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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Going on a Cruise This Summer? Don’t Bring Motion Sickness Home With You!

Elderly Woman in White Head Hurts

It’s normal for you to feel as if you’re still at sea once you return home from a cruise. You continue to feel as if the floor is moving and your body is swaying, rocking, and bobbing as you try to sleep or stand in the shower. For most people your sea legs tend to ware off within a day or so. But there are people that suffer from the continual sensation of this sea-like motion for weeks or even longer. This disorder is called mal de debarquement syndrome.

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

If you do find yourself not getting past the sea sickness, you should talk to your doctor. After taking all things into account they may refer you to an audiologist, an ear, nose and throat specialist, a neurologist, or a physical therapist that specializes in vestibular rehabilitation. Good for you, Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has lead Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to be experts in vestibular rehabilitation for over 20 years!

Physical Therapy Can Help

Managing mal de debarquement with physical therapy can help to improve balance and reduce dizziness-related symptoms. After a few months on a vestibular program most people feel better and are no longer suffering from the motion sickness sensation. But what if you want to go on a cruise again? Yes, the sea sickness will come back!

A doctor may prescribe medication such as an anti-anxiety drug for a short period of time. But the best course of action to fight mal de debarquement is physical therapy.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our physical therapists have perfected our vestibular rehabilitation program! Our personalized programs help to shake our patient’s sea legs off. Don’t let this rare disorder hold you back from making memories!

 

Call us 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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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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You Might Be Suffering from TMD and Not Even Know It!

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Do you know what TMD is? Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or also known as TMJ disorder, is a common problem that affects 12% of the population. But most people, and even medical professionals, don’t seem to acknowledge the condition. So how many people does it REALLY affect? Good thing that Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to understand TMJ because you might be suffering from it and not even know it!

Complaints of

  • headaches
  • earaches
  • ear ringing
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • neck pain
  • numbness and tingling of the hands and fingers

Signs of

  • bite might be off
  • teeth collapsing inward
  • suffer from constant jaw pain
  • teeth aches
  • tires quickly when talking

These symptoms are experienced by a lot of people but sadly their providers rarely realize their jaw is involved in their diagnosis.

There is a “TMJ merry-go-round” of an unending cycle of provider visits that leaves the patient even more confused than before seeking medical help. The sad reality is that physicians aren’t typically experienced in jaw problems, where medicine tends to consider it being a dentist’s domain; but dentists often lack the understanding of the joint because their work is focused more around teeth, not orthopedics. The good news is Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center is experienced and has treated TMJ pain problems for over 20 years!

Physical therapy can help our patients by relaxing their face and neck muscles with manual manipulation, teach everyday exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles, and teach behavior or diet modifications to keep pain away! At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists are the perfect provider to help you live pain free from TMD!  

Call us today to book an appointment! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 9268

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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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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Pain and stiffness in your shoulder? It may be frozen!

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When we say frozen, it’s not a reference to the cold weather but a possible diagnosis for your shoulder pain! Have you felt a decrease in the ability to use your arm or shoulder, leading to pain that limits your tolerance to lift your arm or reach behind your back? Other than a rotator cuff tear or severe arthritis, these symptoms yell out frozen shoulder (or the medical term is adhesive capsulitis)!

 

Frozen shoulder is the loss of ability to reach your arms overhead, reach behind your back, lift objects, throw a ball, as well as, other daily activities that you never thought use your shoulder and arms. What you’re experiencing is the strong connective tissue inside your shoulder joint, which connects your arm to the shoulder socket, becoming very tight. This tension doesn’t allow the ball of your shoulder to move in the socket freely. If you suffer from these symptoms, Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, want you to know there are three things you can do:

 

  1. Have a professional provide joint mobilizations to stretch the joint capsule so that the ball of the shoulder can move more readily.
  2. Have a professional stretch your arm and shoulder properly to stretch the supporting muscles in the arm, shoulder blades, and shoulders. These muscles typically become tense and shorten due to the lack of activity they experience from frozen shoulder.
  3. Have a professional show you the correct strengthening exercises to restore strength to the shoulder and its supporting muscles.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists are experienced in frozen shoulder. Our professional and caring staff will teach you how to relieve the pain you’re suffering from. We will develop a specialized program to get your shoulder warm and ready for your active life!

 

Call Walker Physical 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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Slip and Falls Happen Ever 11 Seconds- These 3 Tips Might Help!

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionistsees countless slip and fall injuries every year. They are more common than you’d expect!  ¼ of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. It is not just older populations that need to be careful- falls can happen to anyone.

“All too often, people take their footing for granted. It’s typical for someone to walk around at full speed without ever looking down at the ground. This may be fine when there are no obstacles and the ground is made of something that gives good traction, but it can result in tripping or slipping if there’s something unexpected in the way or the ground has become icy,” says Dr. Samantha Stuart, D.C. from Portland, Oregon.

We’re sure you don’t need too much convincing on the topic of how detrimental falls can be. Are you curious how you and your loved ones might be able to avoid becoming one of these statistics? Here are 3 tips to keep in mind.

  1. Slip and fall accidents often happen in icy, wet, oily or slick conditions. Sidewalks, which are normally safe, become slippery and dangerous. Painted crosswalks on the road become very slippery when they are damp. Even in better weather conditions, some dirt on the ground could have you flailing like a mad-man to keep your balance!
  2. Remember to look down while you are walking. Many accidents stem from tripping over objects, or slipping on wet surfaces. Practice quick intervention by quickly cleaning any water spilled in the home, or clearing your path of objects left by you or your children.
  3. If you are have fallen once or more, speak with your doctor. There may be a reason you have fallen that you are not aware of. The issue might even be correctable, such as balance or an unusual gait or walking pattern.

If you have fallen, or feel you are risk for falling, call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to start your personalized plan of care for vestibular rehabilitation with an expert physical therapist!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Hip Pain

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People with an active or athletic lifestyle know that minor muscle aches and pains are inevitable. Typically with rest, ice and a massage, our aches and pains normally resolve themselves. But what if the achy conditions don’t clear up right away? Hip pain is common among active individuals and it’s important to understand what your body is trying to tell you. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 5 things that most people aren’t aware of.

  1. Backs, hips, and knees have a tricky way to mimic each other when it comes to pain. You may feel as if the problem is your hip but it can actually be your back. Seeing a medical professional is the best way to figure out where the pain is really stemming from!
  2. Hip pain can feel more intense because of bursitis, tendonitis and arthritis. These problems are typically treated with non-operative measures such as medication, anti-inflammation injections, and physical therapy.
  3. One of the most common reasons for hip pain is osteoarthritis. Patients with arthritis often have a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle with arthritis also.
  4. Groin pain can sometimes be mistaken as a problem at the hip joint. Normally when a suspected groin muscle pull doesn’t seem to improve, it’s osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis pain typically ranges from time to time, so patients tend to have good and bad days.
  5. Hip arthritis treatment is improving! There is a new minimally invasive hip replacement procedure called the “anterior approach”. It is important to see an orthopedic specialist to talk about the best treatment options for your symptoms.

 

Seeing a medical professional is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. While hip pain can be limiting, its often easily treated once accurately diagnosed.

 

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

 

1111 W Town and Country Rd Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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Trying to Get Over a Cold? Know When to Fight It With Exercise!

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A strong immune system is the key to avoid getting sick and to get over a cold. Research has proven that regular exercise will help to build your immune system! By doing physical activity at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes about 3-4 times a week you will increase your body’s production of T-cells. These important cells are your body’s natural defense against infections and bacteria. By building your immune system, you will stay healthy more often and you can continue your exercise regime. But do you know when you’re too sick to work out? Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know how to determine if it’s okay or not to exercise.

She uses the “above the neck- below the neck rule”; if your signs and symptoms are above the neck (stuffy nose, sore throat, ear ache) – you are okay to exercise. If your signs and symptoms are below the neck (vomiting, diarrhea, fever/chills, coughing/chest congestion) – take the day off from exercise.

It’s also important to always keep a few things in mind! You should always avoid physical activity anytime your body temperature rises above 101°. You should also avoid the gym if you are within the first 1-3 days of your cold. Although exercise it’s important, it’s best to do yourself and others a favor and know when to stay home to avoid spreading your germs. If all else fails, there is always at home exercises that you can do to burn some calories!

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

 

1111 W Town and Country Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

www.walkerpt.com

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