Most people know about the McKenzie Method, but think it only comprises a set of exercises that people can do on their own. This is partially true. The McKenzie Method is really an overall program of assessment, treatment and prevention strategies, that include exercise, that are best learned with a physical therapist who is trained in the method.
The long-term goal of the McKenzie Method is to teach patients suffering from neck pain and/or back pain how to treat themselves and manage their own pain using exercise and other strategies. Other goals include:
- Reduce pain quickly
- Return to normal functioning in daily activities
- Minimize the risk of recurring pain (avoid painful postures and movements)
- Minimize the number of return visits to the spine specialist
The method also includes the overall philosophy and some special procedures:
- Initial assessment procedures
- Treatment for back problems (self-help and special procedures, if indicated)
- Prevention strategies for back problems
The method itself centers on the classification of spinal disorders or conditions based on symptoms and responses to specific assessment procedures. Based on the classification, the patient is instructed on specific exercises to gradually centralize or abolish the pain.
The classifications include:
- Postural syndromes – back pain caused by continued stress of soft tissues while maintaining certain postures or positions.
- Derangement syndromes – back pain caused by a change in position of the vertebrae enclosing a disc due to repositioning of the fluid nucleus of the disc; pain will change with repeated motion.
- Dysfunction syndromes – intermittent back pain and limited movement caused by the presence of scar tissue in a shortened state; back pain occurs when these tissues are stressed.
If you are suffering from back pain, see your spinal specialist, and contact us for an initial assessment.