PTC Blog


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of physical therapy?? 
I hear so many people tell me that physical therapy is “just exercise”. In fact, recently I was speaking to a group of people (some who had no idea what I did for a living)… one woman, lets refer to her as Sarah, was talking about how her back was really bothering her and her doctor wanted her to go to physical therapy. I was so proud to hear the suggestion from the doctor but before I could get a word out, the next statement from her was “I don’t want to go to therapy, all they are going to make me do is just exercise” 
HALT!!! PUT ON THE BRAKES!! One of my friends made eye contact with me… she knew I was going to take this opportunity to provide some education to Sarah. 
Me: “Have you ever been to physical therapy before?”
Sarah:  “No, but I know a lot of people who have”
Me: “Why do you think they just make you exercise?” 
Sarah: “Because my dad went to physical therapy after his knee replacement and that’s all they made him do”
Me: “Would you believe me if I told you that not all physical therapy providers and facilities are alike?”
Sarah: “yeah, I suppose that would make sense” 
This now opened the door to speak more about more openly about physical therapy. I told Sarah that I was a Physical Therapist Assistant and have been working in the field for 8 years. We talked about her back pain and how she was limited. She talked about how picking up her baby from the crib was painful and how it was harder for her to clean the house because some days her back would be hurting. I knew that PT could definitely help Sarah overcome some of those challenges and get her feeling better quick!
To make a long story short, I spoke specifically to Sarah about what PT can do for her and that the intervention would most definitely include more than “just exercise”. Because physical therapy is so much more than “exercise”. We are blessed at our facilities to have many tools in our tool box when it comes to treatment interventions for our patients. 
What does that include?? (I am so glad you asked!)
-Manual Therapy (massage, muscle energy techniques, joint mobilizations etc)
-Modalities for pain relief (Ultrasound, TENS, electrical stimulation, hot packs, cold pack, light therapy etc)
-Aquatic Therapy (performing exercises in a pool with decrease impact on the joints)
-Trigger Point Dry Needling (this is not as scary as it sounds!) 
-Functional Strengthening
-Traction for the low back and neck
Seriously, I feel like I could go on and on. Now, not every one of these interventions is appropriate for every diagnosis but the point is, there is a lot more to PT than “just exercise”. The beauty of physical therapy is that we have many tools to help an individual reach their goals and get back to the life they want to live. 
I should also mention that I am happy to report that “Sarah” did decide to go to physical therapy and is well on her way to feeling better! 
Now hopefully when you think of PT, you will remember that physical therapy is really about using many tools/interventions (exercise included) to help get an individual back to feeling their best and doing the things they enjoy doing. We are more than “just exercise”. 

Share your PT experiences with us! We would love to hear from you! 

Jackie Giese, LPTA 
Physical Therapy Consultants

April 27th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

Bring on Spring!!

Spring is finally here, which for my family means more cooking outdoors! Don’t get me wrong, I love the comfort food Winter brings! Soups, chili’s and casseroles, YUM! But, there is something about having more fresh fruit and vegetables available that you just can’t beat. Add the grill and some sunshine to that and now we are talking about a great way to spend time with family! 

I recently did a talk at the local Snap Fitness about basic nutrition and I wanted to share some of the information with you all. Starting to eat healthier anytime of year is fantastic but having more foods available in the Spring can make it much easier. 

Let’s start with the group that gets a bad rep. CARBOHYDRTES!! Eating carbs is not only ok to do, but encouraged! It is just picking the right ones.  Aim for more whole grains, brown rice, whole fruits and vegetables. 

Carbohydrates includes sugars, starches and fibers.

They are Simple and Complex

  • Simple- quick energy sources: table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc.
  • Complex- derived from plants and contains both starch and fiber: vegetables, potatoes, grains and fruits.
  • Adults recommended to consume between 45%-65% of daily calories.

Fiber is a part of the carbohydrate family that cannot be digested but it is important to keep the digestive tract healthy.
Dietary Fiber: Soluble or Insoluble: found in beans, whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

  • Soluble- absorbs water, slows nutrient absorption and helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble- not broken down and adds bulk to intestinal contents.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
  • Recommended for Women 19-50 y/o 25 grams, Men 19-50 y/o 38 grams.

Which now brings me to lipids or fats. A diet complete with healthy fats such as avocado, olives, nuts and fish oils are great. Fats are made up of saturated and unsaturated fats. 

  • Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as meat, milk and cheeses. Some are found in plant products such as coconut and palm oils. They are used in foods (crackers, cereals, dressings, cookies) to create longer shelf life. Diets high in saturated fats are associated with risk of heart disease. 
  • There are a few types of unsaturated fats: Monounsaturatred fatty acids (MUFA) which include olive, peanut, and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which include corn, soybean, and safflower oils. Diets high in these types of fats are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are more problematic, in which they are “super whipped” changing them from liquid to solid form at room temperature. They are called hydrogenated fats when looking at food labels.
  • Suggested daily intake for adults is between 20-35% of total calories.

Last but not least comes protein. Adding lean meats, eggs, nuts, greek yogurts, beans, etc. is a nice way to get a well balanced diet.

  • Protein is used for building, maintaining, and repairing muscles, skin and blood.
  • 10-20% of total calories should come from protein for sedentary individuals and 25-30% for athletes or physically active individuals.
  • 40 grams per day for females, 55-70 grams per day for males.
The FDA has more transitioned from using the food pyramid to using Choose MyPlate to help with portion control. 

My favorite Spring and Summer meal is grilled cod fish with grilled veggies on the side and maybe some brown rice. It’s light with great flavor and filling!! 

What is your favorite meal come the Spring time?

 Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Andover Physical Therapy 

April 17th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

Happy Rainy Days 
         Spring is here and Minnesotans are better prepared than most for whatever weather change comes our way. Here are a few suggestions of where to take the kids the next time mother nature has a change of heart. 
           Head to the Science Museum in St.Paul where you and your family can explore through hands on exhibits and watch films projected onto a 90 foot screen at the Omnitheatre.

          Take a tour through the Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America where you can experience the underwater tunnel exhibit and see thousands of sea creatures. The aquarium has several different adventures including snorkeling with the fish and behind the scenes tours. 

         Plan a trip to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre where you can enjoy a musical performance while being served a table side dinner. “Grease” returns to the main stage this year for the first time in a decade. 
       Minnesota is home to The Walker Art Center’s “Sculpture Garden” . The Sculpture Garden is a top destination for visitors as it is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. You can take a tour around the 11 acre site and visit 40 sculptures created by notable modern artists.

       When the clouds roll in and the downpour starts, try one of these fun activities rather than staying in the house. They’re all guaranteed to provide some fun for the whole family. Make those rainy days into sunny days!! 
Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA 
St.Francis Physical Therapy 

April 10th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread awareness about the important work of Athletic Trainers.  This year’s slogan is “Your Protection is Our Priority.”  During March, Athletic Trainers across the country are being recognized for their commitment to helping people prevent injuries and stay healthy and active.

Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an allied health care profession.

Athletic Training Educational Requirements
Athletic training is an academic major or graduate equivalent major program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The current minimum entry point into the profession of athletic training is the baccalaureate level, however it was recently decided by the AT Strategic Alliance that the minimum professional degree level will be a master’s, a change to be implemented within the next several years. More than 70 percent of athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree. The educational requirements for CAATE-accredited athletic training education programs include acquisition of knowledge, skills and clinical abilities along with a broad scope of foundational behaviors of professional practice. Students complete an extensive clinical learning requirement that is embodied in the clinical integration proficiencies (professional, practice oriented outcomes) as identified in the Athletic Training Education Competencies.  Upon completion of a CAATE-accredited athletic training education program, students become eligible for national certification by successfully completing the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) examination.

Athletic Training Job Settings
  • Public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional and Olympic sports
  • Youth leagues, municipal and independently owned youth sports facilities
  • Physician practice, similar to nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and other professional clinical personnel
  • Rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and ambulatory care centers
  • Clinics with specialties in sports medicine, cardiac rehab, medical fitness, wellness and physical therapy
  • Occupational health departments in commercial settings, which include manufacturing, distribution and offices to assist with ergonomics
  • Police and fire departments and academies, municipal departments, branches of the military
  • Performing arts including professional and collegiate level dance and music

For more information on Athletic Training visit

information gathered from:
“2017 National Athletic Trainers’ Association”,, 2017

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

March 23rd, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

The Choice is YOURS

One of the most common misconceptions about Physical Therapy is that you need a doctor’s order to start!

This is FALSE!

In fact, Minnesota is one of the states that offers direct access to patients. This means that you can go to a physical therapy clinic without first having to see the doctor. There are however restrictions with this for certain insurance plans including HMO’s and Medicare. Many individuals fear that their physical therapy intervention would not be covered by insurance unless they have a doctor’s order. In many instances, this is NOT true. There is overwhelming evidence that demonstrates that insurances are providing coverage in direct access instances.

Still unsure if you will be covered under your insurance plan?? Don’t worry! It’s our practice to verify insurance details for the patient regardless of having a referral. In most all instances, you will know ahead of time if you have a copay, deductible, or if you need an order to start physical therapy.

Another misconception with direct access is that an individual’s health is more at risk if they don’t see a physician first. Again, FALSE! Physical Therapists are doctors of their profession. Their training and education allows them to perform an initial evaluation that can recognize if a problem occurs that is beyond their scope of practice and provide referrals to other health professionals to ensure that you are on the right track!

So now that you know about direct access, did you also know that YOU have the right to choose what Physical Therapy location you want to go to! Your health care provider can make a recommendation on where you go for PT but ultimately, THE CHOICE IS YOURS! Not all physical therapy facilities are the same. With a wide variety of interventions available with PT, make sure you choose a facility that meets your needs!

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

Let us know your thoughts and what you LIKE about your physical therapy facility!

March 15th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

St.Patrick’s Day Is Just Around The Corner  

One of the world’s most celebrated holidays is sneaking up on us quickly. St.Patrick’s Day, March 17th is the one day we can pull all of our green clothing out of the wardrobe and wear it with pride. However, it’s also a day to get creative in the kitchen. Here is the recipe to one my favorite St.Patty’s Day treats.

Creme De Menthe Brownies 

Ingredients for Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
For Filling
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
4 tbsp green crème de menth (or use green food coloring plush a dash of peppermint extract)
For Icing
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and mist 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Prepare brownies: In double boiler, melt baking chocolate and 1 cup butter over simmering water, cool slightly. 

3. In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until blended, then add 2 cups granulated sugar and continue whisking until mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and leave brownies to cool in pan.
6. Make filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the 1/2 cup butter and confectioners’ sugar together until well blended.
7. Stir in the creme de menthe and blend well.
8. Spread over cooled brownies
9. Refrigerate in original baking pan until filling is firm.
10. Make icing: Melt the chocolate chips and 6 T butter in the top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (You can do this in the microwave, just monitor closely and stir a few times.).
11. Pour the warm glaze over the filling and tilt pan to distribute the icing evenly.
12. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
13. To cut, allow brownies to come to room temperature in the pan so chocolate doesn’t crack.

Hope you all enjoy this treat, I know your taste buds will be thanking you. Share your favorite St.Patricks day dessert, meal or family tradition below. We would love to hear how you and your family celebrate this holiday.

 Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
St.Francis Physical Therapy

March 5th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

Foam rolling is a great technique for self deep massage and stretching. It is important to know what exactly you are doing while foam rolling, to understand how and why it works so well. Essentially, what you’re doing is working out tissue called fascia. Fascia is the protective later of connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, joints, and bones to stabilize your entire body. When your body is balanced, the fascia is able to stretch and move along with your body. However, as we all have come to realize at some point or another – we can lose that balance pretty quickly. Whether it be stress, poor posture, or even working out fascia will become tight, restricting movement and often causing pain. 
Stretching alone is great for your entire body, but sometimes it isn’t able to relieve that deep myofascial pain. This is where foam rollers come in so handy! There are so many benefits of foam rolling, including relief for tight muscles, aid in muscle recovery post exercise/inactivity, improve range of motion by lengthening muscles and preventing injury. And the best part is, you don’t have to leave your house to do it! That being said, there are two ways you can use a foam roller – for stretching and for self myofasical release/massage. 
Two of our most common stretches with foam rollers: 
Thoracic Extension: Start by positioning the foam roller under your shoulder blades with your arms behind your head, knees bent and feet flat. Gently lean back over the roller to extend your spine. Do this at multiple sections of your back from the top to the bottom of your shoulder blades. *Do not push too hard over lower ribs or go into curvature of low back with the roller.
Pec Stretch: Laying on a foam roller, keep your knees bent and arms to the side. The stretch can be lowered/intensified by positioning your arms at different angles. 
Two of our most common myofacsial massage techniques: 
Piriformis: Start by sitting on the foam roller and put one foot on the opposite knee (as pictured). Lean into one side of your glutes and roll back and forth. Your leg on the floor will control how much pressure is used. 
Iliotibial Tract (IT Band): Lay on your side with the roller just below your hip, placing your other over the other, and foot on the floor. Roll along your outer thigh. Again, your leg on the floor will control how much pressure is used. 
Below are a few things to remember while rolling: 
  • BREATHE!! Perhaps the most important – if your muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they need, they will not be able to release. 
  • Roll very SLOWLY. When you come across a trigger point, or painful spot, focus on that smaller area until it releases before moving on. You should be able to slowly feel the tension release. 
  • Relax as much as you can. If you’re tensing the muscle you’re trying to work out, it won’t be able to release. 
  • Drink WATER – it’s important to keep your muscles hydrated and mobile. Rule of thumb is 1/2 of your body weight= how many oz of water that we should be drinking a day. 
  • Stretch afterward. Reason simply being, you need to keep the muscle mobile and lengthened. 
Now, anyone that has used a foam roller already knows that it doesn’t always feel the most pleasant. If an area is too tender to roll, apply less pressure or roll the surrounding muscles and slowly work your way to the tender muscle group. 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact a trained professional prior to rolling. What are your favorite foam roller stretches/massage techniques? Let us know in the comments below! 
Photos credit to: 
Alyssa Hart 
Clinic Coordinator Assistant 
Physical Therapy Consultants 

February 23rd, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

Dizziness is a common condition that most people will experience at some time in their lives.  Although common, dizziness should not be considered “normal.”  Physical Therapists can help identify the cause of your dizziness and often provide treatment to end your symptoms.  Our Vestibular Physical Therapist ranks in the top 18% for treatment of vertigo and top 25% for the treatment of all neurological conditions.

Dustin Eslinger, MA ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants

February 19th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

Exercising while on Vacation!

Going on vacation and getting away from daily life is not only fun but good for the mind, body and soul. However keeping in mind you don’t want to throw everything out the window. I hear so many times, “who cares, you are on vacation!” Which it is fun and fine to indulge a little while on vacation keeping your health in mind is important too. 
No matter your destination there is always something you can do to get a little exercise!

  • Walk the beach or in town
  • Bike riding  (a lot of places will have rentals) 
  • Hiking
  • Swimming 
  • Skiing 
The list could go on and on with different activities to do. Changing up your normal routine is great for your muscles to be challenged and get away from the repetition. Getting out and being active will allow you to not only get your heart rate up but grant you the adventure to site see.

Even while in the room you are staying in, taking 10-15 min to run through some exercises, will keep your muscles from getting too lax. Bringing along some elastic bands that fold up so nicely and take up very little space, are great to have along. Also using just body weight it great, hitting the major muscle groups. Example: squats, lunges, heel raises, push up, tricep push ups, crunches, planks.

Taking a week off from everything isn’t going to effect you too much but anything more than that can. Recent studies have shown that even as little of 10 days of inactivity can start declining muscle and endurance efficiency but 10% and 20-25% by 4 weeks for the experienced exerciser.

Overall when going on vacation definitely take a vacation but getting out on the town is not only enjoyable, it can be beneficial to your health!!

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Andover Physical Therapy 

February 5th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment


 Are you interested in a career in 
Physical Therapy or Athletic Training? 

            Are you looking for a career change or would like to know more regarding physical therapy or athletic training?  Each of our 6 locations offers job shadows to anyone interested in a physical therapy or athletic training career. A job shadow is a work experience option where students of all ages in school/college and older job seekers can learn about a job waking through the workday as a shadow. It’s a temporary unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupation area of interest to the student. If you know you want to change careers but are not sure what career is right for you, job shadowing can give you a taste of what the career is like. Before setting up your job shadow with us, I would like to give you a brief summary of what each of our therapist’s jobs entails at the clinic so you have a better understanding of how we care for our patients.

  Physical Therapists: PT’s are healthcare experts who treat individuals of all ages with health related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. The PT evaluates the patient on their first visit in the clinic and develops a plan of care appropriate for the patient based on their diagnosis.

Physical Therapist Assistant: PTA’s provides direct patient care under the direction and supervision of a PT. The PTA assists the PT in providing physical therapy services such as instruction is stretching and strengthening exercises along with performance of modalities and interventions to help manage the patients pain.  The PT and PTA communicate closely regarding the patients health status and work together to progress the patient towards their goals. 

Athletic Trainer: AT’s are skilled health professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide medical services to all types of patients, not just athletes participating in sports but can work in variety of job settings. They provide services such as prevention of injuries and emergency care along with clinical diagnosis of injuries and medical conditions. They work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes.

A job shadowing experience can be anywhere from a few hours to a day depending on what you arrange with the therapist you’ve chosen to shadow. To schedule a job shadow with one of your therapists, please call one of our six locations to set this up. We look forward to helping you along your career path and hope job shadowing will be a useful part of it. 

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA

St.Francis Physical Therapy 

January 29th, 2017

Posted In: General

Leave a Comment

« Previous PageNext Page »