PTC Blog

The Good News

  • Minnesota’s estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2017 is at its lowest rate since the measurement started in 1973. 
  • Over the past decade workplace injury and illness rates have decreased by 33% in Minnesota.

The Bad News

  • There were 72,500 workers with OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries in Minnesota in 2017.

What Injuries are Occurring?

  • 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 19 percent of the cases.
  • The back (19 percent) was the most commonly injured body part, followed by hands (11 percent) and knees (10 percent).
  • The most common injury events were falls on the same level, with 15 percent of the cases, followed by  being struck by objects or equipment (13%) and overexertion while lifting or lowering (11%).

Many of the injuries that occur in the workplace are preventable and businesses are finding it beneficial to invest in injury prevention strategies. Physical Therapy Consultants offers a wide variety of services that are customizable to meet the needs of organizations. Ergonomic training, employee education, early discomfort management, and individual health and nutrition planning are all available. Please contact Dustin at for more information.

*Data obtained from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

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

December 11th, 2019

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Far too often we take for granted the opportunities we are given to make decisions. These decisions that you make day in and day out are typically ones that align with your values and goals. However, with the current state of information overload at your finger tips, some of the decisions we are making related to our health care have a major impact on whether or not we will be able to reach those goals.

Take control of your health. Find a health care provider that is right for you because ultimately it is YOUR CHOICE! You are in the drivers seat when it comes to finding someone who will listen to your concerns, address those concerns and work WITH you to develop the right plan to get you to where you want to be.

With the forever increasing healthcare costs, higher copays and outrageous deductibles, making the right choice is more vital now than ever before. Many times we feel limited due to insurance coverage, in network versus out of network providers and so on… but the truth is, this is YOUR life, YOUR health and YOUR right to find a location and provider that is best for

Choosing a physical therapist is no exception. Not all Physical Therapy clinics are alike just like not all doctor’s offices are alike. Finding the right Physical Therapist to meet your needs is not as daunting as it may seem.

Here are some things to look for in a Physical Therapist:

  1. Do they listen? Now I don’t mean they nod their heads when you talk and bury themselves in their computers- Do they really listen to you? Are they engaged in what you are saying and asking questions?
  2. Are they giving you education that makes sense to what you are being seen for?
  3. Are you welcomed with a warm smile from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave by every member of the team?
  4. Do they value your time by starting your appointments on time?
  5. Do they communicate with other members of your healthcare team to ensure everyone is on the same page with the emphasis of getting you to where you want to be?
  6. Are your providers seeking additional education to make them a better clinician? Are they staying up to date on the latest research in the ever changing health care system?

    Your time is valuable, your health is valuable, and your provider should make you feel that way. Get to know our staff and find a Physical Therapist that’s right for you!

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

December 4th, 2019

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Thanksgiving is known for spending time with friends and family and enjoying lots of delicious food! Maybe even too much food… Maybe your tradition following Thanksgiving dinner is watching football with your family or taking a nap! Here are a few easy ways to stay active following your Thanksgiving feast!

  1. Planks. Can start on your knees and elbows if a full plank is too challenging. Make sure to keep your glutes and your core muscles activated, and make sure your butt is not higher than your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Or make it a competition and challenge your family members to see who can hold it the longest!
  2. Push ups. Make sure your butt stays below your shoulders and your core muscles are activated. For younger family members you can have them do wall push ups maintaining the same form. Challenge friends and family to see who can do the most with good form.
  3. Flag football. Play a backyard game of flag football, basketball, or whatever sport your family enjoys! They don’t require much equipment and it’s a fun way to burn off those calories. Bragging rights carry over to next year for the winning team! What are some ways your family likes to stay active? Do you have any traditions? Let us know in the comments below!

    Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Holiday!

    Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
    Physical Therapist
    Isanti Physical Therapy

November 27th, 2019

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More and more patients come in to the clinic to be treated for fibromyalgia or it is secondary to another injury or problem we are dealing with.  

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. Many people dealing with fibromyalgia, mainly women between the ages of 25-50, also experience fatigue, sleep, memory and mood difficulties. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be due to changes in how the nervous system processes pain. It might be triggered by trauma, surgery, infection, arthritis, or major emotional stress, or it may develop gradually over time.   

Living with fibromyalgia is not easy, your pain and other symptoms may vary from day to day making it difficult to complete tasks throughout the day.  Research has shown that the when a Fibromyalgia patient is properly educated and prescribed an aerobic and strengthening exercise program it can to help to manage symptoms, but fear of the pain becoming worse often keeps people from beginning an exercise program. In physical therapy a patient will be taught how to understand their pain signals and how to manage and decrease their symptoms through a customized exercise  program.  

Regular, moderate exercise along with proper diet are important aspects to helping manage fibromyalgia. In physical therapy the patient will be evaluated to determine what is correct treatment approach for them, which may include:

  • Manual Therapy to decrease soft tissue restrictions and improve joint mobility
  • Aerobic conditioning such as walking, biking, elliptical.
  • Stretching program to improve muscle elasticity and flexibility.
  • Aquatic exercise to strengthen, improve cardiovascular endurance and stretch in a buoyancy assisted environment to decrease pressure place upon joints making it easier and less painful to exercise.
  • Deep breathing techniques to improve relaxation and decrease stress.
  • Modalities such as the application of heating or cold packs and/or a TENS unit to help decrease pain in certain areas.

Everyone’s severity of the disorder is different and incorporating new treatments or changes in lifestyle should be done gradually to not increase “flare ups.” Before engaging in a new exercises program or diet consult with a Physician and/or participate in physical therapy to learn how control symptoms. 

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

November 13th, 2019

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Fall means pumpkin EVERYTHING and these truffles are the perfect place to start. A simple mixture gets rolled together and coated in white chocolate for a super easy no-bake dessert. 

3/4 c. crushed ginger snaps, divided
3/4 c. crushed graham crackers, divided
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 c. melted white chocolate, divided
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of kosher salt
1 tbsp. coconut oil

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together ginger snaps and graham cracker crumbs. Set aside 2 tablespoons for topping. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup melted white chocolate, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and beat until incorporated. Mix in cookie crumbs.
  3. Scoop mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and freeze until solid, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Mix together remaining 2 cups melted white chocolate with coconut oil, then dunk truffles to coat. Place back on baking sheet, and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. 
  5. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes, or until ready to serve.

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

November 6th, 2019

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The National Athletic Trainers’ Association has recently released an official statement with health-focused recommendations to reduce the risk of injury due to youth sports specialization. The statement has been endorsed by Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society, Professional Hockey Athletic Training Society, Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers’ Society, National Basketball Athletic Trainers’ Association, Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers’ Society and the NATA Intercollegiate Sports Medicine Council. The statement includes the following recommendations, all aimed at address the health and well-being adolescent and young athletes:

1. Delay specializing in a single sport for as long as possible: Sport specialization is often described as participating and/or training for a single sport year-round. Adolescent and young athletes should strive to participate, or sample, a variety of sports. This recommendation supports general physical fitness, athleticism and reduces injury risk in athletes.

2. One team at a time: Adolescent and young athletes should participate in one organized sport per season. Many adolescent and young athletes participate or train year-round in a single sport, while simultaneously competing in other organized sports. Total volume of organized sport participation per season is an important risk factor for injury.

3. Less than eight months per year: Adolescent and young athletes should not play a single sport more than eight months per year.

4. No more hours/week than age in years: Adolescent and young athletes should not participate in organized sport and/or activity more hours per week than their age (i.e., a 12-year-old athlete should not participate in more than 12 hours per week of organized sport).

5. Two days of rest per week: Adolescent and young athletes should have a minimum of two days off per week from organized training and competition. Athletes should not participate in other organized team sports, competitions and/or training on rest and recovery days.

6. Rest and recovery time from organized sport participation: Adolescent and young athletes should spend time away from organized sport and/or activity at the end of each competitive season. This allows for both physical and mental recovery, promotes health and well-being and minimizes injury risk and burnout/dropout.

Printable Infographic on Youth Sport Specialization Safety Recommendations

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

October 30th, 2019

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In most healthcare facilities there is a team of providers that work together to help make you feel better. Physical Therapy is no different! At Physical Therapy Consultants we have a great TEAM of providers that will help you recover and get back to the things you love to do! Everyone from the front desk specialists, physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), athletic trainers (ATs), and massage therapists work together to create the perfect plan for you! But what’s the difference between a PT and a PTA?!? They seem to do the same things and you receive great care from
both! This is awesome because that means you get better faster because it doesn’t matter who you see! Let’s break it down a little bit.


Physical Therapist (PTs): All Physical Therapist programs now are clinical doctorate degrees (Yes that means you can call us Dr! No that means you don’t have to! 😊 ) PTs have bachelor’s degrees where they have to complete pre-requisite classes in anatomy, physics, psychology, etc. to prepare for graduate school. Following their bachelor’s degree, graduate school is required. Programs vary in length but are usually around 3 years with hands on internships mixed in. That means total schooling for a PT is 7 years of college. Followed by a licensure exam which is one everything learned in school, prior to becoming a licensed physical therapist and treating patients.

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTAs): Physical Therapist Assistant programs are associates degrees. PTAs have to complete pre-requisite courses in anatomy, physics, psychology etc., just like PTs do. The PTA programs vary in length, but is usually about 2.5 years. Many PTAs have a bachelor’s degree and then get their PTA degree. PTAs also complete hands on internships throughout their schooling. Total schooling for a PTA is usually about 4 years with pre-requisite classes (longer if they get their bachelor’s). PTAs also have to compete a licensure exam, prior to becoming a licensed physical therapist assistant and treating patients.


Physical Therapist: PTs are the only ones that can complete initial evaluations (your first visit) and establish a plan of care for the rest of your treatment sessions. Physical therapists make goals based on their findings, to help you get back to the things you love. They also determine when goals need to be updated or changed based on progress through treatments. Physical therapists are the only ones that can perform dry needling (in a PT clinic) and manipulations. Otherwise, they treat you individually to improve ROM, strength, and decrease pain, so it’s no longer interfering with your daily life.

Physical Therapist Assistant: PTAs follow the plan of care established on the first visit. They can perform all components of a treatment session including manual therapy, exercises, and modalities such as taping, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. If a PTA thinks that a patient could benefit from a certain type of treatment, but it’s not currently being performed, they must get permission from the PT before starting it. PTAs can take measurements for progress notes to help the PT determine progress toward goals. PTAs can’t perform manipulations, but they can perform mobilizations and dry needling.

I hope this helps clear up the differences in the two professions. The best part is each member of our AWESOME TEAM, will do everything they can to get you feeling better as soon as possible! If you are interested in learning more about PT as patient or a career or are interested in a job shadow give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY.

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

October 24th, 2019

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That’s a great question!

You have probably heard that Minnesota has what is called “Direct Access” to a Physical Therapist. This is good news but can also be really confusing.

Let’s clear up some of that confusion!

Although Minnesota is an Open Access state, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a doctor’s order is not required. Every insurance plan has its own specifications that providers and you, the insured, must follow. Since every insurance provider is different and has multiple plans, our billing department proactively checks all insurance coverage prior to your evaluation to make sure that we have everything we need so you can continue your treatment as planned.

Here is a list of plans that we have verified require a doctor’s order for physical therapy:

All Medicare Replacement plans
All Veterans Administered plans
Blue Cross Union plans
All Medica plans
All Ucare plans
Medical Assistance
All Workers Compensation
Primary Care Clinic (PCC) plans for all insurance carriers

What health care professionals can provide you with a doctor’s order for physical therapy?

Any Medical Doctor (MD), Physician Assistant (PA-C), Nurse Practioner (CNP), Chiropractor, or Dentist can provide your with a doctor’s order to physical therapy. The only exceptions are for VA and PCC plans. VA plans are strictly MD only and PCC plans need the referral to be from your chosen primary care clinic.

So what can you do to be sure that you and your Physical Therapy provider of choice have everything needed to get started with physical therapy with or without a doctor’s order?

There are a couple ways you can verify your insurance coverage:

  1. Directly call your insurance provider and ask them about outpatient coverage at a Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc location of your choice.

    Here are some questions to ask to get you started:
    Do I need a doctor’s order for physical therapy?
    Will I have a copay?
    What is my deductible and co-insurance?
    Do I have a visit limit?
  2. When calling to schedule your initial evaluation, provide the front desk specialist with your insurance information including type, group number and ID number. Be sure to specify during that call if your plan is related to worker’s compensation or an auto injury claim.
  3. Call our billing department directly at 763-269-8065. Let them know that you are wanting to determine coverage for physical therapy services at a Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc. location of your choice. Provide our billing specialist with insurance information including type, group number and ID number. Be sure to specify during that call if your plan is related to worker’s compensation or an auto injury claim. Our billing specialists will also be asking similar questions to your insurance carrier upon scheduling your initial evaluation. This process is completed before your first appointment. Our team of experts will do their best to get the most accurate information related to your insurance coverage however it is important for you, the insured, to know your responsibility related to
    your care and your insurance coverage.

    We hope this helps to clear up any confusion related to your care. Be sure to reach out to our billing department directly at 763-269-8065 with questions related to your insurance coverage.

    We are happy to help get you started on the right path in your physical therapy journey!

    Written by Megan Rasmussen, Billing Specialist and Jackie Giese, Director of Marketing

October 17th, 2019

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Although physical therapy is practiced 365 days a year in settings such as outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals, we like to take a step back and celebrate the physical therapy community as a whole in the month of October. The goal of Physical Therapy Month is to raise awareness of the important role physical therapy can play to help transform communities by improving function in people’s lives.

In our clinics we work together as a team, which consists of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and athletic trainers to provide exceptional care. We treat the spine, sports and occupational injuries, as well as orthopedic and neurological disorders. 

If you have never been to physical therapy here is a little glimpse at what to expect:         

  • You will be evaluated and treated by a Physical Therapist to determine the appropriate plan of care for your situation.
  • Subsequent appointments will be provided by a team member to implement your established plan of care. We promote healing with a combination of hands on manual therapy, exercise, modalities and patient education. 
  • You will be given a home exercise program which is selected according to the deficits found. These  exercises are encouraged to be performed throughout your care and after you have been discharged from physical therapy to maximize your outcomes. Exercises will change throughout your plan of care as your progress towards your goals.

Here at Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc., it is our mission is to provide you the care you want and the results you need to help you live the life you deserve. 

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Andover Physical Therapy  

October 4th, 2019

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Over 1 million joint replacement surgeries are performed every year in the US. By the year 2030, that number is supposed to increase to over 4 million. That’s a lot of artificial knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, and elbows. The most common cause of joint replacements is arthritis, or degeneration of the joint surfaces. This can lead to pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased function.

Physical therapy is a great place to address limitations caused by pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased function! Physical therapy is also recommended prior to joint replacement surgery. Some might ask “Why should I go to physical therapy if I’m just planning on having surgery anyway?”. That is a great question! Will physical therapy be able to “fix” the
arthritis in your joint? Meaning, can we restore the normal amount of cartilage and lubrication to joint and make it look like that joint is the same as a 20 year old athlete? The answer to that question is no. Once the cartilage in the joint is gone, the only way to replace it, is by artificial means. That doesn’t mean that physical therapy can’t help address your limitations prior to surgery. In some cases patients have even done so well in physical surgery they opt to postpone their surgery for a period of time, or even indefinitely!

Physical therapy can improve strength and ROM in the painful joint prior to surgery. A joint that has better strength and ROM going into surgery leads to better outcomes following surgery! Physical therapy is more than just giving you exercises, that may lead to muscle soreness. We can use a variety of techniques to address pain, ROM limitations, and limitations in daily life
including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ice, balance, stretching exercises, and strengthening exercises.

Interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you before and after a joint replacement?!?! You are in luck! Isanti Physical Therapy is hosting a FREE joint replacement workshop on Wednesday, October 2nd at 7pm. Check out our website or register at

Hope to see you at the workshop!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

September 18th, 2019

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