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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.


Thrive's Healthy Recipe of the Month: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Dawn Muller


This month's Healthy Recipe of the Month comes is one of Dr. Dawn Muller's favorites: Cauliflower Crust Pizza!  This is a great choice when you're craving a bit of Italian, but want to skip the extra carbs, gluten or grains.  This particular recipe calls for eggplant as one of the main toppings, but there are so many other healthy topping choices out there, the possibilities are endless!  Dr. Dawn found this mouth-watering recipe at and you can enjoy several more healthy recipes there.   Enjoy!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza by Taste with the Eyes

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or more, to taste)
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
olive oil

Place cauliflower florets in the blow of a food processor and pulse until they are the consistency of rice.

Place riced cauliflower in a bowl and microwave for 8 minutes, uncovered.  Remove from microwave and let stand, stirring occasionally to release all the steam.

Combine room-temperature cauliflower with eggs, parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Brush the parchment with olive oil.

Dump cauliflower mixture onto the parchment and form into a pizza pie shape.

Bake in a convection oven for 14 minutes at 450F or until it is nicely browned.

Grape tomatoes
Kalamata olives
Shredded Mozzarella
Chopped basil
Chopped mint
Salt, pepper and red chile flakes to taste

Rub sliced eggplant with kosher salt and let sweat on paper towels for an hour, turning once, to remove much of the moisture.  Then rinse off the salt, pat dry, and brush with olive oil.  Grill over medium high heat.  Make sure to slice the eggplant in generous portions so it doesn’t shrivel up on the grill. 

Slice cooled eggplant into wedges.  Place on top of the cauliflower crust.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

Slice grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives in half.  Toss with a splash of olive oil along with minced garlic, chopped basil and mint, salt and red chile flakes.  Place tomato mixture on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle a bit more cheese on the top.

Bake in a 450*F oven for about 8 minutes or until the pizza is hot all the way through and the cheese is melting.


Know Your Therapist Series: Brandon Alkire, PT, DPT, CSCS

Dawn Muller

As we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month, we wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know our therapists here at THRIVE.


This week, we sit down with Brandon Alkire, Thrive’s newest Doctor of Physical Therapy.  Brandon has an extensive background in Strength & Conditioning as well as Nutrition and Exercise Science before earning his Doctorate.  He lives in the Tallahassee area with his beautiful wife and three adorable daughters. Read on for our "interview" with Dr. Brandon:

Why did you become a PT?
As a strength coach and personal trainer, I had the pleasure of working with clients that had complex medical histories.  I noticed that many of them were getting better through the exercises programs, but something was missing.  My path to being a PT was for them, in order to better understand and serve my clients.

What steps did you take to make your PT career happen?
After my Bachelors in Nutrition and Exercises Science, I became a Strength Coach and Personal trainer for roughly 8 years before I went back to school for my DPT.

What were some of the jobs you had before you started your physical therapy career?
Supplements Department Manager at New Leaf Market, Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, Martial Arts Instructor

What is your favorite part about being a PT?
Giving people hope that there are better days ahead.

What are some of the job’s biggest challenges?
Knowing that I can’t fix everything despite my best efforts.

How do you make certain that you are kept up-to-date on new research for PT practices?
Subscription to Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy; Continuing Education courses from some of the leading researchers in the Physical Therapy World

What were/are some of your favorite continuing education courses?
Explain Pain, Functional Movement Screen and Selective Functional Movement Assessment

What is one interesting fact most of our readers/patients may not know about you?
I teach the Brazilian Martial Art Capoeira.

Quick Facts:
Favorite Color: black
Favorite Drink: Old Chub
Favorite Food: Ceviche or sushi and anything on a Pretzel Roll
Favorite Exercise/Activity: Snowboarding/Skurfing and running Tough Mudders
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere in the mountain west
Favorite Time Of Year: Winter
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
Favorite Quote(s):
         “No matter how good you are, you will always have at least one weakness that must be consistently confronted, trained, polished and reevaluated.  The true champion will spend more time working on weaknesses than showing off strength.” Gray Cook
          “Ad astra per aspera” – Latin Phrase meaning “through hardships to the stars”

Know Your Therapist Series: Amy Loper, PTA

Dawn Muller

As we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month, we wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know our therapists here at THRIVE.  


This week, we sit down with Amy Loper, our PTA.  Amy has been a practicing Physical Therapy Assistant since 2003.  She is a life-long resident of Thomas County and enjoys spending time with her husband and two adorable daughters!  Read on for our "interview" with Amy:

Why did you become a PTA?
I knew I wanted to help people and knew I wanted to work in the medical field.  I was drawn to how the body moves, as well as sports-related injuries and was fascinated by the fact that exercise, stretching and mobilizations could restore range of motion and reduce pain.

What steps did you take to make your PTA career happen?
I was accepted into the PTA program in 1999.  I stayed one week and dropped out and then went back in 2002, stayed and finished.  I graduated in 2003.  Moral of the story – life is full of second changes and never give up

What were some of the jobs you had before you started your physical therapy career?
I worked at Hometown Value-Rite Pharmacy and Archbold Health Services.

What is your favorite part about being a PTA?
Meeting new people, getting to know people, helping them achieve their goals, teach them things that will help change their lives. 

What are some of the job’s biggest challenges?
Finding what works best for each patient’s specific needs.  There is no cookie-cutter program – everyone is different.  That’s what makes it fun and challenging.

How do you make certain that you are kept up-to-date on new research for PT practices?
I want to be able to provide the best care for the patient, sometimes that requires learning a new method or technique and possibly changing an old one.  I participate in CEU classes, read articles, and learn from co-workers.

What were/are some of your favorite continuing education courses?
Kinesiotaping, treatments for SI/Lumbar Region

What is one interesting fact most of our readers/patients may not know about you?
I am a genuine country girl!  I raise chickens, love to shoot guns, like to be outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty!

Quick Facts:
Favorite Color: blue
Favorite Drink: water, Coke
Favorite Food: TexMex, salads, fruits
Favorite Exercise/Activity: Running
Favorite Vacation Spot: Beach
Favorite Time Of Year: Christmas
Morning Person or Night Owl? Morning
Favorite Movie Quote: “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” (from Dirty Harry)


Thrive's Healthy Recipe of the Month: Lemon Pepper Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Dawn Muller

For our inaugural Healthy Recipe of the Month, Dr. Brandon is sharing one of his favorites --- actually, he's giving us two recipes this time, so we get a bonus!  

Salmon is an excellent source of several vitiamins and minerals - which can help "extend lifespan, avoid heart attacks and fight cancer" (Source: ).  Asparagus, also, is packed with vitamins, antioxidents, is a great source of fiber and is a natural diuretic. Let us know what you think ... Bon apetit! 

Lemon Pepper Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Filet Wild Salmon
2-3 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Clove Garlic-Minced
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Slices of fresh lemon

Rinse and dry salmon filet and place on broiler rack lined with  aluminum foil(or something to bring it to the grill), rub salmon with lemons and garlic. Pour lemon juice over salmon and place in refrigerator 30-60 minutes, then broil on low until done.


Roasted Asparagus

Fresh Asparagus with ends trimmed
Olive oil-just enough to coat
Clove or more of garlic minced
Rosemary to taste
Pinch of salt

Toss ingredients together and place in shallow baking/roasting pan.  Roast at 425 until asparaus is at your preferred crispness (but not all the way to where the color changes to the dull greenish brown). 


Traveling in Comfort

Dawn Muller


Summer is the time when we all pile into the car and hit the open road to travel over the river, through the woods, to Grandmother’s and the beach, and to camp.  While we look forward to vacation, many of us dread the hours spent confined to the small space allotted to us in the car or the airplane.  Basically long hours on the road can be a pain in the behind… or the back, or the neck.

Routinely throughout the summer, I have patients asking for ways to make their car ride less torturous.  It seems that the seat that was comfortable on mile marker one has become a concrete slab and the area meant for our bottom is a size too small.  However, if you know the right tricks, you can arrive at your destination feeling good enough to carry the luggage for the whole gang. 

You see, our bodies were made to move.  When we don’t, they start to squawk.  At first it is just a whisper, but if you don’t pay attention, that sciatic nerve or a joint in your spine is going to shout at the top of its lungs.  It talks in the form of pain.   But wait, pain is not the enemy.  Your body is trying to protect you.  If you continue to sit in that same spot, you may actually damage a vital body part.  So don’t shoot the messenger.  Do something about it. 

When you sit for more than 20-40 minutes, your muscles relax leaving the ligaments, joints, and discs in the spine to carry the load.  Did you know that sitting actually produces more pressure on the spine that walking or standing?  The ligament, joint, or disc will start to ache as it carries the extra load.  However, if you remind those muscles to give a little support, you will notice much less discomfort.  There are some simple, safe exercises that I recommend you do about every 45 minutes in the car.  They are called isometrics.   If you have back pain, you may need to do them more often.  If you are driving, be sure to do these in areas where there is no traffic or at a stop light. If you are the passenger, you can do them anytime you like.  Each exercise is done with good posture.  Maintaining normal posture will also reduce your body stress.  The exercises are held for 5-10 seconds and you will perform 10 repetitions. 

They are:

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades toward the spine, making sure not to shrug the shoulders. 
  2. Press your shoulders into the back of your seat, keeping your head in line with your spine
  3. Pull in the abdomen, bringing the belly button toward the spine and pulling the abdomen up under the ribs.
  4. Squeeze your buttocks together to the point that it lifts you up slightly

One that is not an isometric, but that can safely be done while driving is to pull in the tummy and rock the pelvis forward and back slightly, which will round and arch your lower back.  This is a small movement, so that it does not affect your leg position.

If you are the passenger, you may also want to try these:

  1. Press your elbows into the seat behind you.
  2. Press your elbows into your sides.
  3. Press your thighs into the seat, as if you were straightening your hips.
  4. Press your feet into the floor and tighten the front of your thighs.
  5. Place your fist between your knees and squeeze your knees to the middle.

These exercises will also improve your blood flow, making you less prone to swelling in your feet and legs and reducing your risk of a blood clot (particularly on a plane). 

Give it a try and see if you don’t notice how much better you feel.  So travel in style….or at least in comfort.  


Dr. Dawn Muller, PT, DPT, MTC, Cert DN is the owner of Thrive Physical Therapy and Fitness, LLC.  She has been practicing 30 years.  To make an appointment, call 229-228-9019.


You Know You've Been Wondering...

Dawn Muller

You may not be talking about this at your next party or at lunch with your friends, BUT…


You may be wondering.  There are certain questions that are hard to ask.  You aren’t sure if your mom is up to speed.  You are way too embarrassed to ask your spouse and your best bud doesn’t need to know.  You probably need to ask your doctor, but even that may cause you to turn three shades of red.  So, maybe it would be so much easier if someone just wrote a column about it.  This way you don’t have to actually ask, but you get the skinny on the issue.

Well, it’s your lucky day.  I am going to answer some of those questions and still try to keep this family friendly article about all things south of the belt line.


Is it normal to have to wear protection for exercise? 

No. While one in four regular female exercisers wear some sort of liner or pad, it is not normal and it is correctable without medication in 80% of cases.  Typically a combination of pelvic floor exercise, biofeedback, and a few lifestyle changes keep you dry as a bone.


Out of my way! I gotta go! Why do I have to rush to the bathroom like a running back on steriods?

There can be more than one reason for this urgency, but usually it is a combination of an overactive muscle around the bladder combined with a weaker than normal pelvic floor muscle group.  It can also be related to going to the bathroom too frequently, which can confuse the bladder reflexes.  The good news is that with some behavioral training it can often be corrected in less than two weeks.  Of all the things I do related to incontinence and pelvic floor training, this is usually the quickest and easiest.  Most of my clients are astonished that they have had to deal with this for years when the answer was so quick and easy.  Lots of you may be on medicine for an overactive bladder.  While for some of you that may be necessary, most of you could resolve this issue without the medicine.  The right training could save you the money, time, and side effects that come with these medications.  The most concerning side effect to me is the memory loss.  Most of us need all the brain power we can muster.  Another side effect of overactive bladder meds is constipation, which puts more pressure on the pelvic floor, making you more likely to leak!


How often should I have to go to the bathroom?

Most of us should be urinating every 3 to 5 hours.  If you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections, it will be less.  Also, you may need to go shortly after taking a diuretic, but the 3 to 5 hours is a good rule of thumb for most people.  If you are going more often, we can teach you how to get your timing to a more normal level and ensure that your urine is nearly clear, odorless, and exits in a steady stream.  It is not difficult; it just takes a little education, a watch, and some techniques to correct the pelvic floor to detrusor balance.  This process usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on how frequently you go to the bathroom.  Patients with benign prostate hypertrophy also get results with treatment though it may take a little longer.


What to do about #2?

Over the years, I have treated all kinds of #2 issues and the good news is that most people get REALLY good results.  Some of you swing from diarrhea to constipation, which is uncomfortable and makes it very difficult to make plans to go out.  There are others that are very constipated, often going days or weeks between bowel movements.  Not only does this increase your risk of colon cancer, it can be painful or at the very least, distracting.  Usually, improving your hydration and fiber is helpful.  Sometimes it is helpful to work with your doctor on your medicine and dosing, as pain medicines and anti-cholinergics (like for overactive bladder) can cause constipation.  Most often, it requires manual therapy to treat the muscles of the pelvic floor.  Specialized techniques relax the muscles and allow the sphincter to open with greater ease.  Occasionally, visceral mobilization is required for people who have had multiple abdominal surgeries.  Depending on the situation, we may use biofeedback to teach relaxation for the pelvic floor muscles or the muscles around the anus.  The biofeedback involves about 6 weekly sessions to retrain the muscles.  The training for the other treatments usually take 4-6 sessions.


Ok, here’s the big one.  What can be done about painful intercourse?

This is more common than you might think.  The reasons can be as varied as the patients.  Very often it is the result of post-menopausal changes.  Post-menopausal women usually respond to a combination of lubrication options, pelvic floor training (most often the person is weak in the pelvic floor, has muscle loss, and changes in sensation), and manual therapy to deal with trigger points, muscle spasms or tenderness.  Biofeedback can be used for both strengthening and relaxation.  For some patients, your doctor may recommend hormonal replacements in combination with other treatments.  Other patients may have solely muscle spasms.  This could be from weakness (believe it or not), injury, pregnancy, hormonal changes, or low back problems.  The treatments will be very individualized.  Every patient will need to be instructed in ways they can improve their symptoms based on the cause.  The goal is to get everything working normally.  Seventy percent of patients with painful intercourse can return to normal “activities” with proper treatment.


So while you may not be talking about this at your next dinner party or over the water cooler, there are options and treatments that are safe and effective.  Ask a lot of questions, do your homework, and get the relief that is available.



Dr. Dawn Muller, PT, DPT, MTC, Cert DN is the owner of Thrive Physical Therapy and Fitness, LLC.  She has been practicing 30 years.  She has been treating men’s and women’s health dysfunction for 18 years.  She is a frequent provider for these issues for Mayo Clinic, as well as many local physicians and surgeons.  To make an appointment, call 229-228-9019.