PTC Blog

Aquatic Therapy is a great way to strengthen muscles throughout the body and decrease stresses placed on the low back. Getting into the pool is a great alternative to land based physical therapy, especially when the low back is especially painful or movements on land are difficult. There are special water properties that make it easier to work out in the pool versus on land.

Buoyancy: Buoyancy is the upward force that acts against gravity. This allows you to feel more unweighted in water versus on land. It places decreased stresses on joints and allows for greater ease with movement. When you are submerged at hip level you are 50% unweighted.

Hydrostatic Pressure: Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by the water on immersed objects. Increased pressure can lower heart rate and improve blood flow.

Viscosity: Viscosity is the friction occurring between molecules resulting in resistance to flow. This means that with increased velocity of movement there is increased resistance. This allows a better workout in a shorter period of time.

As with all physical therapy care plans, each treatment is individualized to meet the goals of the patient.

If you feel like aquatic therapy could benefit you, give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY.

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

January 17th, 2018

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When the driveway and walkways are coated in a thick blanket of snow, it is time to get a shovel out for what some consider to be a dreaded chore. Before you tackle the first snowfall of the season, take some time to read these snow shoveling safety tips to help avoid any potential injuries.

  • Warm up. Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements, such as bending side to side or walking in place.
  • Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs when possible.
  • Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do.
  • Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight being lifted.
  • Hit the pause button. Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes of shoveling, especially when the snow is wet.
  • Consider multiple trips. Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
  • Keep up with snowfall. Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
  • Wear layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.

By following these tips, you are far less likely to be injured while shoveling snow.


Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
St. Francis Physical Therapy

January 10th, 2018

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Why Should I Donate Blood?
• Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
• Over 21,000 people receive blood products from a Red Cross Donor daily
• Most popular blood type requested from hospitals is Type O, so if you are type O- you are wanted!
• Someone in a motor vehicle accident can require as many as 100 pints of blood

Benefits of Donating According to the American Red Cross:
• It feels great to donate!
• You get free juice and delicious cookies.
• It’s something you can spare – most people have blood to spare… yet, there is still not enough to go around.
• You will help ensure blood is on the shelf when needed – most people don’t think they’ll ever need blood, but many do.
• You will be someone’s hero – in fact, you could help save more  than one life with just one donation.

St. Francis Physical Therapy will be hosting a blood drive Wednesday, January 24th from 9am- 3pm.

Give 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit and enter SFPT to schedule an appointment.

Krista Flanagan, ATC
St. Francis Physical Therapy

January 3rd, 2018

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The New Year is right around the corner. Are you making a new year’s resolution? Is there anything you would like to change or do better in 2018? According to Wikipedia, making a new year’s resolution is a common tradition mostly in the western hemisphere and dates back to the Babylonian Era. A resolution is when a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. It’s a great concept, however the success rate is not impressive. So why do people fail at the goals they set out to achieve in the new year?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Unrealistic goals are being set or there is not a timeline associated with that goal.
  2. The resolutions themselves are not personal enough to the individual or the individual makes the resolution because the people around them want them to. For example: an individual who may smoke makes a resolution to quit smoking because their family wants them to versus them actually wanting to.
  3. Too many resolutions are being made at once and there is no tracking associated with the progress being made.

Now that we know what may contribute to resolutions failing, let’s take a look at how we can set ourselves up for success in 2018! Whether your resolution be to lose weight, workout more, be more assertive, or learn another language, you have to be SMART about setting goals and you have to personally be invested in the resolution you set for yourself.

So how do we go about setting SMART goals?

  • Be SPECIFIC: when determining your goal for 2018, you must be clear about what you are trying to accomplish. It’s important to include who, what, why, where and when. Many resolutions fail because they are not specific enough and therefore there is not as much personal investment in them. Let’s take a look at building a goal based off of the SMART criteria.

“I resolve to lose weight” —There is still some missing pieces to this goal, right?! Let’s take a look at the next step to building a SMART goal.

  • Make the goal MEASURABLE: when goals are measurable, it is easier to stay on task and track progress. Ask yourself how much? or how many? and add that to your goal. That is something missing in the above goal example! Let’s continue to build the example by adding in a measurable quantity to the weight lose.

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds” —We now have a measurable quantity associated with the weight loss but there are still missing pieces! Time to add the “A” of our SMART goal- setting.

  • Make sure the goal is ATTAINABLE: setting goals that can be reached increases confidence and motivation to continue to take the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Take a look at our example above. Losing 25 pounds is much more attainable than setting a goal of 100 pounds right away.

  • Your goal must be REALISTIC: it is best to set goals that have steps that you are willing and wanting to take in order for you to be successful. Let’s take a look at our example:

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds by eating well balanced meals of 1500 calories per day and doing 30 minute workouts from home.”

We now just added a couple steps that we are going to take to help reach the weight loss goal, BUT we are still missing one of the most important components of goals setting…

  • Your goal must be TIME oriented: timelines help keep you motivated and accountable for reaching your goals. Without timelines, it is hard to track progress and stay motivated. Our current goal in the example above does not have a timeline associated with it. Without that timeline, there is no sense in urgency in accomplishing the goal. Let’s add a timeline to the goal to see how we can set ourselves up for success.

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds by May 1, 2018 by eating well balance meals of 1500 calories per day and doing 30 minute workouts 3 times per week from home.”  Not only did we add the timeline of May 1, 2018 but we also added another measurable way to track our success by stating we would workout 3 times per week. This goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Now that we learned how to set ourselves up for success in reaching our 2018 New Year’s Resolution, we want to hear from you! What are your SMART resolutions for 2018? Share them in the comments below and you will be entered in a drawing to win a 60 minute massage!

Jackie Giese, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants

December 27th, 2017

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Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year and my absolute favorite place to experience the magic of Christmas is at Bentleyville USA!  Bentleyville USA is a giant, walkthrough light display in Bayfront Park in Duluth. It’s 100% worth the 2-2.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities. While I was going to college in Duluth, my roommates and I regularly volunteered at Bentleyville. The entire organization is run on volunteers and donations. This year my roommate and I were able to take time out of our schedules to volunteer again! Not only is it fun to volunteer, it’s also a great workout! During our 3 hours of volunteering we were able to walk over 8,000 steps with the added work of wearing a costume! I would highly recommend a trip to Bentleyville if you haven’t been there already. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition and I make a point to go every year!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Physical Therapy Consultants

December 20th, 2017

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The Good News:
Minnesota’s estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2016 is at its lowest rate since the measurement started in 1973. According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.4 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2016. Over the past decade workplace injury and illness rates have decreased 33% in Minnesota.

The Bad News:
There were 73,600 workers with OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries in Minnesota in 2016. An estimated 21,200 worker injuries, 1.0 cases per 100 FTE workers, had one or more days away from work after the day of injury. This rate was unchanged from 2015. The median number of days of work disability for workers with one or more days away from work was five days. When we look at this data we see approximately 106,000 days of disability in 2016.

Is There Room For Improvement?


Let’s look at some more data from Minnesota:

  • The industry divisions with the highest total injury and illness rates were construction (5.0 cases per 100 FTE workers); local government (4.8); and health care and social assistance (4.7).
  • Sprains and strains accounted for 38 percent of the injuries for workers with days away from work. The second-highest category was soreness and pain, accounting for 17 percent of the cases.
  • The back (19 percent) was the most commonly injured body part, followed by hands (14 percent) and knees (10 percent).
  • The most common injury events were being struck by objects or equipment and falls on the same level, each with 15 percent of the cases, followed by overexertion while lifting or lowering, with 11 percent.

I see an opportunity to reduce this rate further when I look at what type of injuries and within what industries injuries are taking place.

How Do We Further Decrease Workplace Injuries?

  • Get ALL Employees Invested in Safety – All employees should value safety as part of their job. All employees should hold each other accountable to perform job tasks safely according to their policies and procedures.
  • Evaluate and Review Safety Procedures Regularly – Are there safer ways to perform job task? Are all the proper equipment and tools being utilized? Did something within the job process change that has now created a higher injury risk? Identify “near misses” and take corrective action to decrease risks.
  • Follow Through on Eliminating Hazards – If a potential hazard has been identified, is there someone or a group of people in charge to make the necessary correction/change in behavior to decrease or eliminate the hazard? Forming a safety committee within your organization can be a great asset.
  • Proper Training For All Employees – Train employees about workplace safety and how to identify hazards. Workplace safety training as part of employee onboarding and refreshers especially early on in employment is beneficial. You can have new employees learn safe job practices from an experienced employee. This will help build comradery and encourage safe work practices.

Do you have examples of how you made your workplace safer in 2017? Let us know in the comments!

Let’s make 2018 the safest year yet for Minnesota workers!

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

December 14th, 2017

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