck Pain, Do You?

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Sportsman in pain

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed a recent study that examined how effective physical therapy was for patients with neck pain. Guess what they found? Physical therapy was successful in treating neck pain. They used 3 methods: electrotherapy, kinesiotherapy, and manual massage. Results showed a combination of the 3 methods was the most effective.

“Neck pain is a common health problem in the United States. It has been estimated that about 70% of adults are afflicted by neck pain at some time in their lives, 10 to 15% of adults report neck pain that has persisted more than 6 months in the past year, and 5% of adults are currently experiencing disabling neck pain.” (Sherman 233)

Neck pain often stems 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, back and even hips, may be the root cause of neck injury.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with neck pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating neck pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We also look at our patients BMI and then look at the daily activities demand.

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

 Phone: 714-997-5518

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3 Shoulder Exercises to Loosen Frozen Shoulders

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shoulder pain

Have you noticed your shoulders ache, crunch, 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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