DR. MICHAEL ZABALA AQUINO, PT, DPT, TPS

Education
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy – Chapman Univerity
  • BA of Sociology – UC Santa Barbara
Certifications
  • 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

Sports

  • The Athlete Movement System: Upper Quarter 
  • Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit 2017 

Dr. Michael Zabala Aquino, PT, DPT, TPS 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).

 

His 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.”

Why Deconstruct Health?

Deconstruct: verb. to break something down into its parts in order to understand its meaning, especially when this is different from how it was previously understood

Deconstruct Health was originally started as an instagram page to deconstruct and redefine the narrow definition of what healthy and fit means, in order show people that health is something we can define for ourselves.

Health as we know it has become something that has been warped into this unreachable ideal that has become used to shame so many people.  

I was tired of seeing so many of my patients, friends, and loved ones getting terrible health advice…  

I’ve heard many people tell me they have been told to just give up and stop the movement practices (running, hiking, weight lifting, tennis, basketball, etc) they loved without even the slightest suggestion that their was something they could do to modify or improve how they were doing it. 

I’ve seen many people become shameful and afraid of living in their bodies after being told how broken, misaligned, out-of-place, worn down, or overweight they were. 

I’ve experienced many patients cry in front of me because I was the first person that listened to them, after either being told by so many healthcare providers that their pain was not real or having their experiences with pain dismissed. 

I was tired of how terrible the state of healthcare was and knew I had to do my part in making a change… 

So I started Deconstruct Health Physical Therapy & Consulting PC to create a space that provides compassionate and inclusive care for ALL people and show that improving your health does NOT have to be complicated or scary, it can actually be simple and empowering with the right knowledge. 

A Healing Space for the LGBTQIA+ Community

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 gives 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.