Find the Root Cause of Your Neck Pain and How to Treat it

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

One in Five Americans Suffer From Arthritis

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know that one in five adults in the United States suffers from some form of arthritis, the most common type being osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage found between joints. This cartilage is used as a barrier between joints to prevent friction from bone to bone which can cause pain and improper joint function. Though any joint is at risk for osteoarthritis, it is most often seen in the hips, knees and spine.

The main causes of this disease are not limited to but include:

  • Family history
  • Old age
  • Obesity
  • Overuse
  • Injuries around the joint.

Symptoms (ranging from mild to severe):

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Pain or dull aches that progress over time
  • Pain in the morning and tapers off with activity
  • Pain that flares with vigorous activity

Treatment depends on each patient’s individual needs. Mild osteoarthritis may be treated with conservative methods like weight loss (for overweight patients only), low impact exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs, injections and physical therapy. If pain persists and quality of life is being affected, joint replacement surgery may be an option.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or have concerns about your joint health, it is important to consult a professional!

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 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 our program in detail.

4 Causes of Heel Pain

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

5 Ways to Avoid Your Pain Medication

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

Angelina Jolie Diagnosed with Rare Disorder

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist understands that life can be extremely stressful. Finding time to take care of yourself may be the last thing on your mind but we are here to tell you, this is no longer an option!

Vanity Fair recently released an interview with actress, Angelina Jolie, revealing her diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy last year. Bell’s Palsy is a type of temporary facial paralysis caused by damage to the facial nerve. This inhibits signals to and from the nerve causing drooping on either side of the face. Bell’s Palsy has been linked to high amounts of stress and people with high blood pressure, like Jolie, are vulnerable.

“Sometimes women in families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health.” Says Jolie.

Symptoms appear suddenly and reach their peak within 24 hours and may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Impaired speech
  • Droopiness of the eyes or mouth (compared to opposite side)
  • Excessive salivation
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Inability to eat or drink properly
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Don’t wait until it is too late to take care of your health! Here at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center we deal with more than just healing injuries but focus on fighting issues from the source. Educating people on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper body mechanics will maintain longevity and prevent injuries in the future! Prevention is the best form of medicine and understanding your pain and the proper way to manage it is the best favor you can do for yourself.

If you are interested in managing or preventing pain with the help of physical therapy, call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center at (714) 997-5518 to have an evaluation with one of our expert physical therapists!

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

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

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

6 Things You Need to Know About Joint Pain

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.

3 Sleeping Positions to Save Your Back

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist knows that getting a good night’s sleep can directly affect a person’s physical and mental health. Though, most people have their preferred position, its normal for people to move around in their sleep. Sleeping in any position for extended periods of time can cause back pain to worsen. Therefore, making adjustments in your sleep can help alleviate pressure. Body positioning is crucial to how we feel the next morning and people usually sleep in one or a combination of three positions; on your stomach, side, or back. Here are three variations to these positions that may help reduce stiffness and pain:

  1. “Back sleepers” may find that placing a pillow underneath your knees will relieve stress by correcting the hyperextension that may occur in your lower back and bringing your spine back to its natural curve.
  2. “Side sleepers” may find relief by putting a pillow (body pillows are great for this) between their knees and bringing their knees slightly towards their chest.
  3. Though “stomach sleepers” are in the most difficult position for sleep, due to the rotation of the neck and flattened spine, you can still find relief by positioning a pillow underneath your abdomen to bring your spine back to its normal positioning.

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

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have an effective program for our patients with back pain. We look at the “root cause” when treating back pain to provide insights as to why you are experiencing pain, instead of just a quick fix! We develop physical therapy programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun and healing environment. Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist! Visit our WordPress blog for more tips and information!

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

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

Reach Your Goals! 4 Steps to Avoid Injury

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist knows that exercise is great for your body and mind. Whether you play sports, go to the gym or cycle on the weekends, physical activities come with the risk of injury. However, this shouldn’t stop you from getting your exercise on! Whether you are starting a new sport or have been an athlete for years, injuries are preventable.

Returning to any activity after an injury or starting from scratch can be scary.  It’s important to build your confidence and knowledge to reach your goals!

Here are 4 ways you can avoid injury and gain the confidence you need:

  1. Pace yourself– Returning after an injury or starting a new workout routine or sport can be exciting, but professional athletes are not created overnight. Gradually building your intensity, duration and frequency over time ensures that you are getting the most out of your workout with less risk.
  2. Get heated – Warming up is a necessity. Five to ten minutes of cardio or dynamic stretching reduces your chance of injury and prepares your body for optimal performance.
  3. Talk to your doctor– Having an open discussion with your physician about your fitness level and abilities are important! This could help you better strategize your workouts and plan ahead.
  4. Ask for help– Whether you’re trying to gain that confidence back after an injury or starting fresh, a certified trainer or physical therapist can teach you proper form and techniques. These professionals will create a safe and fun learning environment that will help guide you through your goals!

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

The Truth About Cracking Your Knuckles

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist recently reviewed an article written by Michael Curtis on knuckle cracking. Whether the horror stories of early onset arthritis are true or just an old tale passed down from our elementary school teachers and parents.

To answer this question, no studies have shown that habitual knuckle crackers are any more prone to osteoarthritis than anyone else.

Lying between your knuckles and most of your moving joints is a lubricant called synovial fluid. This fluid, when put under a certain amount of pressure, creates vapor cavities that collapse and release gas. The collapse of these cavities is what creates the “cracking” sound. This occurrence is called cavitation. The gas released from this area doesn’t reabsorb for another 20-30 minutes, which is why joints won’t crack again right away. These sounds were shown in a 2015 study to have been more directly related to the formation of the cavity, rather than the collapse.

Though this study has found no harm to us habitual knuckle crackers, if you are experiencing any pain or instability with the cracking or popping of your joints it is crucial to further investigate your situationHere at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in injuries from head to toe including balance and jaw pain. For a consultation from one of our expert physical therapist, 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

Find Your Fight Against Alzheimer’s

You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walkerphysical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, 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