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About the

McKenzie Method


The McKenzie Method

Creating independence by promoting the body’s potential to heal itself without medication, surgery or a physical dependency on the practitioner.

Three Steps to Success using the McKenzie Method:

  1. Assessment: The process begins with a thorough history and testing of movements to identify distinct patterns of pain responses that are: reproducible, objective, reliable and reflect the characteristics of the underlying pain generator.
  2. Treatment: When appropriate, the basis of McKenzie treatment takes advantage of the patient’s own movements and forces to abolish the pain and restore function. A series of individualized exercises based on the patient’s responses during assessment are prescribed.
  3. Preventive strategy: Most patients who respond favorably can successfully treat themselves and minimize the number of visits to the clinic. They must be provided the necessary knowledge and tools to put them in control of their treatment safely and effectively.

Goals of McKenzie MDT:

  • Reduce pain and deformity
  • Maintain the reduction with education and posture advice
  • Restore full function
  • Prevent recurrences


Questions About the McKenzie Method

  •  What is the McKenzie Method? The McKenzie Method is a philosophy of active patient involvement and education that is trusted and used all over the world for back, neck and extremity problems. This approach continues to be the most researched physical therapy based method available. The key distinction is its initial assessment component – a safe and reliable means to accurately reach a diagnosis and only then make the appropriate treatment plan. Rarely is time or money wasted to perform expensive tests, certified McKenzie clinicians have a valid indicator to know right away whether-and how-the method will work for each patient.
  • How is the assessment made? The most common and meaningful pattern of pain response is Centralization. This is defined as a patient’s referred or radiating pain promptly reversing, returning to the center of the back, and then usually abolishing. Whether the pain is acute or chronic, if Centralization occurs, good outcomes are favorable. It provides a benefit to the patient and practitioner by eliminating the need for expensive and/or invasive procedures.
  • How long will the results last? Patients who stick to the prescribed treatment protocols are less likely to have persistent problems. By learning how to self-treat, patients gain knowledge about how to minimize the risk of recurrence. They also learn how to quickly manage themselves if symptoms do occur.
  • How do I know that this method is the right one for me? Assessment is the first step! Pain is a symptom – not a diagnosis. While every patient can benefit from the McKenzie Method, not all patients will be suitable for mechanical therapy – and this is determined quickly so that alternative treatments can begin as soon as possible. Research has shown that the McKenzie initial assessments are as reliable as costly diagnostic imaging to determine the source of the problem and quickly identify who will respond to the treatment.
  • What training is needed to perform the McKenzie Method? The McKenzie Institute USA , www.mckenziemdt.org, provides the only US sanctioned training. The Program of Certification consists of a four-part series of courses and a Credentialing Examination (Cert. MDT ). Additionally, a Diplomate (Dip. MDT ) may be earned.

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