Friday, December 2, 2016

Chase's Toy Chest: Bringing Cheer to Children and Their Families

Meet Chase! 

Chase is a vibrant little boy born on November 1, 2014. Here’s Chase’s story! 

It’s TIME!! Baby Boy number 3 is on his way! The EXCITEMENT, the RUSH, the FEAR of another child on the way is different for every mother but Jessica was eager to meet her little bundle of joy! The pregnancy was very typical. All signs were pointing to a very healthy baby. But that wasn’t the case…

Chase was born with a gene mutation. A very rare mutation. In fact, he was only the 28th person diagnosed with what is known as KAT6A. Along with the gene mutation came many other diagnoses including Congential Heart Defect, Global Developmental Delay, Laryngomalacia, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Nephrocalcinosis, Hypotonia and is dependent on a G tube. Diagnoses most of us can’t even pronounce let alone fathom the journey this family would now be on. 

Chase was brought straight to the NICU after delivery. In a whirlwind of events, the family maintained their optimism and within 2 days of his birth, the team of doctors discovered Chase had 3 holes in his heart. With a congenital heart defect, doctors will typically perform standard chromosomal testing. Chase tested negative for all the tests. As days led to weeks, it was decided that it would be in Chase’s best interest to get a feeding tube. At only 5 weeks old, this little boy underwent his first major surgery. 

Still unable to take their little boy home, a second surgery was performed. This time Chase was 7 weeks old. Open Heart Surgery. The surgery was a success and FINALLY at 10 weeks old, Chase was brought HOME but there were still many unanswered questions. 

Over the course of the next few months, Chase underwent more genetic testing. Results… NEGATIVE. It wasn’t until the geneticist decided to do what’s called Whole Exome Sequencing. This particular test looks at every gene in the body. After 7 long months, they finally had the answer. KAT6A…. umm what?? You see KAT6A is an extremely rare genetic mutation. Not much is known about this current condition. As mentioned earlier, Chase was only the 28th person diagnosed. 

Chase and his family spent many holidays in the hospital and at times felt lonely, isolated… forgotten. Chase’s mom described feeling like “we don't fit in anywhere.” Days and night spent in the hospital hoping, praying and longing to come home. 

Through all these new challenges, Chase’s mother decided to give back. In tribute to all the doctors, family and friends that were there for them during these difficult times, she felt she HAD to do something to honor Chase and support other families going through similar situations. Chase’s Toy Chest was a way this family could give back. 

Chase’s Toy Chest (started in October 2015) is now a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting children and their families at local area hospitals. In just over a short amount of time, Chase’s Toy Chest has raised over $3,000 and a wide variety of toys! In fact, just this past Halloween, the family was able to bring Halloween bags to children at the hospital as well as donate 100 pumpkins pies to the families for Thanksgiving. 

Not many know the typical schedule for this little boy and his family. Participating in therapies 6 times a week, doctors appointments at least twice a month but this little boy and this amazing family still find time to give back to other so they never have to feel lonely, isolate and forgotten. 

When asked how Chase and his mother manage it all, she says “I know that Chase may not be with us forever, so I cherish every day I have with him. We work hard to set him up for the very best success” “We have also met so many amazing people on this journey including doctors, nurses, therapists and other families with special needs children”. 

Many times our lives bring us on an unexpected journey. With grace and optimism, this family continues to strive to give back to others. For this reason, Physical Therapy Consultants would like to show their support to Chase’s Toy Chest. Each clinic location will be collecting donations to give to this amazing organization. We will be collecting donations Dec 5, 2016 to Jan 6, 2017. Stop by any of our 6 clinic locations in Andover, Ham Lake, Saint Francis, Isanti, Zimmerman, and North Branch to drop off your donation. A wish list of donation items can be found at or

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Compliment your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Since we were so spoiled with the Fall weather here in Minnesota, I feel it is finally time for some good comfort food. What better time than the Holidays to make those favorite dishes. Now that we just had Thanksgiving and we have those lovely leftovers, my thought is to compliment them with a healthy soup. 

My new favorite is Apple Butternut Squash Soup. It would go great with some turkey and stuffing. You could even just throw in some left over sweet potatoes for a nice little twist. 
All you need is:

1 large apple, cored and diced
1 whole butternut squash seeded, cooked and peeled 
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped 
1 clove garlic 
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
A pinch of cinnamon, salt and pepper 

In a medium sauce pain , saute onion, garlic, apple and olive oil until tender. 
Place cooked squash, stock, cinnamon and apple mixture in blender and puree. This may have to be done in segments depending on the size of your blender. A food processor works great too! Once all ingredients are mixed into a fine soup, pour into a large pot on the stove, add salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a side of turkey and get cozy!!

Serves approximately 4 people

 Kerra Pietsch, PTA, C.F.N.C
Andover Physical Therapy 

Friday, November 18, 2016

$$$ Tips that Will Save You Thousands $$$

Have you every found yourself spending way more that you wanted to at the grocery store?? When leaving the grocery store with just a few bags of groceries in your hands, you couldn’t believe that you just spent $80?? I think we all can relate to this. I have learned tips and tricks of couponing from my mom who has been couponing for more than a decade. She saves over a thousand dollars per year using coupons. I couldn’t believe it was possible to save 30-50% on your grocery bill just by using coupons. There are a huge amount of printable/online coupons and discounts available now online. So in case you haven’t gotten into couponing, now is a great time to start. Here are some quick and easy tips for beginners.

#1 You can print off coupons online. Most all coupons can be printed about 2 times per computer monthly. Here are some of  the best resources to find online coupons:
a. can often go to and find items that you may have on your grocery list that are already on sale.
b.     Another amazing website that you can often find coupons and unadvertised deals is the, I love this site!!

#2: You can also find coupons in your Sunday newspaper. You will find mailer inserts such as Red Plum, P&G and Smart Source. There are a wide variety of coupons that range from cleaning products to groceries.

#3: Make sure you check the expiration date on the coupon: They must be used before they expire. They also have other restrictions to follow such as size, quantity, brand, make, etc.

#4, Lastly, there are apps that you can download on your phone for free. Are you a Target shopper? Personally, I love to shop at Target.  I combine my manufacturer coupons with the Target Cartwheel app on my phone. This app is very easy to use and it can save you up to hundreds per month. All you do is add offers to your cartwheel and then have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone at checkout.  It’s easy as that! Another easy app to use is Checkout 51. You can get cash back on milk, eggs, and everyday groceries.

Couponing does take time but it is worth it once you see your money savings! With Christmas arriving in a little over a month, you can start now to save extra money for gifts. Feel free to post any additional savings tips or post your favorite coupon website. We would love to hear from you! 

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
St.Francis Physical Therapy 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Enter to Win a FREE 30 Minute Massage!

This week we're going to keep it nice and simple, and give you a chance for a FANTASTIC reward of a FREE 30 minute massage for answering just ONE question in the comments below:

What are you thankful for TODAY?

RULES: Must post first AND last name at the end of your comment. One entry per person.

*Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, November 14th, at 9:00am. You will be notified with a response on your comment stating that you have won & will give you the phone number to call & schedule - so be sure to check back on our blog page to see if you were the winner!!

Massage Therapy is Available at:
Andover Physical Therapy, St. Francis Physical Therapy, Ham Lake Physical Therapy, Isanti Physical Therapy, and North Branch Physical Therapy.

Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

Monday, October 31, 2016

Work Conditioning 

Have you ever sustained an injury at work? Have you ever had to go on light duty or take some time off of work because of an injury? With more and more adults working outside the home and for longer hours, the prevalence of work related injuries is on the rise. It is estimated that over 70,000 work related injuries occur in Minnesota each year with over 20,000 of those cases involving a worker who missed work for a day or more. 

At Physical Therapy Consultants we work diligently to make sure our worker's compensation cases get back to work as soon as possible. One of the ways we ensure that a worker returns to work in a timely manner is through a program called Work Conditioning. 

So what is Work Conditioning?
    -Work Conditioning is a program geared towards getting the injured worker back to their prior level of function quickly and safely. 

How is Physical Therapy different from Work Conditioning? 
Physical Therapy addresses the specific body part that was injured. The type of injury may allow the worker to continue to work full time with/without restrictions or part time with/without restrictions and in some instances, a worker may not be able to work for a period of time. A worker who continues to work full duty is not losing strength and conditioning during their time in Physical Therapy.

On the other hand, for a worker that is not back to work full time or is working with restrictions may not be performing all their normal job duties while injured. These individuals can lose the full body conditioning they need to perform the job safely. 

Here's an example: Say a worker injures their shoulder and now has a 10lb lifting restriction for 3 weeks. During the 3 weeks of the restriction, they are not able to meet their job requirements of lifting 75lbs. Although they are participating in Physical Therapy to address their shoulder limitations, the rest of the body becomes affected by their inability to perform their normal job tasks. Therefore, the individual is losing strength, flexibility and endurance in their core, legs, and back.  Work Conditioning addresses these additional limitations placed on the body that occur secondary to the specific injury. Once Physical Therapy has addressed the specific injury and has regained structural integrity, work conditioning can restore the whole body to its previous level of strength, conditioning and endurance.

Who is work conditioning appropriate for? Any worker is appropriate that is not performing all of their job duties.  

Why is work conditioning necessary for me to do?  Returning straight back to prior level of activity after a time away is associated with higher levels of re-injury of the same body part.  There is also increased risk that another area of the body will become injured due to deconditioning. 

What activities are done in work conditioning? All our work conditioning sessions have a similar structure that is tailored for each individual. We include cardiovascular exercise to help build endurance and prepare the body for the work performed in the session. We include a weight training routine that is a full body, general strength routine. With the patient, we set up tasks that simulate the physical demands of their job to recondition the body to the specific tasks they need to return to. We start with the highest level of activity tolerated and gradually build from there until the patient has reached their prior level of function and is ready to return to their job safely.   

How do I get more information about Work Conditioning? Please call us! We would be happy to answer all your questions. If you are an injured worker- your doctor, adjuster and QRC will also, be able to answer your questions.

Sarah Mattfield, ATC 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pelvic Floor Therapy 

What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Pelvic floor dysfunction refers to a wide range of problems that occur when the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak, tight, or there is an problem with the neuromuscular system, low back, tailbone and/or hip joint.
Pelvic floor therapy is also commonly referred to as Women’s Health Physical Therapy although pelvic floor dysfunctions can happen to anyone. Changes in a woman's body can happen during or after pregnancy and the birth process, during aging or after a surgery or illness.  These changes often result in pain, decreased activity or confidence, and lifestyle changes.

What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They assist in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs, and help to control bladder, bowel and sexual activity.  Physical therapy can help by treating these muscles like any other muscle in the body with strengthening, stretching and neuromuscular re-education.

Why might someone start physical therapy?
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Urinary or Bowel Incontinence
  • Overactive Bladder
  • Pelvic Floor Weakness
  • Organ Prolapse

What happens at a physical therapy session?
Physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunctions are unique for each patient, depending on their symptoms, diagnosis and other contributing medical or personal history.  Your therapist will discuss each step with you prior to the session to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Our goal with physical therapy is to provide a comprehensive, compassionate therapeutic program aimed at improved pelvic floor function and minimized or relieved symptoms, thereby improving your ability to return to previous activities and quality of life.

What is the first step to getting help?
Call our clinic to see if this is an option to you, you can also speak to your doctor to determine if physical therapy is a great opportunity for you!
Our therapists work with you and your provider to develop an treatment program individualized to your needs and goals. Our specialized programs will help improve quality of life throughout all stages of a person’s life, from back pain during pregnancy to urine incontinence.

Lindsey Johnson PT, DPT, CSCS 
Saint Francis Physical Therapy 


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Codependency & You

Alright everyone, it’s time to get a wee bit more personal than usual. It’s a given at this point that there is no such thing as a “perfect” or “normal” relationship. And when I say relationship, I am including spouses, family, friends, coworkers, etc. We all have our quirks and disagreements, but when do you know if the relationships you’re surrounded by are toxic for your own well-being? It’s one of the hardest things to admit that there is a problem, and that you may need to distance, or even remove yourself from the situation entirely. This is something that I personally have struggled with, and am still working every day to maintain a boundary with those unhealthy people.
Image result for codependency quote    Have you ever heard the term “codependent”? Well, a codependent is someone who enables the unhealthy, which can be a very exhausting, and unrewarding way of living. This can mean that they are either supporting someone’s bad behaviors or constantly granting them excuses for their wrongs, enabling an addiction/mental illness, or simply just doing and saying what you need to, to keep the other person calm and happy. That being said, being a codependent does NOT make you a bad person. You’re usually trying to find the best in the people that may be dragging you through the mud, and trying to help or “save” them. Most times, they are not looking for help, they’re not looking to be “saved”; they’re looking for chaos. Something I’ve learned over the years is that you cannot save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. We are not in control of other people’s lives (and if you’re anything like me, this is one of the hardest to keep reminding yourself). 
So what can you do?

1.   Tell somebody! If you have even the slightest feeling that you may be involved in an unhealthy, toxic relationship, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is tell somebody you trust (that is NOT involved in the relationship). This can be a family member, friend, coworker, or reach out for professional help (counseling, your doctor, etc.). It IS healthy to accept help from others; it is most definitely NOT a sign of weakness. 
2.   Distance yourself. It’s never an easy task distancing yourself from someone you care a lot about. This is especially hard when it is a family member, but it is important for your own well-being to create a boundary when you find yourself in a roller-coaster relationship, with more dips than hills. It IS okay to tell someone “no”, and you do not need to explain yourself to anyone. I promise you, it’s not as hard or impossible as it sounds!
3.   Take care of YOURSELF. That’s right, when was the last time you did something solely for your own benefit? This can be exercise, art, music, taking a spa day, the possibilities are endless! Take a step back and evaluate, are you happy? It IS okay to be selfish sometimes, especially when you have spent so much time being selfless to make someone ELSE happy. Remember, your self-worth should be coming from internal sources, not those around you.  
Image result for unhealthy relationship

**If you or someone you care about suspects that they may be in an unhealthy relationship, please visit:  Help Someone in an Unhealthy Relationship: Quick tips

Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants