PTC Blog

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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Clinic Coordinator Assistant

Educational Institutions:

Professional Interest Area:


October 1st, 2017

Posted In: Clinic Coordinators, General

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Physical Therapist

Education Institutions: BA degree in Exercise and Sport Science with a Nutrition Minor at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Concordia University of Wisconsin (2016)

Professional Interest Areas/Treating Philosophy:  Special interest in working with athletes and post-surgical patients. Enjoys helping patients get back to doing what they love or getting through their day with less pain & difficulty.

Other: Enjoys spending time with family & friends, attending outdoor festivals & concerts, playing recreational sports, & snuggling with her puppy. She is originally from Eau Claire, WI, so YES, you better believe she is a die hard Packer and Badger fan!

August 22nd, 2017

Posted In: General, Physical Therapists

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Save both time and money with a big batch of this sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy treat. Any dessert that is left over is super the next day, too. This is on my top 5 list of favorite desserts for the Summer.


  •  2 cups crushed pretzels, divided.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese softened.
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed.
  • 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling.    


  • In a large bowl, toss 1-1/2 cups pretzels with sugar and melted butter. Press into an ungreased 13×9-in dish. 
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
  • Fold in whipped topping.
  • Spread half of the mixture over pretzel layer. Top with pie filling;spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining pretzels. Refrigerate and cover overnight before serving. Makes 16 servings.

      Enjoy!!! Comment below and share your favorite dessert with us in the Summertime!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA  

July 23rd, 2017

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Just as the other 31 million Americans at any given time (NEJM), you begin experiencing back pain so you go to your primary care physician. They do X-Rays and MRI’s to come to a diagnosis. You get a phone call to come in and discuss the results, and often times leave feeling as if you’re broken due to words you really don’t understand. 
What if I told you you are NOT your MRI? What if I told you you are NOT broken? 
The human body is amazing! Amazing, and at times, inconsistent. Mechanically, we are all generally similar in the sense that our heads are attached to our shoulders. However, when you dig deeper than that, you start to see changes because we are not perfectly uniform to what our anatomy “SHOULD” be. 
So your imaging result shows an “abnormality”. BUT did you know that up to 64% of people with an abnormality in their imaging actually have NO pain?(NEJM) WHAT?! Yes, it’s true! Take a look at this graph from a recent 2014 study showing abnormal results in healthy, pain free individuals.  
Pay close attention to the ages, and what is commonly found on their imaging results. Crazy, right!? So what does this mean? 

Being that these people are pain free with a diagnosis you may have just gotten, it is likely that your pain is NOT due to the findings of your imaging! It is also important to note that although your pain may be worse today than yesterday, your imaging result was likely* the same both days, meaning that these visible changes are not the sole cause of your pain. 

This is where physical therapists step in. Imaging or not, physical therapy has the tools to get you feeling better. Aside from the extremely rare exception of surgery being the only option for treatment, treatment is pretty similar for these conditions across the board: pain relief and function restoration. There are many treatment modalities including, but not limited to, manual therapy, stretching, traction, TENS, and exercises. Exercises will focus on stabilizing your core and general strength which is important for your body as a whole. When we say restore your daily function, we are saying we will give you the strength and mobility so you’re able to go back to living your daily life without limitations. 
As always, if you are experiencing pain consult with a professional. You are more than the results of your MRI/X-ray/CT. Physical therapy will treat the patient and their symptoms, not simply the imaging result. So don’t be discouraged, we are here to help!
The mission of Physical Therapy consultants, Inc. is to provide you the care you want and the results you need to help you live the life you deserve. 
Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator 
Physical Therapy Consultants 

July 12th, 2017

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The preparticipation physical examination (PPE) is an important step toward safe participation in organized sports. The purpose of the PPE is not to disqualify or exclude an athlete from competition, but rather to attempt to identify those conditions that may place an athlete at increased risk and affect safe participation in organized sports. PPEs should include the following:

Image result for sports physical     1. Family and Medical History

     2. Physical Examination

         a. general health screening
         b. cardiovascular screening
         c. neurologic screening
         d. orthopedic screening

     3. Review of Medication Use

     4. Nutritional Assessment

     5. Heat and Hydration-Related Illness Risk Factors

     6. Mental Health Considerations

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) requires athletes to have a PPE prior to any participation in practices or games.  An updated PPE is required every 3 calendar years. 

The summertime is a great time to take care of completing your PPE.  A number of healthcare organizations offer low cost and sometimes free PPEs during this time.  Here is a list of PPE providers:

Twin Cities Orthopedics
Fairview Health
Allina Health

A copy of the MSHSL PPE form can be found HERE.

Dustin Eslinger, MA, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants

July 5th, 2017

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Happy 4th of July! The Independence Day holiday usually means days full of BBQs, sun, family and friends, and time spent on the water. With increased lake and boat activity, there is an increase in accidents and injuries. Here are 5 tips for a safe 4th of July weekend:
  1. Make sure to have enough life jackets for everyone aboard your boat. MN law requires children under 10 to wear a life jacket at all times. A life jacket must be readily accessible for all other passengers aboard boats (this includes canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards).
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. The holiday weekend increases activity on lakes and rivers. Swim, boat, and play responsibility. Watch out for swimmers and other boaters, especially in crowded areas. 
  3. Drink Responsibly. The risk of boating accidents significantly increases when alcohol is involved. The legal limit for operating a boat is the same as operating a car (Blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater). Drivers can be cited for a BWI (Boating while impaired)
  4. Apply sunscreen. This tip applies to more than just people spending time on the water. If you spend time in the sun, apply sunscreen and reapply every 2-4 hours. This will help prevent nasty sunburns!
  5. Watch the weather. Weather can change quickly, especially when on the water. If you start to see dark clouds, or if you hear thunder or see lightening get off the water immediately. 

I hope these tips help you have a safe and fun 4th of July weekend! Enjoy the sunshine and time spent with family and friends! 

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Isanti Physical Therapy

June 28th, 2017

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Now that summer is in full swing and the weather for the most part has been great, it is time to get outside and enjoy it.
There are a couple different water parks near the Andover area that we love to take advantage off that satisfy adults and kids alike.

Bunker Beach located in Bunker Hill Regional Park has many attractions to keep all ages entertained for hours!

  • The Wave Pool 
  • Twisted Towers and Splash Cove 
    • Riders must be at least 48” tall to use the water slides. Parents of small children are not allowed to take them down the water slide on their lap or catch them at the bottom of the slide. No life jackets are allowed on the water slides.
  • The Lazy Loop  
  • The Adventure Pool 
  • Plunge Pool 
  • Rocky Bay 
  • The Sand Box 
  • The Volleyball Court 


Guests Over 48″ – $15 per day
Guests Under 48″ – $12 per day
Senior Citizens (Age 62+) – $12 per day
Guests Under Age 1 – No Charge
All persons entering Bunker Beach, including spectators, are required to pay the daily fee. A paying adult (age 16+) must accompany children under the age of 12.


Guests Over 48″ – $11 per day
Guests Under 48″ – $9 per day
Senior Citizens (Age 62+) – $9 per day
You can rent a large locker for  $8 per day or a small locker for $5 per day. There is also tube rental for $3 (2 hours) or $1.50 (1 hour). Concessions are available for additional charge. To enter the regional park there is a $5 parking fee or an annual permit of $25 good for 12 months from date of purchase. 
Bunker Beach also offers the Cardio Club! Go walk against the Lazy River current for a low impact workout. Water shoes are recommended.
Free to regular season pass holders. 
Cardio Club Season Pass – $40
Cardio Club Hours
June 17-August 27:
Tuesday & Thursday: 7:15 pm-8:15 pm
Monday & Wednesday: 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Visit their website for more information regarding the whole complex!
Another fantastic place to go is the Anoka Aquatic Center!
  •     12′ Climbing Wall 
  •     200’ waterslide
  •     1 meter diving board
  •     Adventure walk
  •     Zero-depth entry
  •     Huge shallow play area
  •     Slide for youth under 42” tall
  •     Water play structure with sprays & fountains
  •     Large concession stand
  •     Sand volleyball court
  •     5 large shade umbrellas
  •     Over 250 lounge chairs
  •     Picnic area and playground adjacent to the facility in George Green Park 
Regular Season    June 9 – August 27
Monday – Thursday   12 – 7 p.m.
Friday – Sunday   11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Open swim times are weather dependent.
Air temperature must be at least 66 degrees for the pool to open for open swim. 

Adults and Youth over 42”   $7.00
Youth under 42”     $5.00 
Senior’s (62+ years)   $5.00 
Children Under 1 year      Free
Twilight Discount   $1.00 off
all admission rates
Twilight discount applied at 4 p.m. on days when open swim ends at 7 p.m.
and applied at 5 p.m. on the days when open swim ends at 8 p.m.
 *Daily Admission rates include sales tax
Open Swim Rules…
  • Children 6 years of age and under (including all children under 42″ tall) must have an adult in the water with them at all times. The zero depth area increases in depth from 0″ to 51″ at its deepest point.  
  • Coast Guard approved life jackets are the only flotation devices allowed. The individual wearing the life jacket must have an adult in the water with them at all times. There will be a stamp on the inside of the life jacket indicating that is is “Coast Guard Approved” and will have a rating of Type I – V.  
  • Everyone planning to swim must wear a swim suit. 
Lap Swim
Note: There is always 1 lap lane (width of deep pool) available during open swim. This lap lane is also used by lifeguards to administer deep-end/diving board swim tests during open swim. Please share the lane. 
1 – 2 lap lanes (25-yards) will be available from 8:00 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. Monday – Thursday during the weeks that swim lessons occur . Lap swim will NOT be available on Friday or during weeks when there are no morning swim lessons. Please refer to the swim lesson schedule for dates. Lap swimmers must be season pass holders. There is no drop in fee established for lap swim.
 Also visit their website for more details!
I hope these are helpful and you get out and ENJOY the summer!!
Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Andover Physical Therapy 

June 22nd, 2017

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Beyond the S’mores:Tasty and Healthy Recipes 
Around the Campfire

          Everyone loves Summer camping, right? I sure am psyched about it..especially the yummy treats we cook up by the campfire. Are you a campfire fan looking for an alternative to s’mores??? If so, pull out your sleeping bag and join us on a camping trip that’s full of deliciousness. Here are a few healthy treats to take s’mores beyond the end of Summer without the guilt. 
Baked Apple Bliss
Ingredients you’ll need: Apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and aluminum foil.
Instructions:Remove the apple core and place apple on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the apple. Fill the core cavity with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Wrap the foil around the apple and place near coals. Check and turn periodically, done when soft. 
Tortilla Banana Boat
Ingredients you’ll need:Flour tortilla shells, bananas, chocolate chips, peanut butter, aluminum foil.
Instructions:Peel banana, cut it in half lengthwise and set in middle of tortilla shell. Spread with peanut butter and top with chocolate chips. Wrap in foil and bake near coals. Done when banana softens to your liking. 

Hope you enjoy these treats as much as I do!!
We would like to know your favorite treats by the campfire (other than s’mores please).  Please share with us below!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA 

June 16th, 2017

Posted In: General

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