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View More Conditions: (Click below)



  • Rotator Cuff Injuries

  • Bursitis / Tendonitis

  • Sports Injuries

  • Frozen Shoulder / Adhesive Capsulitis

  • Sprain / Strain

  • Labrum Tear

  • Post-surgery Rehab

  • Dislocation, Instability

  • Chronic Shoulder Pain

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that surround the shoulder joint. They are made up of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor muscles. While these muscles are small and not that powerful, they play a critical role in how the shoulder moves. The job of the rotator cuff is to guide the direction of the humerus head and help to create stability of the shoulder joint. THe muscles of the rotator cuff help to rotate the humerus (upper arm bone) in external rotation, internal rotation, horizontal abduction and adduction. The rotator cuff takes a lot of abuse over a lifetime and tearing is very common as we age. Many factors can lead to injury to the rotator cuff such as sports injuries, falls onto the shoulder or arm, repeat lifting or movements, poor posture or heavy lifting in abnormal positions. Rotator cuff tears can be minor, causing pain and inflammation, or major which can require surgery. With surgery, depending on a variety factors such as the quality of the tissue, the extent of the tear and other health factors, the recovery can take between 3-6 months. Physical therapy is a very important part of preparing for surgery and rehabilitating after surgery.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Often, with small tears, physical therapy can dramatically reduce pain, improve function and allow you to lead an active lifestyle without any problems. If you come to see us for your Physical Therapy we will work with you to improve your shoulder range of motion, restore proper joint mobility, reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve the strength of your rotator cuff. We will look closely at the mechanics to make sure that we find any dysfunction to make sure we address the cause of the issue and reduce any recurrence. If surgery is needed, we work closely with your physician to follow his/her protocol on rehabilitation. The beginning of therapy focuses on reducing pain, education on protection of the surgery repair, and maintaining a certain range of motion. Over time, as your physician protocol allows, range of motion is increased, joint mobility is restored and finally very gentle strengthening is begun. Towards the end of your physical therapy further strengthening and complete range of motion will be attained for your shoulder. All of this is coordinated per the instructions of your physician and we ensure thorough communication with your physician at all times. Call us today to learn more about how we help your rotator cuff perform better and relieve your shoulder pain.

What is Bursitis / Tendonitis?

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa and tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. Anytime you see the ending "itis" it simply means inflammation of whatever tissue or structure it is at the end of. A bursa is a fluid filled sac that sits between muscles or tissues to cushion and reduce friction. In the shoulder there is a rather large bursa between the deltoid muscle and joint, specifically the Acromion. This is called the subdeltoid bursa. This bursa can often become inflamed due to abnormal joint movements, poor posture and weakness of the surrounding musculature. This causes strain to the tissues and excessive friction on the bursa. People tend to feel pain with movement and especially movement out to the side or reaching behind them. Tendons connect muscles to bones. In the shoulder common areas for tendonitis are in the rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) and bicep tendons. Pain can be felt deep in the shoulder or in the front of the shoulder. Pain is usually felt as a sharp, catching sensation with certain movements.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Physical Therapy is the first line of conservative treatment for bursitis and tendonitis. Since most bursitis and tendonitis is due to underlying abnormal mechanics of movement and weakness, we will evaluate your movement to pinpoint the exact source of the trouble. Modalities may be used to alleviate pain and discomfort, while hands-on Manual Therapy improves joint mechanics and movement. Finally, gentle strengthening exercises and joint coordination exercises help to restore stability to the affected area and to prevent reoccurrence of the symptoms. Call us today to discover how we can help you relieve your shoulder pain quickly and get back to the activities you enjoy!

About Sports Injuries

Whether you are a professional athlete, high school athlete or just like to be active and play sports for recreation, injuries can occur. Many shoulder sports injuries occur because of a fall onto an outstretched arm or from repetitive overhead actions, such as swimming, tennis, baseball. Another reason for shoulder sports injuries is an imbalance in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, where some muscles are stronger and some are weaker etc. For example, an athlete that has strong chest muscles, but weak rotator cuff muscles can put themselves at risk of injury.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Here at WAV PT we are experts at caring for and rehabilitating sports injuries. Our goal is to rehabilitate you back to your favorite sports activities pain-free as quickly and safely as possible and help to reduce the chance of re-injury. Sports injuries require unique care and rehabilitation, therefore, know that you are in the right hands with us. From mild sprains to recovery after surgery, we have you covered. Call us today to discover how we can get you back in the game quickly!

What is a Shoulder Sprain / Strain?

A sprain in the shoulder involves the ligaments while a strain involves the muscles around the shoulder. A sprain / strain typically occurs because the tissue has been overstretched too quickly, resulting in micro-tearing of the tissue. This results in painful inflammation, typically increased with movement and use of the damaged tissue. The damage from a sprain / strain can be minor or major, depending on the severity of the injury, person’s health and age. As we age, our tissue becomes less elastic and becomes more prone to tearing.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Physical therapy is a very important part of the recovery from a sprain / strain. First the focus is on reducing pain and inflammation while maintaining or regaining range of motion. After the inflammatory phase is coming to an end the focus shifts to attaining full range of motion then gradual strengthening of the injured areas to regain normal strength. Towards the end of treatment, focus is shifted to the coordination of the shoulder joint and education towards preventing future injury. If you have suffered a sprain or strain, call us today as soon as possible to start feeling relief and getting back to normal activities.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a painful shoulder joint condition also known as "adhesive capsulitis". How frozen shoulder exactly begins is still a bit of a mystery, however, it typically occurs after a trauma or repetitive injury to the shoulder. Women in the pre and post–menopausal age range are more likely to experience frozen shoulder, however men can also experience frozen shoulder. With frozen shoulder, the thick capsule of tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint begins to experience chronic inflammation. The body begins a cycle of inflammation and scarring that causes the capsule around the shoulder joint to contract and become limited in its flexibility. This causes very painful range of motion in the shoulder when trying to move the arm. At the beginning of frozen shoulder it is very painful and range of motion becomes limited. This can be around 4–8 weeks in duration. After that, motion is very limited in the shoulder, but often not as painful. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can take sometimes up to a year to resolve and improve range of motion.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Physical therapy can make a big difference in shortening the time it takes to recover from frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). By coming to therapy as early as possible, the inflammatory cycle can be significantly reduced, limiting scarring and contraction of the shoulder capsule. In turn, physical therapy, along with medication can limit the pain and ensure a faster recovery. We work with many frozen shoulder patients to reduce pain quickly and restore range of motion to the shoulder. Physical therapy treatments focus on hands–on Manual Therapy and specialized exercises to maintain as much range of motion as possible during the inflammatory phase of frozen shoulder. During the "thawing" phase we work with you to improve range of motion in your shoulder and restore strength. We will also work with you to ensure that the shoulder complex is in balance and mechanically sound to reduce any further issues or recurrence. It can take quite a while for the motion to be restored to the shoulder, but by coming to physical therapy, we can help you recover as quickly as possible. Call us today to find out how we can help you relieve your frozen shoulder pain!

Labrum Tear

The labrum is a thick ring of cartilage around the socket part of your shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint). The labrum acts like a cup for the head of the humerus to sit in (like a ball inside a shallow cup). The labrum gives stability to the joint and also helps to cushion as the shoulder joint moves. The labrum can tear with injury from a blow to an outstretched arm or from repetitive injuries overhead. Sometimes, a labrum tear can be involved when the rotator cuff is torn. A common tear is called a SLAP lesion (Superior Labral tear from Anterior to Posterior). This is a tear of the labrum from the top part in front to back. This often needs surgical repair and we work with your physician on their protocol to rehab your shoulder after surgery.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Most often, labral tears are fixed surgically and need physical therapy after the procedure. We work very closely with your physician to follow their protocols for rehabilitation to your shoulder. Physical therapy involves a progress of your range of motion per the protocol and towards the end restoring motion. In the meantime, pain, swelling and function are addressed. Call us today to find out we can help you recover after a labral tear.

Shoulder Post-surgery Rehab

There are a variety of shoulder surgeries that may have to be done in order to stabilize the shoulder and repair damaged tendons or ligaments. With the advances in arthroscopic surgery, recovery times for shoulder injuries have improved, however physical therapy is still needed to reduce pain quickly, restore range of motion, improve strength and return the individual to activities of daily living as well as recreation.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Post-surgery recovery can be difficult on sleeping, bathing, dressing and many other normal daily activities we take for granted. At WAV PT we work with you to teach you how to adapt to these activities of daily living while recovering. Physical Therapy focuses on reducing inflammation and to reduce your pain as quickly as possible while you are recovering. The surgical process can often leave muscles cramped and irritated. Our skilled Manual Therapy is perfect for soothing sore muscles and restoring normal muscle movement. We work closely with your physician on the correct protocol to rehabilitate your shoulder after surgery. Every person’s surgery is unique and rest assured your recovery is treated as such. According to your protocol, we will help restore your range of motion, increase your strength and help you return to normal activities using your shoulder. Call us today to find out more how we can help you have a complete recovery after shoulder surgery!


Dislocation of the shoulder typically occurs from falling onto an outstretched arm or a blow to the side or back of the shoulder when falling on it. This can happen in different sports activities or accidents. Dislocations are managed medically to relocate the head of the upper arm bone. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, your physician will typically prescribe physical therapy to help stabilize the shoulder joint and protect it during a recovery phase. With frequent dislocations, the shoulder can become unstable as many structures in the shoulder get damaged and become too lax. By strengthening the muscles around the shoulder, stability can be increased in the shoulder, preventing future dislocations. At times, dislocations can be quite severe and lead to tearing of cartilage, tendons, ligaments or muscles. In this case, surgery is often needed. After surgery physical therapy is an important part of recovery and returning to normal activities.

How Physical Therapy Helps

Physical therapy is very important after a dislocation. Our physical therapists work with you closely to protect the joint while it heals, teach you how to take care of your injury and gently rehabilitate your shoulder. During the healing phase, your shoulder will be protected and pain will be addressed. Per your physician's protocol we will gradually increase your range of motion, maintaining your joint stability. Further into therapy, gentle strengthening is performed to improve the muscle support around the shoulder. Ideally, full range of motion and strength is recovered allowing you to return to normal activities and with the knowledge to protect your shoulder from further injury. Call us today to find out how we can help you quickly recover from a shoulder dislocation.

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. It has to move through more than 180 degrees of motion in many directions, rotate, slide and spin. There are a variety of muscles that have to work in syncrony to ensure the shoulder joint tracks properly with everyday activities. It is made up of the humerus bone, scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone). There are technically 4 joints that make up the entire shoulder complex. Poor posture, weakened muscles, injury and lack of proper range of motion can all factor into shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is typically felt in the muscles between the shoulder and neck, as well as the outside shoulder radiating down. Where your pain is can determine what structures are involved. It is important to note that just because your pain is felt in one location, that may not be the source of the trouble. For example pain on the outside of the shoulder can be from an impingement of the joint or problems with the rotator cuff muscles. However, this can be caused by poor positioning and functioning of the shoulder blade, which is the real culprit. Treat the source of the problem and the irritation will resolve.

How Physical Therapy Helps

If you have been experiencing shoulder pain that is new or has been ongoing for a long time we can help! To get started we evaluate your motion, strength, coordination and joint mobility along with your history to determine the root cause of your pain. We can then treat it effectively for fast pain relief, improved motion, strength and return to normal activities. The combination of our skilled Manual Therapy along with the specialized exercises using the Gyrotonic Method we will restore your normal shoulder movement, improve overall function, and keep you from having pain and dysfunction. Call us today to discover how we can quickly resolve your shoulder pain and get you back to the activities you love.

Are you ready to live pain free?  Schedule an appointment 
with WAV PT in South Orange County today!

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