PTC Blog

It is understandable the benefits of Physical Therapy after a surgery including restoring range of motion, improved strengthening and function.  But are there benefits to Physical Therapy prior to surgery? YES!  It is called Prehab!

Prehab is a preoperative program is designed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy and created specifically for the individual. Current strength, range of motion and functional abilities are assessed and a comprehensive training program is created that will help improve postoperative functional outcomes. It is recommended that Prehab starts about 6-8 weeks prior to your surgery.

Here are a few of the possible benefits:

  • Shorten hospital stays
  • Improve healing times
  • Regain strength and motion faster
  • Improve ability to perform functional activities such as climbing stairs, walking, getting in and out of bed, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with walking aids such as canes, crutches or walker if necessary
  • Mentally prepare patients for surgery and receive education on postoperative care and rehab

Contact one of our offices or get a referral if needed from your doctor and start your journey to recovery!

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

November 28th, 2018

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Do you deal with incontinence on a daily basis? Urinary incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. Stress incontinence happens when physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — puts pressure (stress) on your bladder. Stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress.

Stress incontinence differs from urge incontinence, which is the unintentional loss of urine caused by the bladder muscle contracting, usually associated with a sense of urgency. Stress incontinence is much more common in women than men.

If you have stress incontinence, you may feel embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life, especially exercise and leisure activities. With treatment, you’ll likely be able to manage stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being.

If you have stress incontinence, you may experience urine leakage when you:

  • Cough
  • Sneeze
  • Laugh
  • Stand up
  • Get out of a car
  • Lift something heavy
  • Exercise
  • Have sexual intercourse

You may not experience incontinence every time you do one of these things, but any pressure-increasing activity can make you more vulnerable to unintentional urine loss, particularly when your bladder is full.

Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles and other tissues that support the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) and the muscles that regulate the release of urine (urinary sphincter) weaken.  The bladder expands as it fills with urine. Normally, valve-like muscles in the urethra — the short tube that carries urine out of your body — stay closed as the bladder expands, preventing urine leakage until you reach a bathroom. But when those muscles weaken, anything that exerts force on the abdominal and pelvic muscles — sneezing, bending over, lifting, laughing hard, for instance — can put pressure on your bladder and cause urine leakage.

Some methods of treating female incontinence through physical therapy include:

  • Pelvic floor exercises, sometimes called Kegel exercises, which tighten and tone the pelvic floor muscles that have become weak over time. Learning to use these muscles during activities that cause your leakage is key to success.
  • Bladder training, with the help of your therapist, will teach you to extend the time between voiding, develop a schedule to use the bathroom, and manage overwhelming urges to urinate.
  • Biofeedback involves becoming attuned to your body’s functions in order to gain control over your muscles and suppress urges.

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

November 21st, 2018

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Calling all women!! It is time to have an open and honest conversation. So who is ready to open up the dialogue and start talking about life after pregnancy?

Having a baby is one of the many blessings we, as women, get to experience. But, that does not come without sacrifice and change. The change we are going to talk about today is embarrassing, and something many women go through privately.

But what if… just what if we stop hiding behind closed doors and bring to the forefront the mere fact that many of us pee our pants.

Yep, I said it. WE PEE OUR PANTS!

Now of course this bladder debacle is not purposeful. We don’t intentionally pee ourselves. It is actually a condition called Stress Incontinence and it is very common with women, especially postpartum women. BUT we have to know that just because this is common, does not mean it is normal. In fact, many of us joke about that fact that we laugh, cough or sneeze and end up peeing but let’s be honest, that joke is merely a tool used to hide embarrassment and convince ourselves that this is how we have to live the rest of our lives.

What if you had an opportunity to STOP accidentally peeing your pants when you exercise, laugh, cough and sneeze? Would you take it?

Before we talk about how we can improve our quality of life by treating Stress Incontinence, we first have to understand Stress Incontinence. Stress Incontinence occurs when we place “stress” on our bladder from physical activity or movement. It occurs when the muscles that surround or support your bladder become weak. Weakness of the bladder’s support system or “pelvic floor muscles” can occur for a variety of reasons one of which is childbirth.

We already have enough going on with a new baby that thinking of ourselves is one of the last things on the agenda. And many us will talk with our friends who experience the same obnoxious leakage that we do, so we settle in knowing that because others experience similar issues that we do we just have to deal with the fact that we now pee our pants.

Let’s stop settling for the abnormal and start advocating for a better quality of life. What would It mean to you to be able to jump on a trampoline with your kids, or cough without crossing your legs?

If you said that it would be the difference in you doing what you WANT to do versus settling for sitting on the sidelines then you should seek the expert advice of a physical therapist.


A Physical Therapist that has specialized training in pelvic pain and incontinence can help YOU have dry pants in as few at 4-5 visits, especially if your kids are still kids!

YEP! I said relief in as few as 4-5 visits!! Sign me up!

Let’s stop taking something that is common and allowing it to become “normal” when we have resources to solve the problem and live a better life.

Reach out to Dr. Lindsey Johnson, Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor Specialist at St. Francis Physical Therapy for more questions or a private free phone consultation. Call (763) 753-8804 or click the Consultation tab at the top of our website

Jackie Giese, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Community Outreach Coordinator
Physical Therapy Consultants

November 14th, 2018

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Over 700,000 knee replacements are performed each year. That number is expected to increase to 3.48 million by 2030. That’s a lot of artificial knees! The most common cause leading to a knee replacement is arthritis. Arthritis is degeneration of the cartilage in the joints, leading to increased friction and pain. Physical Therapy is important part of the recovery process both BEFORE and AFTER surgery.

You might say: Well if my knee already hurts why would I want to go to Physical Therapy before surgery. Can’t I just wait until after?!? Not quite. PT is more than just giving you exercises and making you sore. We have a variety of techniques that can be used to help decrease pain including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ice, balance, and strengthening exercises. Prior to surgery it’s important to improve range of motion and strength in all of the muscles and joints surrounding the knee. The better the ROM and strength going into surgery, the better it will be post surgery.  That is why it’s so important to keep up with exercises prior to surgery. Sometimes patients
are even able to postpone their surgery because they feel so great with Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy following a total knee replacement in the outpatient setting usually begins a few days to a week following surgery. In the first few days following surgery the main focus is on pain relief and regaining motion. This will allow you to return to day to day activities and eventually to all of the other activities you love! It is important to improve range of motion and most importantly quadriceps function. The quadriceps are the group of large muscles on front of your thigh. They are important in standing, sitting, walking, and changing positions. As you are able to progress we will advance to more challenging exercises. Patients are usually in Physical Therapy 8-12 weeks following surgery, but each patient is different. Luckily we create individualized treatment plans for each patient.

Physical Therapy following a total knee isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to get you back to doing the activities you love!

Do you experience knee pain and/or have questions about Physical Therapy before and after a knee replacement?
Give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

November 7th, 2018

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Ergonomics is the study of peoples’ efficiency in their working environment. If you work primarily in an office setting and spend much of your time working in front of a computer it is important to take a look at our work station setup. Looking at your chair, monitor, keyboard/mouse, and desktop are all important to decrease your risk of aches and pains and to prevent injury.

In an earlier blog we took a look at tips to improve ergonomics of your office chair set up (click here).  Now let’s look at the rest of your office work station.


  1. Monitor height should be adjustable to allow eyes to be level with the top line of text. (Bifocal users require a slightly lower monitor)
  2. Monitor(s) should be directly centered in front of user
  3. Screen distance within arms reach, but will depend on vision/font size/task being performed
  4. Text font size should be large enough so that employee can easily read text without eye/neck strain
  5. Use of document holder is recommended


  1. Should be directly in front of user
  2. At a height that allows elbows to be at 90 degrees and shoulders resting naturally
  3. Wrists should be in a neutral position with forearms and wrists not resting on edges of table


  1. Should be at the same height as the keyboard
  2. Wrists should remain in a neutral position
  3. Ergo mouse may promote neutral wrist and forearm positions


  1. Utilize desktop computer instead of laptop when possible
  2. Person specific workstation vs. community station
  3. Stand-up desks are beneficial to decrease static positions


Dustin Eslinger, MA, LAT, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

October 31st, 2018

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I had the privilege of getting a great massage the other week to help loosen up my neck and I can tell you I would benefit from a few more!! Who doesn’t love a good massage?!

There are many different types of massage. Here are a few of the most popular and how to pick what would be the most beneficial for you!

1) Swedish Massage – for relaxation.
2) Hot Stone Massage – deeper than Swedish because of the added heat.
3) Deep Tissue Massage – good for chronic pain or significant muscle tension. Be careful if you are sensitive to pressure.
4) Sports Massage – good for repetitive muscle use, improve flexibility.
5) Trigger Point Massage – good for chronic pain.
6) Shiatsu Massage – for relaxation and muscle tension.
7) Thai Massage -more active massage involving stretching.
8) Reflexology – pressure points in the feet, hands and ears.
9) Prenatal Massage – for moms to be focusing on decreasing discomfort.

The American Massage Therapy Association compiled a list of the 25 reasons to get a massage!

Physical Therapy Consultants have some amazing massage therapists waiting to help you.  Learn more HERE.

Schedule your massage today!

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

October 24th, 2018

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In 2008, Minnesota changed their law regarding direct patient access to physical therapy. Direct access is having the ability to receive care from a physical therapist without a referral. A patient is able to receive care for up to 90 days without a referral. A referral can come from a physician, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist and/or an advanced practice nurse. Some of the benefits of direct access include avoiding unnecessary delays in care and saving the patients money.

Anyone can legally go to physical therapy for care, whether or not your insurance covers the cost is different. If your insurance requires a doctors order, then you will need to have one for insurance to cover it. If you want to pay out of pocket, you do not require a doctors order.

For information about the services we offer, visit Last but certainly not least, give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY if you have questions! We can help you determine if direct access is available to you under your insurance plan!

October 17th, 2018

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Ergonomics is the study of peoples’ efficiency in their working environment.  If you work primarily in an office setting and spend much of your time working in front of a computer it is important to take a look at our work station setup.  Looking at your chair, monitor, keyboard/mouse, and desktop are all important to decrease your risk of aches and pains and to prevent injury.

Here are several items to consider in regards to your office chair:

  • Seat height should allow for your feet to rest on the floor with your knees bent 90-110 degrees.
  • The center point of the hip should be at or slightly higher than the knees when sitting.
  • Your office chair should have lumbar support to promote lumbar (low back) curvature.
  • Your office chair should have adjustable or removable armrests so that your shoulders can hang freely and your elbows are at 90 degrees.
  • Your office chair should pivot to allow you to square up to work and not twist to reach work.
  • Seat depth should allow for 2-4 inches of clearance to the back of the knees.
  • Their should be no obstructions under your desk.
  • Keep in mind that most office chairs accommodate 95% of the population (5’ to 6’2” height and up to 300 or 340 lbs).  If you are outside of this group you may need special considerations.
  • Consider the use of a stand-up desk to decrease the amount of time sitting and encourage more frequent changing of body position.

Dustin Eslinger, MA, LAT, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

October 10th, 2018

Posted In: General

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According to the CDC over 1/3 of Adults 65 and older fall each year. The cost associated with falls is expected to reach $67.7 BILLION by 2020. Balance problems can affect people of all ages, not just older adults. These numbers are hard to ignore! Most falls can be associated with inadequate balance. This is more than “just being clumsy!” The good news is that PT can help!! The components of balance can be “strengthened” or improved, just like muscle strength can be improved.

There are 3 components that contribute to balance:

1. Visual System: Vision is a huge part of balance. When vision is compromised balance can also be affected. Exercises can help strengthen other systems to decrease reliance on visual system. Vision helps detect or position orients us to the world around us. Activity: Try closing your eyes while standing and see if you feel as stable! The body isn’t getting information from the visual system making it harder to balance.

2. Vestibular System: Part of the inner ear. There is a series of canals in the inner ear that help detect motion. The system can sometimes go into “overdrive” and detects movement even when there isn’t any. This can sometimes lead to vertigo symptoms (P.S. PT can help with that also!).

3. Musculoskeletal system: Special receptors in the body’s joints send information to the brain regarding the body’s position in space and the joints in relation to other body parts. Other receptors can also provide information about what kind of surface you are standing on. Activity: Try standing on a folded up yoga mat or bath towel and try balancing. The body doesn’t get accurate information between the receptors, making it harder to balance!

These 3 components work closely together and if one is compromised it can affect overall balance.

There are also 2 different types of balance:

1. Static Balance: Ability to maintain upright position when stationary or not moving. Such as being able to sit or stand without falling over. Examples of static balance exercises include single leg stance or tandem stance.

2. Dynamic Balance: Ability to maintain upright position while moving or changing positions. Such as getting out of a chair without falling over. Examples include walking heel to toe, stand while moving head or extremities, or standing on an uneven surface.

We are all guilty of clumsy moments occasionally (some of us more than others!), but when those trips turn into falls. and those falls turn into injuries, or they start to happen more often, that’s when it becomes a problem. If you are having problems with your balance or want more information on how PT can benefit you check out our website at or give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

October 3rd, 2018

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Let’s talk massage! Did you know that there are many different types of massage? Shiatsu is a form of massage, but not many people know what it is, why it’s beneficial and who is appropriate for it. Shiatsu is a combination of acupuncture and massage based on traditional Chinese medicine, with a 3000 year old history. Shiatsu means “finger pressure” -with the therapist using finger, thumb and palm pressure to acupoints to stimulate the body’s vital energy or “Qi” (pronouced chi). Shiatsu involves an assessment and questions about how you are sleeping, eating and eliminating. It is important to gain insight about what is happening inside your body prior
to a Shiatsu massage.

Unlike traditional massage, Shiatsu is performed through loose, comfortable clothing, which protects the skin while compression pressure is applied. A low table height is used to perform this massage while you are lying down. Other positions can be used if you are unable to lie down.

Although Shiatsu is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, pain is the most common use for this form of massage. It reaches underlying causes of pain, as well as addresses the symptoms. Shiatsu is unique in being able to affect emotional health as well as digestive and gynecololoical issues.

Shiatsu is calm and relaxing in nature, yet dynamic in effect. The body begins to readjust itself and healing begins to take place. Shiatsu may be more intense because it goes deeper into the body, deeper into tissues, and breathing becomes more physiological. This is helpful in connecting the mind and body through use of guided deep, slow breathing.

After a session of Shiatsu there is usually a feeling of being relaxed and energized. That feeling can last for couple of hours after a session. The overall effect of Shiatsu treatments helps to strengthen the immune system, tonify organs, and keep the “Qi” and blood flowing smoothly.

Physical Therapy Consultants now offers Shiatsu massage at our Ham Lake, Andover and St. Francis locations. Request an appointment online at: or call 1-888-THERAPY to schedule an appointment.

Exclusive to this blog: Receive $20 off your next 60 minute massage. To redeem this offer, print the blog or show this article at the time of your appointment. Code: Save20BLOG. Offer not valid in conjunction with any other offers. Expires October 31st, 2018.

Jackie Geise, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

September 26th, 2018

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