PTC Blog

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

Posted In: General

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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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I can’t believe summer is over and it is time to get back to school. This week I wanted to talk about the importance of backpack safety and how we can prevent injury to our growing children. Even kids as young as elementary school age, can complain of neck, back and shoulder pain due to improper use or weight of their backpacks.

 Here are a few helpful tips to decrease the risk of backpack related injury.

  • The top of your backpack should sit just below the shoulders and bottom of the backpack should never hang more than 2 inches below the waist.
  • Place heavier items closest to your back. If you find yourself leaning forward to compensate for the weight, the back pack is too heavy and placing a lot on strain on your mid back. Backpacks should never be heavier than 10-15% of the child’s body weight.
  •  Don’t sling your backpack over one shoulder, urge your child to always use both straps.
  • Use the waist strap to help distribute the weight evenly.
  • Sometimes a rolling backpack is necessary. However, keep in mind they are not easy to roll through snow or up stairs which prompts the child to carry it.

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

September 4th, 2019

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; that we all know. A good, filling, (and most importantly!) satisfying meal can really set the day up for success. Three of my favorite foods that come to mind when thinking of breakfast? Maple, bacon, and waffles. You will absolutely love these maple, bacon waffles! 
Gather your Ingredients, you’ll need:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup 0% unsweetened greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats, gluten free optional
  • 1 cup chopped cooked bacon


  1. Add eggs through oats to a blender and blend on high until completely combined and oats are broken down. Add chopped bacon and stir to combine.
  2. Heat waffle maker until hot and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Spoon 3/4 cup of the batter into the waffle maker and cook until browned.
  4. Top with butter and more maple syrup.

Share your thoughts below or share your favorite breakfast recipe! 

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

August 29th, 2019

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Foam rolling is great to decrease tightness through the fascia and muscles. The fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in the body. The fascia layer sits between the muscles and the skin as a protective layer over the muscles. Foam rolling can help stretch muscles and strengthen core muscles. Here are 5 exercises using a foam roller!

  1. Supine Pec Stretch. Take a long foam roller and lay on it parallel to your spine. Lay on the foam roller from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Bring your arms out to your side. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat at least 2 times.
  2. Swimmers. Laying on a foam roller from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Start with both arms up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower one arm over your head while lowering the other arm towards your hip. Alternate these movements with each arm. Complete 10-20
  3. Dead Bug. Laying on a foam roller from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Bend your knee and have a foot flat on the ground. Have the arm on the opposite side relaxed at your side. Straighten the leg and move the opposite arm over your head. Next move in an opposite motion to raise the other arm and straighten the other leg.
  4. Illiotibial Band. Lie on your side and place the foam roller beneath the outside of your thigh just above the knee. Bring your other leg across the body and plant the foot on the ground. Using your upper body and that leg, roll the outside of the tight back and forth holding over tender spots for up to 10 seconds until the soreness subsides.
  5. Achilles Tendon/Calf. In a seated position with your leg outstretched and your other knee bent, place the foam roller beneath the outstretched leg just above the ankle. Lift your body off the ground with your arms and then roll the lower leg back and forth, holding over tender spots for up to 10 seconds until the soreness subsides. For more compression overlap your other leg over the targeted leg.


    What’s your favorite way to foam roll? Let us know what you think of these exercises! They are great to complete as a part or following your workout!

    Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
    Physical Therapist
    Isanti Physical Therapy

August 17th, 2019

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Most people think of heart rate or blood pressure when they think of vital signs. It is common to use numbers to quantify health and risk of disease. The American Heart Association encourages people to “know their numbers” referring to blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and weight. However, research is now showing the importance of moving properly for health. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers you can use to quantify your movement health:

Walking Speed
Walking speed has been called the “sixth vital sign” in medical literature recently. It is easy to measure, and takes into account strength, balance, coordination, confidence, cardiovascular fitness, tolerance to activity, and a whole host of other factors. It has also been shown to be predictive of future hospitalizations, functional decline, and overall mortality. Normal walking speed is considered to be 1.2 to 1.4 meters per second.

Push Ups
Push ups are popular to build strength, but a recent study found that they can show us a lot about your heart too. Researchers found that men who could do 40 or more consecutive push ups were at a 96% lower risk for cardiovascular disease than were men who could do less than 10. The push up test was also more useful in predicting future cardiovascular disease than aerobic capacity measured on a treadmill.

Grip Strength
Hand grip strength has been shown to be strongly correlated with health. The stronger your hand grip is, the less likely you are to suffer from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, COPD, and all types of cancer. In the study, muscle weakness was defined as grip strength <26 kg for men and <16 kg for women. Grip strength below these numbers was highly correlated with an increase in disease.

Standing From the Floor
If you can’t easily get down on the floor and back up your health might be in trouble, according to a study that looked at more than 2,000 people. The study asked people to go from standing to sitting on the floor and back up with as little support as needed. They found that if you need to use more than one hand to get up and down from the floor that you were 2 to 5 times more likely to die in the next 7 years than someone who can do it with just one hand, or even better, no hands at all.

Moving well is obviously important to overall health and longer life. These tests can give a snapshot of how you’re doing. If you’re having trouble with any of them, considering seeing a movement specialist – your physical therapist.

Article first published by The Private Practice Section of The American Physical Therapy Association.

August 11th, 2019

Posted In: General

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