Three times each week, on the way to work at Apex Physical Therapy (Madras / Jefferson County), physical therapist Jim Wallace makes a stop at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, OR, for a morning hike up Misery Ridge Trail. In about three-quarters of a mile, Jim ascends nearly 1,000 feet to the top, the payoff being one of Oregon’s most spectacular views of the Cascade Mountain Range.
“It’s such a beautiful place, I try to get out there as much as I can,” Jim said. “I enjoy hiking in the early mornings before work. And no matter how often I go, when I get to the top, I look at the mountains and say, ‘This is so beautiful. I can’t believe I live here.’”
For nearly a decade, the Florida physical therapist dreamed of moving to the Northwest. This dream was realized last spring when Jim was hired by Apex Physical Therapy co-owners Brock and Karin Monger, DPTs, during an expansion of the PT staff. Jim, his wife and his 2-year-old son moved to Central Oregon last March.
A physical therapist for nearly 15 years, Jim grew up a Steelers fan in Pennsylvania before settling in Florida. He joined the Apex team to provide orthopedic evaluations and treatments and offer services in sports therapy and injury rehabilitation. Throughout his years as a PT, Jim has received specialized training in such fields as advanced pain management, lumbar spine evaluation and treatment, vestibular rehabilitation, balance disorders, total joint rehabilitation, and strength/conditioning.
“Jim has been a strong addition to our team,” said Brock Monger, DPT. “He brings many years of physical therapy experience, and he has extensive knowledge of vestibular and neurological rehabilitation in addition to his wealth of outpatient physical therapy knowledge.”
Before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy from the University of Alabama in 1998, Jim served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. According to Jim, sports and physical fitness has always played a significant role in his life – he often competed in 5/10Ks, half-marathons and sprint triathlons – and this led to his interest in becoming a physical therapist.
“I really liked pushing myself to become more active and athletic, and this got me to thinking about my next career,” he said. “I knew I wanted to go into a medical career related to fitness, and I was immediately drawn to physical therapy. I like the more one-on-one nature of physical therapy, and I love to help people understand how well their bodies can work – how even if you’ve been away from exercise for a while, your body will learn to grow and get stronger based on how you challenge it.”
Jim has first-hand experience in realizing the benefits – and ultimately the joys – of challenging the body to reach new physical heights. In 2003, he journeyed to Washington where he successfully climbed Mt. Rainier. This offered him his first taste of the Northwest.
Just a few years later, a position as a traveling physical therapist regularly brought him back to Washington and Oregon. After rock climbing a few times at Smith Rock, summiting Mt. Hood in 2010 and becoming more familiar with the Central Oregon region, Jim and his wife, Michelle, decided to commit to an Oregon emigration when the timing was right.
“With the views of the mountains and the opportunities for both career and the outdoors, Central Oregon became the place we wanted to move to,” Jim said. “We wanted to live where we’d want to go on vacation, and this area fit the bill perfectly. It’s just an awesome place to live.”
Since moving here, Jim said he and Michelle, along with their toddler son, enjoy exploring the area together. Whether on a dusty trail or on the saddle of a bike, “have baby, will travel” became his motto soon after his son was born. “The only thing we don’t do together as a family, at least right now, is rock climbing,” Jim said.
According to Brock, Jim’s active, outdoor lifestyle makes him all the more effective as a physical therapist.
“Jim truly lives by example in that outdoor activity balances the body, mind and soul,” said Brock. “This genuine appreciation for the active lifestyle gives him a tremendous capacity to communicate and connect with patients on their own journeys toward improved movement and function.”
“My goal is to do what I can so people are able to enjoy their lives, whatever that might be.”
Whether you’re experiencing pain and/or functional limitations, or you simply want some tips for challenging your body to achieve new heights, feel free to call Jim any time here at Apex Physical Therapy – 541-475-1218.