The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy

Health Check

The McKenzie Method ® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment ® serves to assess and treat the cause of many conditions. These include: back pain, neck pain and pain (or numbness) felt in the extremities (buttocks, legs, knees, feet, arms, shoulders, hands).

Robin McKenzie, a physical therapist from New Zealand, developed The McKenzie Method (MDT) in its earliest form during the 1950s. During the 1980s, he introduced a more formal version of his method. Today, there is broad international acceptance and use of MDT.

Distinguishing MDT from other techniques and methodologies is the fact that the patient always plays an active role during all phases from assessment to classification, treatment and prevention.

During the assessment phase, the patient performs a variety of prescribed movements. These movements help isolate the source of pain, a process known as “centralization”. Once “centralization” is complete, both the patient and the physical therapist know the source of pain. Not surprisingly, pain often originates far from where it is felt.

The basis of treatment is the notion that the source of pain is typically “mechanical” in nature. This means that is often stems from abnormal or unusual forces. Such forces often result from positions, movements and activities, intentional or otherwise. Treatment further assumes that if an abnormal or unusual force can cause pain then an equal and opposite force may relieve it.

Through all phases of MDT, the physical therapist seeks to educate the patient. As a part of this education, patients often perform exercises under the guidance of the physical therapist (with little or no assistance). After discharge from physical therapy, patients continue to follow a treatment plan that includes exercises designed to prevent recurrence of pain.

Please refer to The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® for additional information.

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