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Water & Sports Physical Therapy specializes in using water as an adjunct to highly skilled hands on therapy.
Treatment Techniques
Water & Sports Physical Therapy, Inc. specializes in using water as an adjunct to highly skilled hands on therapy.
We provide patient-centered, evidence-based physical therapy to achieve optimal healthcare outcomes.
jointmob1Joint mobilization techniques are hands-on techniques, sometimes assisted with a belt, to stretch adhesed joint capsules which do not allow full motion. These techniques can result in dramatic results by achieving full motion in any joint.
Manual Therapy
Manual therapy techniques are hands-on techniques that the therapist uses to gain full flexibility of the joint capsule, tendon, or fascia, which in effect, allows the patient to achieve increased motion. The time we spend using hands-on techniques with each patient at every visit supersedes what you will find at any other clinic or rehabilitation facility.
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS)
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization taps into the brains early developmental movement patterns which will re-teach you how to reflexively move the way you were originally designed.
Myofascial release is a gentle hands-on technique that glides and releases layers of fascia (between the skin and muscle/tendon). Scarring of this fascia can limit normal movement and cause pain. This technique can comfortably restore full, pain-free motion.
Myofascial Decompression (MFD)
With MFD, we use pneumatic cups to gently stretch and lengthen scarred tissue to produce full pain free range of motion.  MFD is a highly effective technique that works in the decompression of adhesions, reducing inhibition of fluids and nutrient exchange. It is effective in decreasing stiffness and pain, improving tissue health, and increasing mobility.  MFD can be used for a variety of therapeutic purposes including:

  • Decreasing mechanical connective tissue changes following inflammation or trauma
  • Decreasing trigger Points (presence of hypersensitive, tender tissue within the
  • muscle belly)
  • Decreasing myofascial dysfunction, scar adhesions, scar tissue
  • Decreasing myofascial syndromes; i.e. faulty patterning due to hypertonic muscles
Postural Restoration Institute Techniques (PRI)
Our physical therapists are trained in courses from the Postural Restoration Institute. This institute emphasizes a deep understanding on what posture is, imbalances and tendencies that occur with irregular posture, and ultimately how to correct it. Incorrect posture can result in a wide variety of issues, such as limited breathing and limited movement patterns in the body. This limitation in movement of one part of the body can then cause overuse in another part, which can then cause pain, muscle tightness, and other issues. Our physical therapists are trained in this chain of irregularities stemming from improper posture, and are able to recognize and treat patients if it is the case.


The Graston Technique is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables our therapists to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions for the treatment of:

  • Neck Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • Foot Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Shin Splints

Originally developed by athletes, Graston Technique is practiced by more than 9,000 clinicians worldwide, and uses specially designed stainless steel instruments to detect and treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.

The Graston Technique can help patients resolve chronic conditions thought to be permanent, decrease overall time in treatment, allow for faster recovery, and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication.


Why is scar tissue a problem? Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning as he or she did before the injury.

How are the instruments used? The Graston Technique instruments are used to enhance the therapist’s ability to detect adhesions, scar tissue or restrictions in the affected area. Once the tissue has been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue so the body can absorb it.

Is the treatment painful? It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. This is a normal response and part of the healing process.

What is the history of Graston Technique? The concept of cross fiber massage is not new – the use of the specially designed instruments and protocol is new. Graston Technique is grounded in the works of Dr. James Cyriax, an English orthopedic surgeon. Historically, the Graston Technique has had positive outcomes in 75–90% of all conditions treated. It is equally effective in restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and pre- and postsurgical patients.

The Selective Functional Movement Assessment™ (SFMA)
At WSPT, as part of the SFMA, every athlete undergoes an extremely detailed evaluation where all joints in the body are looked at from head to toe, and every identified weakness is treated.  The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SMFA) is diagnostic system used to assess the quality of a person’s movement.  The SFMA uses a series of full-body movements to identify areas of dysfunction in the body.  The primary focus of SFMA is not how many repetitions you can perform, but how well you can perform a single repetition. It’s about how well you move.

The SFMA looks at simple everyday actions, including the ability to touch your toes, balance on one leg, or perform a squat, to identify how you accomplish basic movement. Poor movement in the body is often masked by compensations that we develop over time, and daily repetition of this can ultimately result in injury and pain. The SFMA enables the therapist to identify and treat regions in the body that lack mobility (range of motion), or stability (motor control), allowing for an accurate treatment to restore pain-free function and movement. The SMFA also highlights asymmetries in the body that exist between the left and right side. Asymmetries, such as having a left hip that moves well and a right hip that is stiff, are red flags and are significant risk factors for injury.

The SFMA pulls out these subconscious dysfunctional and/or asymmetrical movements to get to the root of the problem. Efficiency in movement is the key to accomplishing your goals. The essence of the SFMA is that the site of your pain may not be the source or cause of your pain. The pain in your knee may be the result of a problem in your hip.  The pain in your neck may be the result of an issue in your shoulder.  Treating the cause of your pain, and not merely the site, is vital to restoring pain-free movement and function.

At WSPT, we value the SFMA because it is a tool that allows us to build a plan based on the needs of each individual. Our focus on treating the underlying cause with hands on treatment and a thorough exercise program gets you moving pain-free and back into action. We want you feeling your best throughout all your daily activities.

The Functional Movement Screen is essentially a preventative method used to screen for any potential problems that may cause future injury.

FMS can be compared to a doctor checking your blood pressure at a routine check-up. When you go to your doctor and he takes your blood pressure, it’s not because you already have cardiac issues, but rather to identify something that could be a problem. FMS is used in the same way by screening your movement patterns in order to identify any possible movement dysfunctions that could lead to problems in the future. If your physical therapist notices something is off with your movement, he or she can treat it before it leads to other issues and problems.  At WSPT, we use the FMS to quickly screen our athletes for pre-existing deficiencies in order to provide the best treatment possible while also working to prevent future injuries.

How FMS Works

FMS identifies physical imbalances and weakness through a simple ranking and grading system that assesses movement patterns crucial to normal function. Screening movement identifies functional limitations and asymmetries that may decrease your ability to move correctly and limit your ability to train effectively and without injury. After an easy ten-minute assessment, your FMS will result in a Functional Movement Screen Score, which is linked to a set of corrective exercises used to restore correct movement patterns while building strength. Your score is also monitored by your physical therapist or trainer throughout your sessions, tracking your progress and improvement as you work toward better movement.

The Benefits of FMS

When FMS is used to locate significant movement deficits, there are many benefits that result from prescribed corrective exercises, including:

  • Injury Prevention
  • Movement Pattern Restoration
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Improved Balance
Active Muscle Pumping
Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help relieve muscle strain and muscle tightness which can lead to pain. Passive techniques such as massages are not always enough to drain fluids in the muscle which cause swelling, especially with large or deep muscles. By using Active Muscle Pumping, the patient contracts the muscle while the therapist massages the muscle. This added contraction from the patient helps increase drainage of swelling in the specific muscle and is therefore much more effective for relieving tight or strained muscles.
Strength-Based Training and Corrective Exercises
At each visit after a patient is done with manual therapy, the patient is then given an exercise regimen to help with continued improvement and the healing process. The exercises that we give are not only meant for rehabilitation, but go even further than that. Our focus is to give exercises that will retrain your body so that it can function properly in everyday life, therefore preventing pain and injury in the future. This may include postural correction, gait or walking mechanics, or any other areas to target long-term health and pain-free living.
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold Laser Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and is thought to help accelerate the healing process. It can be used on patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions in order to help eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms and increase functionality.
Sport-Specific Training
Water & Sports Physical Therapy is the premier rehabilitation and injury prevention therapy provider for professional and amateur athletes in San Diego. As the Official Physical Therapist of the San Diego Padres (2015-2016), your physical therapist is well equipped to deal with the highly demanding and specialized treatment professional athletics require. We have helped hundreds of high level high school, collegiate, and professional athletes across a multitude of sports reach their rehabilitate following injury, prevent future injury, and maximum potential athletic abilities. The Selective Functional Movement Assessment with sport specific tests, will provide a baseline assessment of strengths, weaknesses, and expose possible injury risks throughout the entire body. Treatment then focuses on ensuring maximal health throughout the musculoskeletal system and neurological system to allow the athlete to be in the best possible position to avoid injury and maximize athletic performance.
Ultrasound and Electrical Stimulation (E Stim)
Ultrasound and Electrical Stimulation are both modalaties (or tools), among many, to help relax and heal muscles and joints. These modalaties can be used to decrease pain, reduce swelling, or even increase blood flow to a target area to induce increased healing.
Gait Training
Gait training is a type of physical therapy that helps people improve their ability to stand and walk. One goal of gait training is preventing falls. Gait training may be recommended after an illness or injury, to help a patient regain independence in walking, even if an adaptive device is needed. Gait training helps strengthen muscles and joints, improves balance, improves posture, develops muscle memory, builds endurance, and retrains the legs for repetitive motion such as walking.

Gait training is an option for anyone who has lost his or her ability to safely get around. Some examples of injuries or illnesses that lead to walking difficulties include spinal cord injuries, stroke, broken legs or pelvis, joint injuries, injuries from accidents, amputation, and knee replacements.

There are several gait therapy techniques. Many people undergoing gait training will walk on a treadmill and also do strength training. Treadmill trainings may often include a harness. Other task-specific trainings include stepping over objects, lifting the leg, sitting, and standing. People with specific issues affecting mobility will also receive special therapies in addition, such as pool/aquatic therapy.

Neuromuscular Reeducation
Neuromuscular reeducation is a general term that refers to techniques that attempt to retrain the neuromuscular system to function properly. The basis of this idea is that the formation of certain patterns of communication between muscles and nerves allow people to perform simple everyday acts such as climbing stairs. These normal patterns of movement can be disrupted by injuries or may be impaired in people with certain medical conditions. The general aim is either to re-establish normal patterns of movement in injured people or to create normal patterns of movement in disabled people by practicing a variety of exercises.

Some practitioners believe that an important part of injury healing is the removal of fibrous adhesions, which are thought to arise within injured areas of muscles or connective tissue and involve the overgrowth of fibrous tissue over the site of injury. These areas are the body’s way of protecting the tissue from further injury, but they are thought to result in impaired range of motion, decreased flexibility, and eventually the weakening of nearby muscle.

These therapies in general tend to place greater importance on body awareness than many standard physical therapies. An example of this is if one was to have a twisted ankle injury. After this instance the brain will then make modifications to movement patterns in order to protect the ankle. But during the period of time of avoiding use of the injured ankle, the connection between the brain and ankle becomes weakened due to disuse. Therapeutic measures and exercises will then be given to the patient in order to re-strengthen that neurological connection between the brain and the ankle.

Trigger Point Release
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may cause referred pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache.

Trigger point massage therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. In this type of massage for trigger point therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort.

The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing constricted areas in the muscles thereby alleviating pain. You can experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment. Receiving massage with trigger point therapy on a regular basis can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries.