Southcoast Rehab celebrates 10 years on Recovery Road

Jan 23, 2013

It was a simple task that waitress Susan Rulison completed every day, without a second thought: reaching up to remove a rack of coffee cups from a shelf.

But one day in 2009, Rulison reached, and felt something tear in her shoulder. Her range of motion was gone, and she was in pain.

"You don't realize what an injury can do, but it can change your life," said Rulison, a physically fit 55-year-old who never imagined that that simple task could create such a complex problem.

"It was something we did every day," she said.

Doctors prescribed physical therapy, but the injury -- called a "SLAP tear" -- wasn't improving.

"It kept getting worse," said Rulison. "I couldn't do what I used to do."

Last fall, Rulison, a Carver resident, had surgery to repair her shoulder. She's been working with physical therapist Tim Vasques at Southcoast Rehabilitation Services to get her strength back.

"I've come a long way," Rulison said with a smile.

Southcoast Rehabilitation is currently celebrating 10 years at its location on the aptly-named Recovery Road in Wareham, where therapists help people who suffer from sports- and work-related injuries, balance disorders, and everything in between. A partnership with the Gleason Family YMCA allows Southcoast to provide an aquatic rehabilitation program.

Vasques, who has worked for Southcoast Rehab for 15 years and serves as its clinical team leader, says it is helping patients like Rulison that makes his job worthwhile.

"At the center of what we're here to do is to help people," said Vasques, noting that each patient's therapy is tailored to their individual needs.

He's seen patients begin therapy unable to walk without crutches or unable to lift an arm, and leave with their strength and range-of-motion restored.

Rulison is hoping to complete her therapy next month.

"I'm really appreciative, especially of Tim," Rulison said. "He pushes you to what he thinks you can do."

And that's what it's about, says Vasques.

"Seeing the patients get better..." he said, "that really means the most to me."

For more about Southcoast Rehabilitation, visit