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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.


Rose City (Run) Ready!

Dawn Muller


As of the writing of this article, we are about 2 weeks out from the Rose City 1 mile, 5k, and
10k walk/run on April 28, 2018 and the weather is getting perfect for lacing up the shoes and
hitting the pavement. But, first things first, let’s look at some training issues that could stop you in your tracks and keep you from crossing the finishing line.

● When was the last time you walked/ran/exercised? If the answer to that is "I dunno," then working back into your routine is best. If your last  run was 8 miles and your running
shoes have a layer of dust on them, then it is best to start out with a run that won’t take you
more than about 20 minutes.  Doing this will let you know if your body is ready for more miles or that you might want to build up more gradually.

● Are your shoes a little too worn or off little support anymore? It might be a good time to visit our friends at DASH at 127 E. Jackson St. to get a new pair and break them in before the race.

● Or maybe you've noticed your shoes are worn out along the insides of the shoes. You might be one of those “pronators”(where the big toe side of your foot rotates towards the floor and your arch flattens out). This can come from a number of things. Your arches might be naturally flatter for which an insert or specialized shoe might be just the fix. You might lack some strength and control coming from the hip that allows your foot to roll in.

Below, we’ll look at some strategies to fight that and work on preventing overuse injuries like
shin splints, knee cap pain, or ankle sprains.

● Ok, so maybe you have some knee pain when you go up and down stairs or when running ... so let's do a little test.  Find a mirror and perform a squat in front of it. Do your knees come towards each other when you are going down or up. No? Then grab a foot stool and slowly step down on the side. Does your knee wobble or hang out between the big toe and your leg that is off the stool (like having knock-knees)? If you answered yes to either of those two questions, it is likely time to pay attention to your hip strength. Check out the exercises below for some of my favorite strengthening exercises for improving the hip. (click on link, agree and click Verify to view) 

All written and filmed content on this blog is meant as instructional and informational. The authors of this blog are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.

Your Smartphone Could Be Rapidly Aging Your Spine

Dawn Muller

Chances are that you probably haven’t given much thought to how your neck and back are faring in the era of the smart phone, but studies show that you most certainly should. It’s practically a reflex these days to pull out our smart phones when we’re standing in line, sitting at the airport or riding the subway. And while it’s great that we rarely need to venture beyond our pockets for entertainment, our bodies are beginning to retaliate—and mourn the pre-texting days. So, what exactly are these contemporary conveniences doing to our bodies? A surgeon-led study that published in Surgical Technology International assessed what impact surgeons’ head and neck posture during surgery—a posture similar to that of smart-phone texters—has on their cervical spines. With each degree that our heads flex forward (as we stare at a screen below eye level), the strain on our spines dramatically increases. When an adult head (that weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position) tilts forward at 30 degrees, the weight seen by the spine climbs to a staggering 40 pounds, according to the study. 

How pervasive of a problem is this? According to the study, the average person spends 14 to 28 hours each week with their heads tilted over a laptop, smart phone or similar device. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 700 to 1400 hours of strain and stress on our spines. As a result, the number of people dealing with headaches, achy necks and shoulders and other associated pain has skyrocketed. Trained to address postural changes and functional declines, physical therapists are well-versed in treating this modern-day phenomenon, widely known as “text neck.”

Over time, this type of poor posture can have a cumulative effect, leading to spine degeneration, pinched nerves and muscle strains. Scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist can help people learn how to interact with their devices without harming their spines. The PT will prescribe an at-home program that includes strategies and exercises that focus on preserving the spine and preventing long-term damage.

Exercise is an important part of taking care of our spines as we age, but what we do when we’re not in motion matters, too. So next time you pick up your smart phone or curl up with your e-reader, do a quick check of your head and neck posture. Your body will thank you for years to come.

Physical Therapists Want to Help You Meet Your Health Goals in 2018

Dawn Muller


Celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of a new one has become synonymous with establishing resolutions for the 12 months ahead. Marking the new year with a list of goals—whether lofty or simple—is a chance to improve upon the year prior.

The practice requires a bit of introspection to identify the areas of life that weren’t quite up to snuff and a commitment to making changes. Either way, resolutions aren’t for the faint of heart, as the follow-through might be the hardest part of the whole process. In fact, a mere 8% of people achieve the goals they set for themselves on New Year’s Eve, according to research out of the University of Scranton.

As physical therapists, we acknowledge that we can do better, too. Whether it’s spending more time with our families, adhering to a more consistent sleep schedule, or learning a new sport, we scratch out the same lists everyone does at this time of the year. But on a professional front, we’ve added a new goal for 2018: attaching a better definition to the term “physical therapist.”

Chances are you know someone who recently had physical therapy, or maybe you even went yourself. But we are willing to bet you’d have trouble coming up with a quick way to define the service. We’re here to help! By background and training, physical therapists are movement specialists. Simple, right? We specialize in movement.

We spend our days helping those who are having trouble moving due to a variety of causes. We diagnose, evaluate, educate, treat, and prevent depending on the individual case. We handily teach patients how to prevent or manage their conditions in order to achieve long-term health benefits. Most of all, physical therapists help patients return to the activities they once enjoyed: time with family, school, work, and physical activities.

Much of the work in physical therapy involves setting goals for patients to reach. We develop plans to reduce pain, promote movement, and restore function and we help you meet those goals one step at a time. Let’s work together to reach our goals in 2018, and keep each other on track!

Insulin Resistance and Exercise

Dawn Muller


One of the hottest topics in medicine right now is the early detection of Insulin Resistance - and for good reason. Insulin resistance is a pre-cursor to what people know as type 2 diabetes. So what exactly is insulin resistance? Put simply, Insulin resistance (IR) happens when our bodies have difficulty using glucose for energy because glucose molecules in the blood cannot properly enter our cells. But WHY, you ask? Insulin resistance happens overtime by consuming too many food/drinks that are high in carbohydrates. This floods the blood stream with insulin to try to break down the carbohydrates/ sugar but the body can't keep up. This wears out the pancreas, the organ that makes the insulin. A sedentary lifestyle (read couch potato, desk jockey, hard core gamer) also makes you more like to develop IR. Exercise or activity uses carbohydrates as the main source of energy leaving less sugar running around in the blood stream. Ideally, the body prefers a slow steady level of carbohydrates for best performance and to keep it humming. Can insulin resistance improve or even better, be reversed? Absolutely, it can. Both exercise and a healthy, low carb, higher fiber diet can improve and reverse insulin resistance. At the stage of insulin resistance, the changes are reversible.

Here is a little more detailed information to help you understand how our bodies work:

Insulin is a messenger

Insulin is chemical messenger (aka hormone) produced by our pancreas. Similar to other hormones, the release of insulin into the body can be triggered by specific events. Insulin is triggered to be released from the pancreas when glucose (also called sugar) in the blood increases. This trigger occurs after consuming foods that contain sugar (simple or complex carbohydrates). Simple carbohydrates break down quicker into glucose than the body can make insulin which leads to spikes in insulin production. This causes inflammation in all of the cells in your body making them function like an older, less healthy cell. The good new is that complex carbs take longer to break down and cause a less pronounced insulin spike giving the body time to do it's insulin production. Insulin is like a key that guides glucose through “physiological doors” (mainly located in muscles and liver) which were previously inaccessible by glucose alone. Your body uses the energy created by this key in the door and stores what you don't need right away for future use. By the way, this is call fat. So the goal is not to store more than you need.

A Little More About Insulin Resistance

When we repeatedly flood the blood with sugar via too much food or too many simple sugars or carbs (basically anything made with white flour or sugar) the pancreas gets burned out and eventually will fail, causing Type 2 diabetes. This frequent flood of sugar blocks the “physiological cell doors” of our body. These can leave abnormal amounts glucose stuck in the blood, which causes more insulin to be secreted by the pancreas. Why is more insulin secreted by the pancreas? Remember that the trigger for insulin secretion is high blood sugar. High levels of sugar means high levels of insulin are needed but not always availlable. This imbalanced relationship leads to chronically elevated sugar and insulin levels. Since our body cannot store the glucose in this form, our body ends up storing it as fat (commonly in areas that do not need it, AKA around your belly).

What causes and/or contributes to insulin resistance?

Typically, the more fat you have, the more likely you are to have insulin resistance, especially if you carry that fat around your middle. Again, consuming high amounts of foods that contain sugar or white flour (which breaks down quickly into sugar-who knew!) In other words, over time our tissues don't respond to insulin because insulin has become so familiar. Think about this, have you ever walked into a house where the trash needed to be taken out? The smell is awful, but the longer you are in the room the less the room smells? That is one way to make sense of this physiological process.

Finally, How can I improve/reverse insulin resistance?

Healthy diet and calorie Restriction:

Research has shown:

  1. Eat healthy and reduce calories of you are overweight.

  2. Weight loss also causes (liver) fat loss which also improves insulin sensitivity.


Research Has Shown:

1). Any exercise is better than no exercise. The risk for developing NIDDM in women who engage in exercise at least once a week has been estimated to be 33% lower than for their sedentary counterparts.

2). The better shape you are in, the more insulin sensitive you are, which means glucose is efficiently used for energy. Cross-sectional studies have shown that trained subjects are more insulin sensitive than untrained subjects even to the point that endurance-trained elderly subjects are more insulin sensitive than young, sedentary subjects. Now that is something to write home about!

3). One bout of exercise may have lasting effects on insulin sensitivity. In healthy humans a single bout of exercise has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity for 4 to 72 hours depending on how long and how hard you exercise.

    4). Exercise can help reverse unhealthy organs and cells (like a fatty liver). Large adipocytes (fat cells) impair insulin sensitivity because they store fat in the abdomen and liver. Exercise can help reduce these fat deposits.

    So what's the main take away?

    Just like your grandmama told you, exercise and a healthy diet are a good idea. They can improve or reverse insulin resistance, meaning that our body can properly use glucose for energy. Even a single bout of exercise can improve insulin sensitivity both short-term and overtime.. Remember that exercise is effective for improving insulin sensitivity regardless of whether you are young or old. So get out there and be active! You were made to Thrive!



    Ready, Set, Run! Combat Depression with Regular Exercise

    Dawn Muller

    Thrive pic 2.jpg

    Imagine going to the doctor with symptoms of depression and she hands you a new prescription: Do two sets of squats, 15 bicep curls, 10 laps around the track and call me in the morning. Though this is not (yet) an accurate picture, experts are starting to recognize that regular exercise is not only good for your mood but may help combat depression, too.

    Until physicians and other healthcare providers universally prescribe exercise as an alternative treatment for depression, it’s best to turn to a group of professionals who are already in the know: physical therapists. PTs are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health illnesses like depression and understand how the disorder can interfere with a person’s ability to enjoy life.

    An individualized care plan starts with a thorough assessment and detailed patient history so the PT can capture the limitations of the illness and understand the goals the patient would like to achieve. Each custom treatment plan includes some combination of flexibility, strength, coordination and balance exercises designed to achieve optimal physical function and to help shed the layers of depression.

    For patients suffering from depression, it can be stressful and overwhelming to think about incorporating exercise into their lives either for the first time or after a long hiatus. Because the illness’ symptoms often include fatigue and loss of interest in activities, it can be difficult for patients to take that first step, both literally and figuratively. But physical therapists excel in motivating patients to perform exercises both safely and effectively. In fact, another bonus of seeing a physical therapist to get started on a new exercise program, is that he’s trained to identify other injuries or illnesses that require a special approach.

    You don’t have to have depression to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, the mood-boosting pastime can help anyone who might be temporarily sad or otherwise not themselves. Major life stressors—divorce, loss of a job, and death—are difficult for anyone and regular exercise is a great way to help people through a tough time. With regular exercise, you’re guaranteed to see improvements in the following areas:

    • Strength and flexibility  

    • Sleep

    • Memory  

    • Self-confidence

    • Energy

    • Mood

    Even minimal changes in any of these areas could change your outlook on the day and your ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed. So, what are you waiting for?