PTC Blog

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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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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