6 Causes of Sciatica and Why you Dont Need Surgery

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist want to inform you that patients that suffer with sciatica don’t always have to turn to surgery. Sciatica us a common issue that is caused by the irritation from the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Pain from sciatica is usually felt from the lower back to behind the thigh and radiates below the knee. This pain can make walking, sitting or standing up an issue.

6 causes of sciatica include:

  1. Trauma– car accidents, falls and sports injuries.
  2. Piriformis syndrome– When the piriformis muscle is tight, injured or stressed, it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms of sciatica.
  3. Spinal tumors– Tumors, though they are not as common, can compress nerves causing pain in the hip, thigh and groin.
  4. Herniated disk– Disks that are located in between the vertebrae of our spine can become displaced and bulge inward or outward pressing on part of the sciatic nerve. This is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
  5. Lumbar spinal stenosis– Narrowing of the passageways that major nerves pass through in the spine will irritate and compress the nerves.
  6. Spondylolisthesis– When the vertebrae slip out of alignment with the rest of the spine due to disease, previous injuries or surgeries, or excessive physical stress, symptoms of sciatica may occur.

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.”

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 Reasons to Try Physical Therapy Before an Injury

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist wants you to consider visiting a professional physical therapist even though you may not be injured! Here are 5 benefits on visiting a physical therapist before you feel pain.

  1. Reassurance– Physical therapists can give you the green light you needed in order to feel completely comfortable working out again. If you’ve had a previous injury that’s been healed but still have that slight doubt, a licensed therapist can check that area and ensure that it has returned to normal function. Fear and hesitation in the gym or out on the field can lead to injuries.
  2. Prevention– Prevention, is the best cure for any injury or illness. A full evaluation by a physical therapist can evaluate where you may be prone to injuries and how to avoid those injuries by evaluating strength, proper muscle function, flexibility, range of motion (ROM) and much more.
  3. Education– Therapy is much more than what you do in the clinic but also what you walk away with. Physical Therapy can give you a better understanding of your specific body’s needs and how to better it. You will learn new exercises as well as proper form and aftercare to enhance your own personal wellness.
  4. Saving time and money– Healthcare is not cheap. With prevention and education you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary cost you would usually spend at the doctor. Therapists can also determine whether pain is from a joint or muscle with confidence allowing patients to possibly avoid the high costs of an MRI, x-ray or CT scan in non-emergency situations.
  5. Empowerment– Knowing more about how your body functions can be an amazing feeling. Physical therapy tends to lead patients to a healthier and happier life!

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we have expert 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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Chronic Pain, The Invincible Illness

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 Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, refers to chronic pain as the “invincible illness”. Chronic pain can persist for weeks, months, or even years and affects over 100 million people in the U.S. Of those suffering from chronic pain, sixty percent are between the ages of 18 and 64. Sometimes the effects of chronic pain is obvious when canes, wheelchairs, crutches or walkers have to be used for mobility. Other times the pain is less obvious and kept quiet to avoid being labeled as “rude” or a “nag”.

Causes of chronic pain:

  • Sprained back
  • Serious infection
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Past injury or evidence of body damage

 Common chronic pain complaints include:

  • Headaches– 45 million people suffer from headaches every year
  • Low back pain– 65 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and sciatica are the leading cause for back pain.
  • Cancer pain- 11 million people each year suffer chronic pain because of cancer
  • Arthritis pain– affects more than 40 million Americans each year
  • Sciatic or other radiating pain into the legs or arms

The most common mistake people make is assuming they “just have to live with it.” Pain is not a lifestyle. They may not know physical therapy treatments are available to lessen most types of pain.

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. If you or someone you know is living in constant pain 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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Why Squatting is More Important Than You Think

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that health experts agree, people in the United States spend too much of their time sitting or lying down. This sedentary lifestyle has been proven to be a contributing factor in heart disease and decreased range of motion in our joints. Since this problem has been seen as a health epidemic, little adjustments to reduce the amount of time sitting, like standing desks, have become popular in many offices. Though this may help, some experts say that negative health effects can occur when you’re in one position for extended amounts of time, sitting or standing. To counteract this problem it is said that we try to incorporate squatting into our everyday lifestyle as well.

Squatting isn’t just something you do at the gym but a movement you can use day to day while resting, waiting in line, etc. Squatting is a motion that, as the world has evolved and urbanized, our bodies lose the mobility to do. If you have kids or ever seen a young child run around, you would notice that when kids want to rest or pick something up off the floor they go into a full deep squat. This squatting position has children comfortably resting in a squat with both heels in contact with the floor. If this sounds easy, go ahead and try to sit down in a full squat with both heels on the floor and stay in that position for a few minutes, it will hardly feel like a comfortable resting position. Unless, you have maintained amazing flexibility and range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, this will probably be very difficult for you to do. Squatting is a fundamental movement that almost every person is born to do with ease but, due to the lack of practicing this movement on a daily basis, we lose it.

Squatting regularly and with the correct form can increase your mobility and strength in your lower body as well as improve your health and quality of life as you get older. The key to health is movement which means though squatting is important, it is even more important to avoid staying in one position for long periods of time.

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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Do’s and Don’ts for Achilles Tendinitis

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Dr. Grace Walker. physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, says ” The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the heel bone, and is the largest tendon in the body. It’s an incredibly strong tendon, though it’s not without its weaknesses. Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon that is generally caused by overuse and subsequent stress. Although this type of injury isn’t necessarily linked to a specific injury, it may arise out of a sudden change in exercise habits, or from not stretching your calf muscles properly. Occasionally bone spurs can also cause Achilles tendinitis. At Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center, we are experts at treating foot and ankle pains. We commonly see patients with Achilles tendinitis and have come up with a list of do’s and don’ts.

Walker’s Do’s and Don’ts for Achilles Tendinitis:

  • DO wear cushioned shoes with a good base of support.achilles tendinitis
  • DO use an icepack 30 minutes before bed.
  • DO follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • DON’T wear flip flops, sandals, or shoes with little support.
  • DON’T walk on uneven surfaces.

Call for an appointment now at 714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

 

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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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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 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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3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Hip Fractures

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Dr. Grace Walker, nutritionist, physical and occupational therapist, is aware that at the age of 40, everybody begins to slowly lose bone mass. Women between the ages of 60 to 90 are most likely to experience a hip fracture due to the loss of bone density that occurs after menopause. You may be able to slow down this process by simply building as much bone mass as you can before this occurs, which will leave you with more “in stock”.

Ways to increase bone density and reduce the risk of hip fractures include:

  • Weight bearing exercises
    • Running
    • walking
    • Resistance training
  • Classes that improve balance and strength
    • Yoga
    • Tai chi
    • Pilates
  • Proper nutrition

Factors for losing bone density and increasing the risk of hip fractures is:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol (multiple drinks a day)
  • Having low body weight

It is important to pay close attention to your bone health if you identify with any factors that increase the risk of hip fractures. It is recommended that women at the age of 65 and men the age of 70 monitor their bone health with a bone density scan. Fractures usually happen with everyday accidents like tripping around the house. Patients with repaired fractures can begin weight-bearing exercises right away with physical therapy to return to their daily activities as soon as possible.

If you have fallen, or feel you are risk for falling, call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to start your personalized plan of care with an expert physical therapist! We provide personalized therapy programs for each patient. Our trained therapists have will assess your injuries, old and new, and goals to design a physical therapy program to help you overcome injuries.

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

714-997-5518

Orange, CA 92868

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4 Reasons Why You Have Heel Pain

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, knows that pain in your heels can put your life at a standstill. If you find yourself on your feet for long periods of time or do repetitive activities without the proper shoes, you may have experienced strain on the ligaments of the foot. Early treatment is important to ensure relief or pain may become chronic. There are many underlying reasons to heel pain, but there are four major causes: Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, nerve pain and plantar fasciitis.

  1. Achilles tendinitis– The inflammation of the Achilles tendon mostly occurs in athletic patients participating in high-impact sports. Quick repetitive motions can lead to micro injuries of thetendon that cause heel pain.
  2.  Bursitis– The bursa, a fluid-filled sac located in the heel, can become inflamed from repetitive motions or irritated from improper footwear.
  3. Nerve pain– Described as a burning or electrical pain, nerve pain, is a less common cause of heel pain. Though, there are medications that may help with the pain, most need a decompressive surgery to relieve the nerve.
  4. Plantar fasciitis– Inflammation of the band of tissue that reaches from the heel to the toes, called the plantar fascia, is the most common cause of heel pain. This is usually due to mechanical issues going on inside of the foot.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we make sure to incorporate a variety of methods to ensure that your pain is covered from all areas. Our Flex N Move program improves flexibility and strength while our soft tissue and joint mobilization works out spasms, tightness and pain. We implement manual therapy to reduce inflammation and use Kinesio Tape to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing stability and support to muscles. Finally, we make sure our patients’ healing is sustained through a home exercise program.

Success Story: “I was treated for plantar fasciitis. After a cortisone shot failed to help I decided to give physical therapy a try. When I first came in my foot was very painful and after four weeks of therapy (two visits a week), my foot was healed completely. I leave here painless. Thank you Walker Physical Therapy!”     – Beverly H

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert physical therapist!

714-997-5518

1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, CA 92868

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