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511 Gordon Avenue
Thomasville, GA, 31792

(229) 228-9019

THRIVE Physical Therapy and Fitness: Private Treatment Rooms, Manual Therapy, Women's Health, Chronic Pain, Spine Pain, Fitness Training, Weight Loss, Diabetes, Headaches, Sports Injury, Dance Recovery, Scar Release, Scoliosis, Balance Training, Vertigo, and more.


Life Is a Movement Journey ... Here's How Your Thrive Physical Therapist Can Help.

Dawn Muller


Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise in many parts of the country. And that means the transition from heating our homes to cooling our homes is right around the corner. No matter what method you use to cool your home during the warm spring and summer months (central air conditioning, window units, or fans and dehumidifiers), each spring you cross your fingers that your approach still works. If not, you might be calling an expert for a tune-up, or in extreme circumstances, you might need a complete overhaul.

Just like an AC system that has probably been dormant for many months of the year, a body that hasn’t been physically engaged on a regular basis may have trouble getting started again. And yet, this time of year, the warm temps draw many people to city and suburban streets, tracks and trails, ready to take that first run of the season. A good percentage of these spring runners haven’t kept up their strides throughout the winter. It should come as no surprise that a 4-mile run for a previously inactive person is going to stir up a few aches and pains.

Especially as we age, our ability to move undergoes changes. But whether we’re talking about a college student or a retiree, returning to an activity without proper planning is a recipe for disaster. That’s where Thrive Physical Therapy & Fitness comes in. Our Physical Therapists (PTs) are trained to treat injuries and ease pain, but they can also help their patients prevent injuries and safely prepare to participate in new activities.

Think of our physical therapists as “movement consultants” who can ensure that your body is physically ready to tackle a new challenge—or resume a favorite leisure activity. Here’s another example to illustrate what we’re talking about: Let’s say that you play in an adult soccer league and you’re preparing to play in your first game of the season in a few weeks. You probably hung up your cleats when the last season ended months ago, but expect to pick up just where you left off. But it’s simply too much to ask for your 2019 debut on the field to be on the same level as the last game of the previous season, when you likely had reached peak performance.

This is a good time for your PT at Thrive to step in and help you shake off the rust. As rehab professionals, we can customize an exercise plan to help you slowly return to sport and avoid an injury that could sideline you for the whole season. Or, like cleaning the filters before firing up your air conditioner for the first time this year, we can help to ensure that your body is prepared to return to its former activity level following a hiatus.

Getting to Know Your Therapist: Wally VanHeiningen, PTA

Dawn Muller

thrive2019 6.jpg

We’re so excited that Wally has joined our team! We asked him some questions about his path to becoming a therapist and we thought we’d share them here with you.

Why did you become a PT/PTA?
I wanted to pursue a career where I could continue to help people but in a safe environment that would afford me ample time with my family.

What steps did you take to make your physical therapy career happen?

I resigned from a lengthy career in LE and chose to apply to a PTA program near my family.  They accepted my application out of about 80 applicants to be a part of the PTA graduating class of 2018.

What were some of the jobs you had before you started your PT career?

Law Enforcement, US Marine and before that I was a college student at Georgia Southern University

What is your favorite part of being a PT/PTA?

Interacting with the patient/clients.  Making people smile and feel good about themselves.  I believe physical therapy extends beyond the physical and into the overall well-being of the patient/client.

What are some of the job’s biggest challenges?

Making therapy fun and unique for each patient.  Remembering that change and healing takes time and does not happen overnight. 

How do you make certain you are kept up-to-date on new research or PT practices?

In-service training.  Medbridge (an interactive PT portal).

What are some of your favorite courses you’ve taken? (cont ed or college)

Anatomy and Physiology I & II / Anatomy and Kinesiology / Patient Care

What is one interesting fact most of our readers/followers/patients may not know about you?
I have two tattoos.


Quick Facts:
Favorite Color: Blue      

Favorite Drink: Arnold Palmer

Favorite Foods: white cheddar popcorn, chicken wings, vegetables with ranch dip, grilled chicken, salad

Favorite exercise/activity: I’m a DIYer, yard work

Favorite vacation spot: What is vacation?

Favorite time of the year: Fall

Morning person or Night Owl? Morning person

Favorite quote: “The word ‘can’t’ is not in our vocabulary.” 

Ensuring Success in Your PT

Dawn Muller

Communicating your physical therapy goals can help your PT design an individualized rehab program.

Communicating your physical therapy goals can help your PT design an individualized rehab program.

When you kick off a new project at work, chances are you spend a fair amount of time setting and reviewing goals. These goals help you—and those you’ll be working with—get a clear sense of what you’re looking to achieve and begin to map out a plan of attack. Along with specific goals, you also probably find it helpful to set some key milestones to ensure that you stay on task and to prevent your motivation from waning.

These same principles apply when going to physical therapy for an injury. Communicating what you hope to get out your therapy sessions can help your physical therapist to individualize the treatment plan and design an exercise program that aligns with your goals. The idea is to move from “I’m here because my knee hurts” to “I’d like my knee to feel better so I can get back to doing X, Y and Z.”

Let’s talk about a concrete example to illustrate goal-setting in action: A father of three ruptures his Achilles tendon while playing a game of pickup basketball after work. When he lands in rehab, he explains to his PT that he’s due to walk his oldest daughter down the aisle at her wedding in a few months. This gives the PT a specific goal—and a timeline—to aim for. Of course, not every patient has a goal tied to such a momentous occasion. It can be as simple as carrying your groceries to your car unassisted or lifting your grandchild into a high chair. Either way, it’s important to have goals—and to communicate them clearly to your physical therapist.

Your PT wants you to get better but without the right guidance from you, he might default to following a checklist and design a program that unknowingly misses your goals. Only you know precisely what you want out of PT: If you have a wrist injury and getting back to your knitting hobby is important to you, then be specific! Another patient could come in with the same injury but have completely different goals, so guide your PT to help you achieve what’s most important.

Proper communication ensures success, and that means you can’t passively participate in your care and simply listen to what the PT recommends. Instead, communication needs to be a two-way street. So next time you’re at physical therapy, speak up: Make sure that your PT knows precisely why you’ve made the appointment, what you hope to get out of it and why it’s important to you. This information not only helps your PT make important decisions about your care but also to think of new ways to keep you motivated during therapy.

If you find yourself making an appointment to see a physical therapist for a new injury or a nagging pain, make sure that you prepare in advance. Being prepared to answer this one simple question can help to ensure that rehab is a success: What brings you to physical therapy today? After all, you wouldn’t walk into a kickoff meeting at work without first giving some thought to the goals that you planned to share with your team, would you?

Some Americans Pay More for Back Pain Relief, But Are They Really Getting Less?

Dawn Muller


Payless recently conducted a very telling social experiment. You probably heard about the shoe chain’s stunt in the news but just to recap quickly, “The Payless Experiment” tricked consumers into buying their typically budget-friendly shoes at sky-high markups. To carry out the clever ruse, the discount retailer invited style influencers to a (fake) launch party for a new high-end label in one of Los Angeles’ glitziest shopping areas. The attendees believed that they were buying fashionable, high-quality footwear and therefore didn’t object to the three-figure price tags.

Aside from being a brilliant marketing ploy for Payless, what lessons does “The Payless Experiment” have for our current healthcare system, and specifically for patients suffering from low back pain? The experiment is a commentary on perceived vs. real value but also how easily people can be swayed into believing that something is reliable as presented. Think about someone who has had weeks of pain and dysfunction stemming from low back pain: she wants to find a solution that will relieve her symptoms. If a physician presents surgery as the best option—and she’s assured that her pain will go away—then it’s going to sound appealing, right?

Today’s consumer has so many choices when shopping for just about anything from apparel to healthcare. But while it’s customary to shop for the best price for a goose down jacket (without sacrificing quality), shopping around for the best solution (and value) for our ailments is less typical. Doing our due diligence in healthcare may ultimately bring us back to the first proposed solution, but it also may introduce us to solutions that we didn’t know existed.

In the case of low back pain, one such under-heralded solution is physical therapy. Physical therapy, yoga and acupuncture are gaining in popularity as equally (or more) effective and less costly than surgical procedures, injections, MRIs and pain relievers—and for good reason.

Physical therapists are trained to restore and improve patients’ mobility, reduce soft tissue pain, improve function and build muscle strength. They not only develop custom strategies to treat persistent or recurrent low back pain, but educate patients on the prevention of future issues. Some preventive techniques include adopting and following a regular exercise program and learning to lift correctly by keeping the object close to the body.

As the holidays kick into high gear, you likely have a long list of gifts to buy. I’m willing to guess that you have a strategy in place for selecting appropriate gifts for each recipient. As you match the right price point, size and color to each person on your list this holiday season, think about approaching your healthcare needs with the same level of scrutiny. After all, finding the right solution at the right price for our health needs contributes to improved long-term outcomes and better piece of mind.

Get to Know Your Therapist: Brian Kimrey, RN, PT, DPT

Dawn Muller

During the month of October, we begin to celebrate the beginning of the new season. Here at THRIVE, we celebrate October to acknowledge our physical therapists! It is National Physical Therapy Month, and we cannot wait to introduce one of our newest PTs, Dr. Brian Kimrey!

Dr. Brian Kimrey RN, PT, DPT

Dr. Brian Kimrey RN, PT, DPT

We asked Dr. Kimrey to share with us a few of the experiences which led him to become a physical therapist. We want our patients to know that our PTs are passionate about their practice, and will work to the best of their ability to assist you in your healing journey.

Why did you become a PT? 
It’s the perfect blend of being a scientist and an educator. Selfishly, it’s gratifying to have a role in improving life for someone else. I like to study the body - it’s a pretty miraculous thing.

What steps did you take to make your PT career happen? 
When I started working as a nurse in 2013, I began at a Rehab Center to be close to therapy services. Over the next 2 years, I garnered observation hours - enough to apply to programs. I got to stay in Tallahassee at FAMU and worked the occasional evening or weekend at the Behavioral Health Center through school. FAMU exposed me to Thrive and for that I’m grateful.

What were some of your jobs you had before you started your PT career? 
I’ve been a nurse (still am) and I worked for a contractor in the BP oil spill, staff for a gym and carried chairs and umbrellas in the beach service.

What is your favorite part of being a PT?
To be redundant, seeing people improve and being a part of it. I appreciate the ability to have real conversations and intimate relationships teaching people what I think they’d like to know about their bodies.

What are some of the jobs biggest challenges?
To be frank - documentation! I love to talk and I love to treat I don’t really like sitting in front of a computer. - If that’s the biggest challenge, it’s not very big.

I want to be as effective as possible but sometimes progress is slow..

How do you make certain that you are kept up-to-date on new research or PT practices?
I’ve spent some free time at FAMU with new students in the cadaver lab. I prefer a shotgun approach to collecting information bout the body and its physiology. I don’t subscribe to any journals or publishings specifically, but I usually wrestle with a question in my head for months, slowly gathering resources to help grow my own conclusions.

I look forward to taking courses provided by the Postural Restoration Institute to make me a more capable and effective clinician.

What is one interesting fact most of our readers/patients may not know about you?
I have an identical twin brother and if physical therapy doesn’t work out, I would gladly be a dog trainer..

Quick Facts:
Fav Color: Don’t have one
Fav Drink: Water - Gotta be hydrated, people!
Fav Food: pizza and ice cream. (But I do love a hearty salad, too!)
Favorite Activity: I’m a powerlifter at heart, but I love walking Sue’s and my dog, Buford.
Fav Vacation Spot: Universal Studios, Orlando
Fav Time of Year: the present
Morning Person or Night Owl: Night owl by preference but I am in transition
Favorite Quote(s): “Strength is never a weakness.’ - Mark Bell
“Our Greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” -Confucius

Guest Blogger Post: Behind the Scenes (Erin Vick)

Dawn Muller

Here at Thrive, we absolutely love mentoring up-and-coming therapists in their clinical rotations. We’ve had many professional relationships extended years past clinicals simply from working so closely together during such a formative time in the students’ careers.

Today, we’re pleased to invite our current Student of Physical Therapy, Erin Vick to share with you about her experiences.


I have had the opportunity to work at Thrive PT as a student of Physical Therapy. I am from this area, but I had not had a personal experience with Thrive or any staff members. However, I had heard nothing but great things. I quickly realized that the good things I heard were more than true. The information I have learned goes beyond just knowledge about physical therapy.

I have spent the last three years learning about the human body related to movement and function. I quickly learned at Thrive that knowledge only takes you so far. Dr. Muller, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Kimrey do a wonderful job of using their knowledge to help and empower their patients. They listen to patient's and incorporate the patient's goals into their treatments. They also do a great job of creating treatments that are specific to each patient. Each treatment is one on one in a very calming environment.

Working here has been enjoyable. I may be working hard and treating patient's, but the environment is even soothing to me as a student of physical therapy. From the moment you walk in you are warmly greeted by the front desk staff. They may take patient's back to their own room that is set up with everything the therapist will need. The rooms are organized and have soothing music, decorations, and lighting.

The biggest thing I can take away from Thrive is that Physical Therapy is more than a job. It is a passion. Everyone here is passionate about what they do. I have also learned that patient's are more than their condition. I have realized that I could know everything there is to know about the human body and physical conditions, but without compassion and the ability to make the patient the center of the treatment it would not mean much. That is an area that Thrive has helped me grow in. They excel in providing patient-centered care. I am thankful Dr. Muller and Dr. Johnson agreed to take me under their wings as a student. I have had a great experience as a student. I hope I don't need physical therapy myself, but if I ever do I know where to come!