PTC Blog

Chances are you’ve come across the old dental health adage: “Floss the teeth you want to keep.” The first time you spotted this sign in a dental office or heard the phrase uttered word-for-word by the dentist probably elicited a giggle or a snarky remark. But once the humor of it washed away, you more than likely had an a-ha moment. It just makes so much sense, doesn’t it?

Let’s try to apply this principle to other parts of the human body: What if you only stretched the muscles you wanted to keep? What if you performed weight-bearing exercises to maintain the strength of just a few of your more than 200 muscles? This is an extreme example, of course, but without the guidance of a physical therapist, it’s possible that some parts of your musculoskeletal system may be inadvertently neglected.

Physical therapists are trained to identify and treat a wide range of movement disorders including sports injuries such as sprains and strains as well as conditions including arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. The rehab professionals work closely with patients to develop individualized plans based on thorough assessments and detailed patient histories. A personalized care plan will include some combination of flexibility, strength, coordination and balance exercises designed to achieve optimal physical function.

Physical therapists can address proper posture and body mechanics to help patients participate in common daily activities, relieve pain and improve function. When it comes to keeping bones healthy and reducing risk, for example, PTs can design an effective exercise program and suggest healthy habits for the patient to adhere to.

And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an injury or other painful ailment to schedule time with a physical therapist. In fact, the therapy professionals encourage you to consider visiting a PT as often as you schedule regular checkups with your dentist, primary care physician or dermatologist.


Article obtained from the American Physical Therapist Association Private Practice Section

January 9th, 2019

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As I sit here trying to console my son crying about his hurting legs, it has sparked my interest to look further into what he could be feeling. He is an avid hockey player and is just getting home from an intense practice. After asking him some questions to rule out an injury, we have come to a conclusion he is probably experiencing growing pains (talk with your doctor before making the diagnosis to make sure there is not an underlying cause). I don’t ever remember dealing with this in my childhood (if we remembered every feeling, I don’t know if we would make it past teething!!!).

Growing pains are common and affect everyone differently. Some have terrible experiences and some are mild. There is no solid evidence that states growing is painful, however it is linked to muscles aches from activities such as running, jumping, and sports. Typically growing pains occur in both legs surrounding the thighs and knees usually during the evening. There are times it can wake a child in the middle of the night.

My son is 7 and definitely has a hard time understanding what he is experiencing especially after a long day and want to just rest. He doesn’t get them everyday or even after every practice, but we have found some of these tips to be helpful to overcome the pain.

  • Massaging the legs (when he is not so frustrated and allows my to do so)
  • Stretching or yoga (by searching kids yoga poses or sports related yoga, I have found some cool links to take you step by step teaching the kids how to these poses or stretching positions. It also is a fun way to connect with your child and teach healthy habits).
  • Heating pads (only apply for 10 mins with a barrier between heating element and skin. Never over night to ensure the skin does not burn).
  • Talk with your doctor before giving your child over the counter pain relief medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.

Seek medical attention if:

  • Pain is lasting all day
  • Effecting only one leg
  • Fever/chills
  • Weakness
  • Red/swollen joints
  • Rash
  • Weight loss/ decreased appetite
  • Limping
  • Known injury

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

January 2nd, 2019

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If you have a sudden need to urinate – and you involuntarily leak wherever and whenever – you may have urge incontinence. The condition isn’t a disease, but it may be a sign that there is an underlying problem.  While urge incontinence is sometimes referred to as “overactive bladder,” that condition is slightly different.  People with an overactive bladder feel an urge to urinate, but don’t necessarily leak urine.

Causes of Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is caused by abnormal bladder contractions. Normally, strong muscles called sphincters control the flow of urine from the bladder. With urge incontinence, the muscles of an “overactive” bladder contract with enough force to overridethe sphincter muscles of the urethra, which is the tube that takes urine out of the body.

Treatments to Improve Pelvic-Floor Muscle Function
Your physical therapist will teach you how to “find” (sense the movement of) your pelvic-floor muscles by tensing and releasing them. The physical therapist will design an exercise program based on your condition to help you improve your pelvic-floor muscle function so you can better control your bladder

Your treatments may include:

  • Kegel exercises. The Kegel exercise is performed by squeezing the sphincter muscles or imagining that you are trying to stop the flow of urine.
  • Biofeedback. Depending on your symptoms and level of comfort, your physical therapist may gently employ electrodes to measure your pelvic-floor muscle activity. The biofeedback obtained can help make you more aware of the correct way to use your pelvic-floor muscles.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises. Your physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to stretch and strengthen other important muscles that help support proper bladder function.
  • Electrical stimulation. Your physical therapist may apply gentle electrical stimulation to help improve your awareness of your muscle function.

To learn more contact St. Francis Physical Therapy at 763-753-8804.  Have a Happy New Year!

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

December 27th, 2018

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After the holidays is the time of year that many of us make the commitment to ramp up our activity level and begin a routine exercise program. We all know the benefits of regular exercise. Weight control, an increase in energy, and decrease risks of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some forms of cancer, and falls are all positive benefits of regular exercise.

When beginning an exercise program it is important to take the appropriate steps to avoid potential setbacks. All too often mistakes are made that lead to overuse injuries that greatly affect a person’s motivation and/or ability to continue with their exercise program.

Following these steps will help you reduce your risk of overuse injuries:

1. Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise to address any potential issues that may affect your ability to exercise.

2. Do not do too much too soon. You need to understand where you currently are on the “physically active scale” when starting an exercise program. Increasing your activity level too fast can lead to your body breaking down.

3. Warm-up and stretch prior to your routine and cool-down and stretch after your routine. You need to get your body ready for exercise before performing the more physically demanding parts of your exercise routine.

4. Use proper form and use the proper footwear/gear. Whatever activity/exercise you are performing it is important to use proper form to avoid injury. Improper form during an exercise can cause undesired stress on different areas of your body that can eventually breakdown and cause injury. Also, many individuals take for granted having the proper equipment for the exercise they are performing. An example of this making sure you have running shoes that fit appropriately before beginning a walking or running program.

5. Have variation in your exercise program. Variations in your exercise routine will help you avoid overuse injuries and provide you with a more complete workout.

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

December 19th, 2018

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Headaches. The word is so simple, but the causes can be nearly endless. Headaches can be caused from simple things such as lack of sleep, poor eating habits, dehydration, or stress. Migraines can be triggered by lights or sounds. Tension headaches can be caused by tight muscles through the neck and shoulders. In very rare instances a headache can be caused by more serious conditions. The difficult part is determining the type of headache and how to relieve the pain.

Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are pretty easy to treat. They are caused by tightness in neck muscles, including the upper trap, SCM, or scalenes. They can also be caused by tightness through the jaw muscles and muscles at the base of the skull. The leading cause of the tightness is stress and poor posture. Which leads to muscle imbalances. Through an individualized treatment program consisting of manual therapy, stretches, and strengthening exercises, tension headaches can be reduced with physical therapy.

Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are often one-sided, and cause intense pain with or without warning signs. Migraines can last for hours up to days. They may be caused by a trigger, such as lights or sounds, but also can happen with no trigger. Migraines can be treated in PT, but are often treated as a team approach. A team of MDs and PTs are the best treatment options to determine the cause and help prevent future episodes.

Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches are caused due to pressure in the sinuses due to fluid build up. They can be caused by allergies or acute infection. Pressure is often felt above and/or below the eyes. An Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist is usually the best person to treat sinus headaches.

One way to help medical professionals determine what type and the cause of headaches is to keep a headache log/diary. Record when the headache occurred, what you were doing prior, food and water intake. In the smart phone age there are many free apps that can also help track this information. One example is Migraine Buddy. It asks questions about possible triggers, duration, and frequency to help determine patterns. Overall, great ways to help prevent headaches is to stay hydrated, eat a balance diet, minimize stress, and stay active to maintain proper nutrition and overall health.

This is just a brief overview of a few types of headaches. There are many other types and causes. If you are interested in more information about headaches or are suffering from headaches of your own give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY for more information.

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy Consultants

December 12th, 2018

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Let’s get real mommas…The journey to becoming a parent does not end with labor and delivery. There are not only a lot of physical changes that your body goes through, but you are also learning what a whole new normal is for your life and new bundle of joy. As exciting as this journey can be, it can also be a rollercoaster of change. The physical changes our bodies experience after having a child also come with emotional changes, social changes, and relationship changes. Many times your friends, family members and even physicians will prepare you for the changes you will go through when it comes to taking care of your new baby, breast feeding and sleep deprivation, but rarely are you prepared for what to expect from your body after you have a baby.  This time period is referred to as “postpartum”. If you are talked to about your new postpartum body, the conversation usually leaves you feeling like you should expect these things to be your new normal.

What if I told you that the separation in your abdomen does not have to be your new normal?

What if I told you that the accidental peeing in your pants does not have to be your new normal?

What if I told you that the low back pain or tailbone pain you feel does not have to be your new normal?

What if I told you that you don’t have to manage all these things on your own?

A Physical Therapist is the golden ticket to your postpartum journey. A physical therapist can help you with the physical changes you experience after having a baby and get you on a great path to feeling better.

You may consider seeing a Physical Therapist after having a baby if you experience:

  • Pain in your low back, tail bone, pelvic floor and/or SI joint
  • Separation of your abdominal muscle also known as Diastasis Recti
  • Accidental leakage when exercising, jumping, coughing, or sneezing also known as Stress Incontinence
  • Shoulder or neck pain that comes from holding your child and treat feeding

Remember although many of these symptoms are common after having a baby, that does not mean they are normal, but the good news is you can get relief with the care you receive from your Physical Therapist. Be sure to start your postpartum journey on the right path by contacting your Physical Therapist. Schedule a free phone call consultation, or call 1-888-THERAPY to schedule your postpartum appointment today.

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

December 5th, 2018

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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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