PTC Blog

During this time of uncertainty, it is normal to feel sad, confused, scared or angry. Frankly this whole thing about COVID-19 stresses me out and it affects everyone in some form! The things that keep running through my head daily are: I need to keep working to provide for my family but going to work, what if I bring the virus home? Am I showing my kids too much stress and stressing them out? Am I going to be able to keep them on track with their distance learning? Are my friends and family going to be safe? Just to name a few! We are all going to deal with some form of stress during this time. Let’s be real, stress is never going to go away. These are a few things I am doing to help cope and keep my family moving a smooth as possible.

1) First and for most make sure you are doing your part by washing your hands and the new guidelines set in place by the state of Minnesota.

2) Take some time for yourself to either read or just breath!

Here are a few different breathing techniques, choose the one right for you!

Pursed lip breathing: inhale through your nose for 2 seconds and exhale through puckered or pursed lips for twice as long. This type of breathing technique helps move oxygen into the lungs and carbon dioxide out. This helps to decrease your breathing rate, as well as promote relaxation for the entire body. Repeat this technique 5-10 times.

Belly or Diaphragmatic breathing: Put one hand over your belly and the other hand over your chest. Take a deep breath so that your hand on your belly moves with the inhale to a count of 4. Slowly exhale and feel your hands move with the breath you take. Repeat this technique 5-10 times.

Square breathing: slowly exhale getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Inhale slowly for a count of 4 and then hold your breath for a count of 4. Slowly exhale for a count of 4 and hold your breath for a count of 4. Repeat this cycle 5 to 10 times.

3) Continue to connect with people while still practicing social distancing. Talk on the phone, text, email or my new favorite Zoom. I was able to talk with 6 of my friends while each still in our home and see each other. These are the times I am so grateful for technology. There are a few different ways to visually chat with people. Zoom is one that my friends had so that is what I got, I’m not very technically savvy.

4) Keep ACTIVE!! There are many different exercise companies doing fitness workouts online. Some have a charge or a month trial for free. If you are a member of Facebook, check your local gym’s page, many instructors are doing live classes from home to keep us moving. With my children we pick a different sport to play each day while staying in the perimeters of our yard. Exercise is known to pump up endorphins, keep our mind healthy, regulate our mood and decrease overall stress!

Try these 5 exercises to get my heart rate up and use all the muscle groups. I have had my 8, 6 and 2 year old do these with me. It keeps are blood flowing and a smile on our face. Laughter is a great stress reliever too!


Standing jump down into a plank then jump legs in and return to standing. Modify if needed to: squat down, lunge one leg back then stand back up, alternate sides each time.


Mountain Climbers

Keeping in a plank position, alternate bringing knees to chest as if you were running. Modify to: standing high knees if wrist pain.


Jumping Jacks

Jump arms up over head and legs out at the same time then return to neutral. Modify to: one arm up and one leg out at a time, alternating.


Push Ups

Plank position, holding core tight, lower body to the floor then push through your arms. Modify to: keeping knees on the floor.



Hold a plank position in full elbow extension with your legs spread slightly apart as shown. Do not let your back arch down. Modify to: keeping knees on the floor.


Perform each exercise for 1 min with 30 seconds of rest in between. Try to work up towards repeating each exercise 3 times for a quick 15-20 min workout. If any of these exercises are too difficult modify as needed.

Remember we are all in this together and we will get through it! Stay safe!

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

April 1st, 2020

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National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread awareness about the important work of athletic trainers. The 2020 slogan is “ATs Impact Health Care Through Action.”  Here are 20 facts about athletic trainers provided by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association:

1. Athletic Trainers are health care professionals.

2. The appropriate title is athletic trainer or AT, but not trainer.

3. There are more than 58,000 certified athletic trainers around the world.

4. Athletic Training education follows a medical model that includes clinical rotations. This is on par with what is required of students pursuing other degrees in health care, such as physical therapy or nursing.

5. Athletic Trainers must receive a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. Beginning in Fall 2022, a Master’s degree will be the minimum entry point into the profession.

6. Upon graduation, Athletic Trainers must pass the national examination to obtain certification plus acquire necessary state licensure to practice in most states.

7. Athletic Trainers are educated in five domains including injury and illness prevention and wellness promotion, examination, assessment and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, therapeutic intervention, and health care administration and professional responsibility.

8. Athletic Trainers work in many different settings including youth sports, high schools, colleges and universities, physician practices (in a similar capacity to nurses, physician assistants and other professional clinical personnel), rural and urban hospitals, sports medicine clinics, occupational health, public safety, military branches and performing arts.

9. Athletic Trainers provide emergency care for injury and illnesses such as concussion, cardiac arrest, spine injuries, heat stroke, diabetes, allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

10. Athletic Trainers are able to reduce absenteeism from work, school and sport through injury prevention measures, onsite health care and robust referral network for specialized care.

11. Athletic Trainers help reduce costs associated with unnecessary emergency room visits and diagnostic tests as well as rehabilitative costs before and after surgery.

12. Employing an Athletic Trainer has the potential to reduce insurance costs based on the standard prevention protocols that the athletic trainer manages and provides.

13. In some states, Athletic Trainers can bill insurances and be reimbursed for their services.

14. Athletic Trainers use best practices to promote optimal patient care and employee well-being.

15. Athletic Trainers play an important role in educating coaches and players on sport specific rules and regulations.

16. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) encourages schools that provide an interscholastic sports program to create policies that enhance the well-being of their student athletes including the utilization of an athletic trainer as part of their health care team.

17. An American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) study found that the presence of Athletic Trainers can have a significant positive impact on student athlete health, resulting in lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions for injuries such as concussion, and fewer recurrent injuries.

18. According to the latest research in the Journal of Athletic Training, 34% of secondary schools have no access to an athletic trainer.

19. Schools with athletic trainers are better at identifying athletes with concussions.

20. Recurrent injury rates were six time higher in girls’ soccer and nearly three times higher in girls’ basketball in schools without athletic trainers.

March 17th, 2020

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Who doesn’t like easy healthy meals. Sometimes the last thing I want to think about is what to make for dinner. Especially during these winter months, it can be hard to find the time and motivation to make a good meal. This is why I love the crock pot, a nice one stop shop!   One of my favorites is Chicken Tacos!
Chicken Tacos:    
4 chicken Breasts    
1 bag of frozen corn    
1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed     
1 can Tomatoes with juice   

For Taco seasoning mix together: (Quadruple the recipe to have on hand for future recipes!)

  • tablespoon chili powder
  •  ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 

Place all ingredients in crock pot on High for 4 hours. When Chicken is fully cooked use forks to shred the chicken while in the crock pot and mix ingredients together. Place on whole wheat tortilla with other fixings if desired and enjoy.  One of my favorite substitutions is using plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, more nutrients and less unwanted calories. The chicken mixture is also great on your favorite greens (Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, etc.) for a lighter option.

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

January 22nd, 2020

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Happy New Year! Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Millions of Americans make resolutions every January hoping to improve their health by losing weight, getting fit, or eating healthy. Make this the year you and your family lead a healthier lifestyle by following these 4 tips:

Tip #1: Be Physically Active Your Way: It is important to be physically active your way. Start by doing what you can and picking activities you like. To gain the most health benefits, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and youth should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily. 

Tip #2: Rethink Your Drink.
Substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe.

Tip #3: Get Enough Sleep. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Tip #4: Eat a Healthy Diet.  Make healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
St. Francis Physical Therapy

January 16th, 2020

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One of the principles of proper body mechanics as it relates to lifting and performing job tasks is power zones. The idea behind power zones is that they define the area around the body in which work is most safely performed. The further outside of these power zones that work is being done the greater the stress placed on the body and the more likely injuries are to occur.

There are 3 Power Zones:

Power Zone 1
Work should be done between shoulder and knee level.

Power Zone 2
Work should be done close to the body.

Power Zone 3
Work should be done in front of the body.

Whenever possible work that is being done should be evaluated to see if it meets safe (green) zones in each power zone. If work is found to be outside the safe zone (red) then modifications should be considered. These modifications can include setting up the work space differently to utilizing tools to accomplish job tasks. The principles of power zones can be applied to physically demanding jobs as well as office work and desk set up.

For more information on workplace ergonomics and to learn how Physical Therapy Consultants can help make your business safer, contact Dustin at

Dustin Eslinger, MA, LAT, ATC
Director of Athletic Training Services
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

January 8th, 2020

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Exercising in the winter months can be difficult due to the shorter days and colder temperatures.  On the more mild days escaping the hustle and bustle of the gym can be refreshing. There are many things to do for exercise outdoors but one of my favorites is snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is fairly inexpensive, in that the only cost is the snowshoes either from purchasing a set or renting. There are many health benefits from snowshoeing as well.

  • Low Impact – the snow acts as a shock absorber which decreases impact on your joints.
  • Cardiovascular Endurance and Burn Calories – working out in the cold weather increases your metabolic rate. With the added weight from your winter clothes and snowshoes along with the terrain, your body will work harder to keep it moving. The average 150 lb person can burn between 450-700 calories.
  • Build Muscles –

There is no skill level needed for snowshoeing and any age level can participate! Grab a friend or make it a family outing, find a nearby park and enjoy the great outdoors!

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

December 18th, 2019

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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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