PTC Blog

It’s that time of year again! Spring is almost here which means baseball season is officially here!! When starting spring training, it’s important for the players to maintain proper shoulder mobility as repetitive overhead throwing can cause tightness of the shoulder and chest, typically resulting in loss of throwing velocity and overuse injuries. I’ve incorporated a combination of mobility and strengthening exercises below for the baseball player to reduce the likelihood of injury to the throwing arm over the course of a long season.

Range of Motion Exercises

Cross-Body Stretch
This stretch addresses the muscles in the back of the shoulder which are prone to tightness in overhead athletes. This stretch is performed lying on the involved side with hips and knees bent. The involved shoulder and elbow are positioned in 90 degrees of flexion. The hand of the uninvolved arm grasps the elbow of the involved arm and gently pulls it across the body. Once a mild stretch is felt on the outside or back of the shoulder, this position is held for approximately 30 seconds.

Thoracic Spine Windmill
This is a great dynamic mobility drill to restore thoracic spine rotation and improve the flexibility of the lats and pectoral muscles. Begin on your side with both arms outstretched in front of you. Place a foam roll under your top leg with the knee and hip bent to 90 degrees. The bottom knee and hip remain extended throughout the exercise. Reach forward with your top hand and then complete a large circular windmill motion as you rotate your entire upper body. Keep reaching as if you were attempting to lengthen your entire arm. Follow your hand with your eyes to ensure proper thoracic spine and rib cage movement. The top knee and leg should remain in contact with the foam roll throughout the exercise. Perform 10 reps on each side.


Strengthening Exercises

Side lying external rotation with dumbbell
Lie on uninvolved side with involved arm at side of body and elbow bent to 90. Keeping the elbow of involved arm fixed to side, raise arm with dumbbell in hand. Hold for 2 seconds and lower back to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 20 reps. Make sure to start light and work up to 3 pounds. It is more about proper form and range of motion rather than the amount of weight. Start at 2 sets of 20 reps and progress to 3 sets of 20 reps as able.


Lower trap strengthening on stability ball
Seated on SB, with both arms fixed at side and elbows bent to 90 degrees. thumbs facing upwards. Grasp tubing with both hands and rotate both shoulders outward, rotating thumbs until parallel with floor. Hold for 2 seconds then return to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.


Lie on stomach on stability ball, face down, with both arms hanging straight to floor and palms facing down. Raise both arms out to the side parallel to the floor, hold for 2 seconds then lower slowly back to starting position. Add weight as able, perform 2 sets of 15 reps.


Our team of experts at Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc can design a sport specific rehab program that incorporates a combination of strengthening and range of motion exercises for the overhead athlete. This program is created to help the athlete return to the field from injury, improve form, and work to avoid injuries in the future.

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

March 14th, 2018

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One of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays is Dr.Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Here’s a drink you can sip on during while watching the movie or celebrating Christmas with family and friends. 

Supplies needed to make Grinch Punch 

  • 2 .13oz packets Unsweetened Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid
  • 2 Cups Sugar or 3-4 tbsp of Truvia/Stevia for healthy substitution.
  • 1 12oz Can Pineapple Juice
  • 1 12oz Frozen Lemonade Concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 liter of Sprite
  • Ice
  • Red Sanding Sugar for Glass Trim



  1. Pour 2 quarts of water in a 1 gallon pitcher.
  2. Add the Kool-aid mix and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the pineapple juice and lemonade and stir well.
  4. To top the rim of a glass, dip the top in water then dip into the sanding sugar.
  5. Just before serving, add the Sprite and ice.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!

Please comment below and let us know your favorite Christmas drink or treat.

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA


December 6th, 2017

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The holidays are in full swing! It’s a perfect time to reconfigure those school lunches! As a Coborn’s Dietitian, I work with families daily to find simple tricks for making meal times easier, including lunches. I’ve taken some of my favorite tips as well as some of my favorite lunch ideas and have them right here in this post to share with you! The best part is that these school lunch ideas are also great for you, as the adult, to bring to work. Here are my 5 best tips for packing healthier lunches:

1.) Sandwiches are fine, but not always the most fun…
In my lunch box every day growing up, I had the same thing…Every. Single. Day. It got old after a while! (Although I greatly appreciate the effort of my parents to make me a lunch!) I’m sure you hear your kids asking for something different, too! Sandwiches are always the stereotypical meal for bagged lunches. Instead of a simple sandwich on slices of bread, try out some whole wheat tortilla shells, wraps, English muffins, or even whole grain crackers. The most important thing is that we are getting in some whole grains. Why whole grains? Whole grains are more nutritious than refined grains (such as white breads) for a few reasons. Number 1- the fiber. Fiber is a nutrient that needs more attention! Fiber is good for our digestive system, but it’s also has shown benefits for preventing heart disease and improving blood glucose control.
Whether you’re looking at breads, pastas, tortillas, or cereals, here’s a tip to knowing if an item is in fact, 100% whole grain:
The first ingredient must be whole wheat flour (or whole oat, whole brown rice, whole corn, etc.). The only exception is if water comes before that). Just remember, that even if the bread is brown and there are seeds and nuts, it’s not necessarily whole grain. Flip over the package and look at the ingredients list!

2.) Watch for the added sugars. Added sugars sneak into so many foods!
Those easy to grab fruit cups or dried fruit can be easy to toss in the lunches. But they are also the biggest contributors to added sugar. To get little to no added sugar, choose canned fruit or fruit cups in 100% juice. Those that sit in light syrup or heavy syrup are just sitting in sugar water. For dried fruit, look at the ingredient list. Raisins are typically pretty good, and the only ingredient is raisins. However, it’s those crasins and other dried fruit that have added sugar in the ingredient list.

3.) Go beyond deli meat to for good sources of protein.
Mix up your lunchboxes to provide a variety of protein sources. Other sources of protein are beans, peanut butter, hummus, and even dairy products such as milk and yogurt. Maybe you can do a tex-mex lunch box and include beans or lean ground beef. Try adding hummus as the spread on veggie wraps instead of mayo. Even doing a greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and whole grain granola adds protein to the meal. One of my all-time favorites to get in some protein is with peanut butter! I love a simple whole wheat tortilla with a spread of peanut butter and sliced bananas. Sometimes I even add a few dark chocolate chips! Whichever way you add in protein, just be sure you and your kiddos are getting in good variety! Tip- when choosing deli meats, choose lower sodium options and watch the portion size. A portion of deli meat is 2 oz. Check out our Kitchen at the Coborn’s in Isanti for Kretschmar Master’s Cut Deli Meats. These are approved by the American Heart Association and can be a more nutritious choice than other pre-packaged meats.

4.) Fill Up on the Fruits and Veggies
We always are recommending that we fill half our plates with fruits and vegetables- do the same with the lunch boxes! All forms matter when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Fresh may be the most convenient when it vegetables, but for fruits, remember canned (in 100% juice), fresh, or dried (with no added sugar) can all be good options! The simplest way to add veggies to meals is by adding in lettuce and tomatoes, or even some avocados (which are actually, fruits) to a sandwich. Often, kids don’t like to eat veggies by themselves. All in all, once you’ve packed a lunch, see if ½ your meal is fruits and vegetables.

5.) Oh, Good Ole Juice Boxes….
I sit in a hard position when it comes to juices. As a dietitian, yes, they can be a serving of fruit if it is 100% juice. However, it is only recommended for kids to have 4oz of juice per day. I don’t know about you, but I can’t ever find a 4oz juice box! Too much juice, even if it’s 100% juice, adds up to lots of sugar and unfortunately the kids are filling up on liquids rather than whole fruits and vegetables. If you’re finding that there is too much juice in your kid’s diet, be sure your child has water or low-fat milk at lunch. Juice consumption might be more easily managed at home. I always recommend that kids have water with them throughout the day to stay hydrated. If their school allows a water bottle, even a fun, new water bottle might be able to help encourage more water throughout the day.

Now that you’ve read through my rant on my 5 best tips for lunches, I have provided a PDF below of some great ideas for lunches that that balanced in nutrition and fun for the kids! This is easy to print and is a great resource to hand on the fridge or even on the inside of a cupboard.
Be sure to check out our Dietitian’s Corner, which holds numerous nutrition resources, fun recipes, and more! You can even request an appointment with one of our dietitians! You can click on the link below to find examples of healthy lunch ideas and how to build a better lunch box. Build A Better Lunch Box

Happy & Healthy Eating,

Amy Peick, RD, LD
Coborn’s Marketplace
Supermarket Registered Dietitian



November 29th, 2017

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Foam Rolling is a great way to help decrease pain and tightness in muscles and fascia following a workout. Here are the top 5 foam rolling exercises

  1. Thoracic Mobility exercises. Place foam roller lengthwise down the spine from the base of your skull down to your tailbone. Place feet flat on the floor to help keep your balance. Swimmers, angels, and woodchoppers are good exercises to improve mid back mobility.
  2. TFL/IT band. Laying on your side with the foam roller beneath you. Move your body from your hip to your knee to decrease tightness in IT Band and lateral thigh. 
  3. Glutes/Piriformis. Sit on the piriformis and using your body weight and arm roll over your buttock area to help relieve tension.
  4. Serratus punch. Place foam roller length wise from base of your skull to tailbone along the spine. Bring both arms straight up toward the ceiling. Keeping elbows straight, punch straight up toward the ceiling to target the serratus anterior.
  5. Pec Stretch. Place foam roller length wise from base of your skull to tailbone along the spine. Bring both arms straight out to the side so they are at about 90°. Let your body relax and should feel a stretch through your pecs and anterior chest wall.  Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeated 2-4 times.

Happy Foam Rolling!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT

November 22nd, 2017

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Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and of course, food. If you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle during this time of year, we have a few holiday survival strategies to keep you on track with your health goals. Here are some useful tips and ideas to help you enjoy a full Thanksgiving that’s trim–but not missing any of the fun.

  1. Skip seconds. When family favorites only appear on the table once a year, it’s hard to resist them. Take your time, slow down and savor your fist helping. Let your food settle and save your appetite for pie.
  2. Taste everything. Thanksgiving feasts are just that, a chance to try a variety of foods. If you take just a couple of bites rather than a full scoop, you’ll still get to experience all the foods you love.
  3. Treat dessert as a snack. YUM, PIES! They’re such an integral part of most Thanksgiving celebrations. What if, instead of eating pie immediately
    after dinner, we wait until it was snack time?
  4. Eat slowly. Enjoy each bite and flavor. Studies have shown that slowly chewing food more before swallowing reduced food consumption.
  5. Drink water. Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help your stomach feel full and acts as a natural appetite suppressant.


Thanksgiving should be a day to celebrate. Remember that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, be grateful, and enjoy the company of loved ones. You don’t have to go overboard to celebrate this special holiday. By using just a few of the tips above, you’ll be able to take part in the tradition without feeling guilty.

Wishing everyone a great and safe Thanksgiving!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA

November 14th, 2017

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One of my favorite holidays of the year is quickly approaching – Thanksgiving! My all time BEST recipes is Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries & Dry Roasted Hazelnuts! It’s definitely a mouthful to say, but trust me, once you try it; you’ll be stuffing your mouth FULL of it!!


  • 3 cups water
  • 2 chicken or veggie bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup wild rice mix
  • 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts dry roasted
  • 1.4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry rubbed sage


Bring water and bouillon cubes to a boil in a large pot.

Stir in rice and 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage.

Cover and reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes (being sure to check the water level around 30 minutes)

While you are waiting, cut the hazelnuts in half and throw them in a skillet over medium heat. Dry roast them for 30-60 seconds until they are lightly browned. Be sure to remove from heat in a timely manner, they can burn very quickly.

After 30-40 minutes, there should be just a small amount of water left in the pain. Add the cranberries and roasted hazelnuts. Cook uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until all of the water is gone.

Stir in the other 1/2 teaspoon dry rubbed sage, and serve!

*This will make 6 servings, adjust ingredient count as needed* 

There is my personal go-to Thanksgiving side dish. I would love for you to share yours in the comments below! 

Happy cooking! 

Alyssa Hart

Clinic Coordinator

November 8th, 2017

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High school wrestling in Minnesota begins November 20.  At the beginning of each season weight certifications are performed with each wrestler.  The purpose of weight certifications is to establish the minimum weight that an athlete may safely participate at during the course of the season.  Determining in advance the safe minimum weight for a wrestler helps decrease unsafe practices for athletes attempting excessive weight reduction through food deprivation and/or dehydration.  The hazards of excessive weight reduction include, but are not limited to, reduced regulation of body temperature, kidney failure, and acute and/or chronic fatigue.

The wrestling weight permit form is complete annually between the first day of practice and Dec. 10th.

The procedure to complete the form includes:

  • skin fold measurements completed by a skinfold technician and the form is signed by the technician
  • the athlete’s weight is obtained by using a certified scale
  • the athlete’s weight and skin fold measurements are included in a formula to determine an athlete’s minimum allowed wrestling weight (7% body fat for males, 12% body fat for females)
  • the form is signed by a physician permitting the wrestler to participate at the calculated weight
  • the athlete’s parent signs the form permitting the wrestler to participate at the calculated weight

For more information on wrestling weight certifications including the weight certification form and the list of skinfold technicians please visit:
MSHSL Wrestling

October 31st, 2017

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Halloween is right around the corner! As a mom of 3 kids, this time of year can be so much fun! The kids love to dress up in their costumes, decorate the house with spooky crafts, and of course, carve their pumpkins (which let’s be honest, if your kids are as young as mine, it means I’m carving pumpkins!). In all seriousness, this time of year can be a blast! But with all the fun and ghostly decor, comes the endless amounts of candy!!!! Every where you turn there is candy. Kids are getting candy from school, from daycare, from grandparents, the local pumpkin patch… you name it, they are getting their hands on CANDY!!!

With all the candy handouts comes going through each piece, making sure everything is safe…if your kid has a peanut allergy, good luck! Candy for days!!! It’s incredible how much candy these little kiddies bring home.


So what do you say we come together during Halloween and pass out an alternative to all the candy! Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors… let’s pull together to give our kids something different this year which will be just as exciting as candy but much healthier! Here are some great healthy snack alternatives to hand out at the local trunk or treat event or to the batman, mermaid and dragon knocking on your door!

  • Individual bags of popcorn or pretzels
  • Organic fruit bites
  • Fruit cups (no sugar added)
  • Granola bars
  • Fig newtons
  • Go squeeze applesauce
  • Raisins
  • Mini water bottles

Trying to stay away from food altogether?! Great! Here are a few non-food options:

  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Bubbles
  • Glow Sticks
  • Stickers
  • Washable Tattoos

All great alternatives but let’s get real… we KNOW our kids will still be bringing home bags full of candy. So what do we do with it all?? Have you ever considered donating the excess candy you get after Halloween?? This is a great and rewarding experience… not only do you get all that candy out of your house but your kids feel pride in knowing they are giving back! Here are a few places you can donate to:

You can also check with the local dentists in the area!

Many great options to make this Halloween even better than the last! But we want to hear from you!! What other healthy snack options do you pass out during Halloween or what items do you like to give to the kids?!

Jackie Giese, Community Outreach Coordinator

October 25th, 2017

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Dry Needling. Functional Dry Needling. Trigger Point Dry Needling. Trigger Point Therapy. It goes by many names, but the one thing it isn’t is Acupuncture. Acupuncture and Dry needling use similar tools, small, thin, solid needles, but that’s where the similarities end!

How does it work?

Dry Needling  is used to help decrease tightness in sore muscles, by inserting a needle into the trigger point or muscle “knot”. Trigger points are sensitive spots in the muscle, that can cause pain. Trigger points can decrease the blood flow and oxygen to the muscle tissue, which is what causes pain. It can also reset the neuromuscular system to help you return to the activities you enjoy without difficulty.

What happens during a Dry Needling session?

Physical therapists go to specialized training courses to become certified in Dry needling techniques. The PT will feel the muscle for the trigger points, or tight bands of muscle. Then the small needle will be inserted into the tissue. The therapist may move the needle up and down or use an electrical stimulation to get a “twitch response”. A twitch response is a controlled muscle spasm or contraction, which helps the muscle relax. The therapist may needle a few different muscles or groups in a session. The “needling” usually lasts 10-20 minutes, and then the remainder of the session is spent completing stretching and strengthening exercises to reinforce the changes made during the dry needling.

What happens after a session?

It is normal to be a little sore after a needling session. Soreness can last 24-48 hours following treatment. Some people feel relief immediately following treatment, some are sore for a day or two and then get relief, and for others it can take up to 3 sessions to feel relief. All are completely normal responses! Minor bruising may also occur. It’s important to drink plenty of water, stay active, and apply ice to decrease post-treatment soreness.

Interested in scheduling a dry needling session or finding out more information? Physical Therapy Consultants currently has 5 providers certified in Dry Needling. Call 1-888-THERAPY or visit us at to request more information or schedule an appointment.

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT

Physical Therapy Consultants-Isanti

October 18th, 2017

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October is National Physical Therapy Month and this year we would like to focus on a very important and much discussed topic on how Physical Therapy can reduce the use of opioids.

No one wants to live with pain but no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain free. Since 1999, Americans have increasingly been prescribed pain opioids which are painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin,Opana, methodone, and combination drugs like Percocet.

In some situations, dosed appropriately, prescription opioids are an appropriate part of medical treatment. However, opioid risks include depression, overdose, addiction plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled in the United States the past 3 years. Nearly 2 million Americans, aged 12 or older, either abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014.

The CDC is urging health care providers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safe alternatives like Physical Therapy. Don’t just mask the pain. Treat it.

Do you know someone in pain? Encourage them to talk to their physician or physical therapist about safe ways to manage pain.

Patients should choose Physical Therapy when….

1. The risk of opioid use outweigh the rewards.

-Potential side effects of opioids include depression, overdose and addition plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

2. Patients want to do more than mask the pain.

-Opioids reduce the sensation of pain by interrupting pain signals to the brain.

3. Opioids are prescribed for pain.

-Physical Therapists treat pain through movement while partnering with patients to improve function and quality of life.

Physical Therapy for pain management involves a variety of different techniques including:

-Movement and exercise

-Mobilization of joints

-Manual therapy/Trigger Point Dry Needling

-TENS unit/ultrasound therapy

-Hot/cold therapy

Our Physical Therapists will not only assist in improving daily movement but will also help you understand where the pain is coming from and why.  We can play a valuable role in the patient education process, including setting realistic expectations and goals. Before you agree to a prescription for opioids, consult with a PT to discuss options for an alternative treatment. Please give one of our 7 clinics a call and we would be happy to answer any of your questions.

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA





October 12th, 2017

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