What do dizziness, headaches, jaw pain, and erectile dysfunction all have in common? These might sound like symptoms you experience after a wild night out, but they are actually all symptoms you probably didn’t know could be treated with physical therapy.
One common misconception is that physical therapists treat only musculoskeletal pain—or, in layman’s terms, you’ll only see them when you have an issue with injuries or pain in your bones, muscles, or joints. While that is a huge component of what we do, it is also only one portion of our treatments.
More and more Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs) are specializing in treating other systems, including the vestibular (inner ear) system and the male genitourinary system (this includes the male pelvic floor muscles and conditions such as erectile dysfunction). If you are in pain, it is always recommended to see an MD to rule out other problems before beginning physical therapy. But you should know that multiple treatment options probably exist for whatever it is that’s ailing you.
Here are 5 symptoms that you probably didn’t know could be treated by a physical therapist.
Dizziness or Vertigo
There are many potential causes of dizziness, but one possible culprit is a problem with your vestibular system. Don’t know what that is? Dr. Klaus Dobra, PT, DPT, CSCS, a Doctor of Physical Therapy who specializes in treating vestibular disorders explains: “The vestibular system is the system responsible for the body’s awareness of directionality and movement through space.”
One of the most common conditions Dr. Dobra treats is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Symptoms of BPPV include the sensation that the room is spinning. It can feel worse when you turn your head a certain way or lie down.
The condition is caused by calcium crystals called otoconia that rest in the labyrinth of the inner ear and give feedback to the brain about your position in space. When mechanically dislodged, by a sudden forceful head movement for example, the system providing positional information to your brain is disrupted. Thankfully, a quick assessment and an even quicker treatment to reposition the otoconia can often solve the problem. Dr. Dobra adds that people who have experienced this type of vertigo for years can often be fixed with one treatment.
Dr. Rachel Tavel, PT, DPT, CSCS