inclusive person running for physical therapy



inclusive person running for physical therapy

Michael Zabala Aquino





Dr. Michael Zabala Aquino (he/they)  is an orthopedic and pelvic health doctor of physical therapy with a focus on lifestyle management and population health. He is a Certified Therapeutic Pain Specialist through Evidence in Motion (formerly known as the International Spine & Pain Institute).

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy – Chapman University
  • BA of Sociology – UC Santa Barbara
  • Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS)
  • Certified Applied Prevention and Health Promotion Therapist (Cert-APHPT)
  • Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist (CEAS-I)
Professional Development

Chronic Pain 

  • International Spine & Pain Institute: Therapeutic Pain Specialists Program
  • Integrative Pain Science Institute: ACT in Motion and ACT for Chronic Pain
  • Modern Pain Care Virtual Mentorship 

Pelvic Health

  • Herman & Wallace: Pelvic Floor 1, Pelvic Floor 2A, and Male Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction, & Treatment
  • Pelvic Guru Academy: Pudendal Neuralgia and Complex Pelvic Pain Solutions
  • HWHM Education: Physical Therapy Care of Patients Who Are Trans/Gender Diverse


  • The Athlete Movement System: Upper Quarter 
  • Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit 2017 
inclusive lgbtq physical therapist at deconstruct health

Michael’s Story

I am a person who has lived with chronic pelvic and chest pain for over 6 years and I am living a full happy life doing what I care about, but it wasn’t always that way…

There was a time in my life when I got to a point where I could not take it anymore. After countless 5-10 min doctor’s visits without any sort of help, guidance, or explanation, constantly having my symptoms and experiences dismissed and taking medications prescribed to me that did nothing or made me feel worse, I began to feel very lost, scared, and invisible in my suffering with no hope in sight. I knew something had to change and it was time to start listening and trusting myself to get better.

My path to getting my doctorate in physical therapy granted me hope for a better future. It was during that time that I learned there were people who specialized in helping people like me, people with chronic pain and I knew I had found my path. In this time I developed a love for pain neuroscience and its therapeutic applications, which transformed how I viewed pain and led me to road to recovery. I was no longer afraid of my pain and it no longer dictated my life. I finally felt some control of my body.

I have had the privilege of going through mentorships and continued education for specializing in the treatment of chronic/persistent pain conditions where I have had the opportunity working with many amazing people who went from suffering to thriving. I was also able to attain my Therapeutic Pain Specialist certification through the International Spine and Pain Institute to deepen my understanding of pain. I now get to share my passion for providing compassionate pain care with my patients and other health professionals, while continuing to learn more about pain, so I can continue help others like me.”

A Healing Space For All

Dr. Aquino proudly provides a healing space for The LGBTQIA+ community. His lived experience and specialized background in the sociological study of sexuality, gender, race, and disability give him the knowledge to provide safe, affirming care for the LGBTQIA+ population.

Dr. Aquino has gone through training as a pelvic floor physical therapist to provide physical therapy care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals who are considering top/bottom gender affirmation surgery for prehabilitation pre-operatively and post-operative rehabilitation for those who have undergone top/bottom gender affirmation surgery.