Tri-Aquatics Gives Moms Some Relaxation and Strengthening

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By: Andrea Pettit, Tri-County Health Care Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)

Andrea with her family.

The water is a great environment to be in when you are pregnant! Water can help with swelling, and the buoyancy of water can help take some pressure from the baby off of your pelvis. Our therapy pool is a warm 90-92 degrees, not too warm for you and your baby, but it allows great relaxation for those achy, sore muscles. It feels great!

With my last pregnancy, I was in the pool three days a week, and it was awesome to be able to continue to exercise without pain. Then, after Boone was born, getting back in the pool was a great place for me to start core-strengthening exercises.

Tri-Aquatics started about two years ago with some of the staff participating in special training. Stacey Callahan, PT, DPT, and I recently attended continuing education aquatic classes aimed at female clients and have even more great things to share with you. We learned specific stretches and strengthening exercises, such as hip flexor stretches and modified yoga stretching and strengthening to help relieve pain and keep you active throughout your pregnancy.

You don’t need a membership at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center (MAS) to join the Moms Course, and the class is free. Yes, free!

If you need further work with physical therapy, it could be covered under your insurance. You do not need to wear a swimsuit. It can be shorts and a T-shirt if that’s what you’re comfortable in. In fact, a lot of our patients wear shorts and a T-shirt.

Can’t wait to see you in class!

*Our next Moms Course will be held on Monday, May 22, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the MAS, and you’re invited! The instructors are Stacey Callahan, PT, DPT, and Andrea Pettit, PTA.

To register, click here. Class size is limited to 10 attendees.


Tri Aquatics: New Mom Course

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Jeremy & his family.

Jeremy & his family.

Hello all, my name is Jeremy Meyer. I have been a Physical Therapist at TCHC for nearly eight years. I have two beautiful children with my gorgeous wife Alison who also works for TCHC as a Nurse Practitioner, primarily at the Bertha Clinic. When my wife was pregnant with our almost 2-year-old daughter, she was starting to get a lot of low back pain and sacroiliac joint pain (SI pain). She had a significant amount of swelling in her legs starting at 17 weeks. At that time the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center was not up and running yet but was close to opening. Luckily, we were able to transform our home spa from a hot tub to a lukewarm pregnant momma sanctuary. The Physical Therapist in me knew the water would benefit her and this was the best we had at the time. It really seemed to benefit her swelling, reduce her low-back pain and give her 30-40 minutes of reduced discomfort in her entire body. Not only was I excited that my wife could find some comfort, but I was also excited for our patients and community knowing that TCHC would have access to the warm water therapy pool once the wellness center was open in Wadena. This was amazing when my wife was pregnant with our son who is 3-months-old now. The therapy pool is much bigger and nicer than our lukewarm pregnant momma sanctuary at home!

What is Tri Aquatic Therapy?

Tri Aquatic Therapy is a specialized form of physical and occupational therapy. It not only improves motion and flexibility, but also the warmth of 92°F water provides therapeutic effects to allow a patient’s muscles to relax while helping to reduce pain. Through an arrangement with the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center, Tri-County Health Care offers access to one of the area’s premiere therapy pools. Paired with our highly skilled and trained staff, patients can expect one of the most comprehensive therapy programs in central Minnesota.

Tri Aquatic Therapy

Tri Aquatic Therapy

We have now been in the warm water therapy pool at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center for nearly two years. We’ve utilized the pool for patients of all ages and impairments. Including:

  • Pediatric patients for strengthening, coordination, and sensory impairments.
  • Patients with low back pain, arthritic pain, and return to function after healing from a surgery.
  • Reduction of pain in our new expecting mothers.
  • New mothers who are still having issues after bringing a new life to this world.

I feel that we at TCHC can do more for all of the new mothers or expecting mothers in our community. Utilization of the warm water pool is an amazing place to start. The Maslowski Wellness and Research Center is an awesome facility with an out of this world staff.

We’re excited to be hosting our first-ever Tri Aquatics Moms Course on November 10th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm! Stacey Callahan, PT, DPT (mom of one), and Katherine Dittmann, COTA (mom of two), who are also aquatictriaquaticsmomscoursefb therapists, will guide mothers through this relaxing one-hour-class.  They each personally know the benefits of getting into the warm water pool for reducing pain and maintaining strength during the pregnancy. They know how safe it is to be in the water and will share their personal stories with you at the class.

You don’t have to be a member at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center to attend to the class. As well, you don’t have to be a patient at TCHC. The class is free, but is limited to 15 people. Please contact TCHC Rehab front desk at 218-631-7475 to reserve your spot for the class.

To learn more click here:

TODAY! May 6th is Wishbone Day – Osteogenesis Imperfecta Awareness

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Today’s post comes from a passionate area mother who grew up in Bertha and was one of our grand prize winners of our Moment’s Matter contest in January for a photo and story that she submitted of her son Easton. He now benefits from our new offering of Aquatic Therapy twice a week. Read her story below….

By: Chelsey Braaten

I want to introduce you to a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, otherwise known as Brittle Bone Disease. I had never may6thheard of this disease until almost three years ago, and now it is my life. I was at my routine twenty week gestation ultrasound when the medical staff discovered my baby had shortened and bowed femurs, I was then sent on to a level three ultrasound in St. Cloud with a Perinatologist, someone who specializes in babies in utero. The physician discovered my baby had a skeletal dysplasia, although what type was still undetermined. We were followed closely throughout my pregnancy and at 36 weeks, I was transferred to the Twin Cities to await my baby’s arrival.

IMG_7918At 37 ½ weeks I gave birth at Abbott Northwestern to a beautiful baby boy, Easton Bradley Braaten who weighed 6 lbs. 9oz. and was 17in. in length. He had many medical concerns, but I was so relieved to see my beautiful baby breathing and alive. He was born with a high femur fracture and at eight weeks, he endured another femur fracture that helped determine his diagnosis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 3. Type 3 is the most severe among children who survive the neonatal period.

Some characteristics of this disease are blue scalara (where the whites of the eyes are blue in tint), shortened and bowed limbs, short in stature and frequent fractures. Since his birth, Easton has had multiple surgeries, a port-a-cath placement for his infusions (a drug called pamidronate that is infused every 12 weeks to strengthen the bone as it grows), ear tubes (twice), teeth capped (twice), inguinal hernia repair, undesended testicle as well as two sedated tests.

In our future, we know that Easton will have future rodding surgery where they will straighten his femurs and tibias and place them on telescoping rods to straighten them to have maximum functionality. Aside from all of the medical terms and conditions, Easton is a fun-loving, spontaneous, energetic and funny little three-year-old boy who portrays bravery and strength. Easton may have an awful disease that will affect him the rest of his life, but we will not let this disease control him. We strive to give him the most normal life as possible by letting him do what any other three-year-old boy would want to do, besides the fact of telling him to be careful at least 100 times a day!

Our life is crazy busy with doctor appointments, follow-ups, surgeries, and therapies, but I would not change anything for the world. Easton has blessed us in a way I cannot explain. He has taught so many people so much about life and how we are not in control. We try to take things in stride and accomplish things day by day. Easton is truly a walking little miracle that fills our life with laughter, joy, and may times tears.

May 6th is a BIG day for our family that includes a lot of YELLOW. May 6th is National O.I. Awareness Day and we encourage everyone that supports, loves or even admires Easton, and all the children living with his disease, to wear yellow and spread awareness. I am always in awe at how much yellow and how much love and support we have gained in just three short years. Through this life experience, I have learned that no child was handpicked or chosen with what he or she has been dealt with in life. When you see someone with a disability, send a smile and know they are someone’s miracle and blessing! I hope you will join our family in making May 6th a memorable day and wear YELLOW to advocate for awareness for children like Easton with Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

Chelsey's family

Chelsey’s family

Aquatic Therapy

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By: Lora Foust, Occupational Therapist

Lora Foust, OT

Lora Foust, OT

I am an occupational therapist who works with people of all ages to become more independent in daily tasks. Do you know what a privilege we have to do aquatic therapy? I challenge you to research aquatic therapy and sensory integration or autism spectrum disorder, stroke or cerebral palsy, arthritis or fibromyalgia, among others. Water is comforting and relaxing. It was the first medium our bodies knew in the womb. Its buoyancy decreases weight and stress on the joints. The hydrostatic pressure reduces swelling and offsets blood pooling. Its viscosity allows therapists to increase or decrease how hard the person trains and increases body awareness. The therapist can use flow or drag to make the therapy fit the person’s needs. I witnessed aquatic therapy in Germany years ago. In one setting it was used to bring back movement in limbs that were affected by a stroke. Another client had lost a limb in an accident and was learning his new center of gravity with the support and safety of the water. A child with special needs was learning to walk. In Mercy-North Iowa in Mason City, a therapist friend of mine led a group called “Rusty Hinges”. People with arthritis learned to move without pain. Aquatic therapy is not for every patient or every condition we treat, but it is a wonderful tool to use with some. I can hardly wait to get started!

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy

Stacey Sellner, PT, speaks about the benefits of Aquatic Therapy next to the warm water therapy pool at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center: