The McKenzie Method
The McKenzie Method is not merely extension exercises. In its
truest sense, McKenzie is a comprehensive approach to the spine
based on sound principles and fundamentals that when understood
and followed accordingly are very successful. In fact, most remarkable,
but least appreciated, is the McKenzie assessment process.
Assessment. Unique to the McKenzie Method is a well-defined
algorithm that leads to the simple classification of spinal-related
disorders. It is based on a consistent "cause and effect"
relationship between historical pain behavior as well as the pain
response to repeated test movements, positions and activities
during the assessment process.
A systematic progression of applied mechanical forces (the cause)
utilizes pain response (the effect) to monitor changes in motion/function.
The underlying disorder can then be quickly identified through
objective findings for each individual patient.
The McKenzie classification of spinal pain provides reproducible
means of separating patients with apparently similar presentations
into definable sub-groups (syndromes) to determine appropriate
McKenzie has named these three mechanical syndromes: Postural,
Dysfunction and Derangement.
- Postural: End-range stress of normal structures
- Dysfunction: End-range stress of shortened structures (scarring,
fibrosis, n.root adherence)
- Derangement: Anatomical disruption or displacement within
the motion segment
(All three mechanical syndromes postural, dysfunction,
and derangement occur in the cervical as well as thoracic
and lumbar regions of the spine.)
Each distinct syndrome is addressed according to it unique nature
with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions. The
Derangement syndrome where the phenomenon of "centralization"
occurs is most common.
Well-trained McKenzie practitioners will be able to identify those
more difficult cases where advanced McKenzie techniques might
benefit the patient versus those patients whose diagnosis is non-mechanical
in nature, and those patients are then quickly referred for alternate
care, thus avoiding unnecessary periods of inappropriate or expensive
treatment uniquely emphasizes education and active patient involvement
in the management of their treatment in order to decrease pain
quickly, and restore function and independence, minimizing the
number of visits to the clinic.
And if a problem is more complex, self-treatment may not be possible
right away. However, a certified McKenzie clinician will know
when to provide additional advanced hands-on techniques until
the patient can successfully manage the prescribed skills on their
Ultimately, most patients can successfully treat themselves when
provided the necessary knowledge and tools. An individualized
self-treatment program tailored to the lifestyle of the patient
puts the patient in control safely and effectively.
Preventive. Patients gain
an experiential education learning to self-treat the present problem.
The management of these skills and behaviors will minimize the
risk of recurrence and allow patients to rapidly manage themselves
when symptoms occur.