5 Things That Physical Therapists Treat That You Didn’t Know

Did you know #wetreatthat?

Here are 5 things that Physical Therapists treat that you might not have known.


One of the most common conditions that physical therapists can treat is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or (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. Symptoms usually last less than 30 sec to 1 min.

This 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 dislodged, either by head trauma, age, or even a sinus infection, the system that provides 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.


Jaw Pain

Stress and tension can contribute to habitual jaw clenching and tightness in the muscles surrounding the jaw and neck. This muscle tightness can even lead to headaches.

Dentists have multiple treatments for TMJ pain, but those who refer a patient to physical therapy (PT) are still few and far between. Soft tissue work to the masseter, sternocleidomastoid, and lateral and medial pterygoid muscles (muscles around the TMJ), among others, can help with restrictions and pain and potentially improve mobility.


Urinary Pain or Incontinence

The term “pelvic floor physical therapy” has somehow become synonymous with “women’s health,” this is not true. Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles and both men and women can experience symptoms associated with dysfunction.

For men experiencing anything from pain with sex, painful urination, difficulty going to the bathroom, dribbling, a pelvic floor specialized physical therapist may be able to help.



Often, an injury that causes a concussion can disrupt the vestibular system, or affect the cervical spine, which can be treated with manual therapy, joint mobilization, stretching and strengthening.

A specially trained physical therapist can perform different tests to assess which system has been affected (neurological, vestibular, neurocognitive, or proprioceptive) and treat the appropriate system accordingly. A therapist may be able to help you or your young athlete get back to the game faster and safer.



One of the most common types of headaches—tension headaches—are often caused by soft tissue restrictions and tension in the muscles surrounding the face and neck.

A physical therapist can do an assessment of your cervical (neck) range of motion, strength and soft tissue restrictions as well as look at your posture and body mechanics to determine the proper course of care. A therapist can determine the plan of care that addresses your unique impairments to help reduce frequency and intensity of headaches.


Written by Dr. Kayla Kennedy, PT, DPT

Source: Dr Rachel Tavel, PT, DPT, CSCS, “Men’s Health”

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