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Back and spinal pain is considered one of the toughest kinds of pain to deal with since it intrudes on every aspect of your life. Relaxing at home, doing your job or even playing with the kids or pets can become activities that exacerbate your back pain. 

In many cases, people are also unsure what is causing their symptoms to develop. The McKenzie Method is a great way to not only diagnose the causes of your pain but also treat and prevent it from recurring. 

If you would like to schedule a consultation with a therapist to see if you are a candidate for the McKenzie Method, give our office a call at 419-222-6622 or fill out our online contact form to get started.

What Is the McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method, also commonly referred to as mechanical diagnosis and therapy or simply MDT, is a diagnostic and treatment methodology that focuses on spinal and musculoskeletal disorders. 

Rather than approaching these categories of conditions with medication or surgery, MDT instead looks to provide highly tailored exercises that will help relieve pain associated with them. This approach is backed by decades of research and results. 

The McKenzie Method makes sure to consider the behavior of pain and how it manifests and shifts over time in chronic and acute symptoms. It aims to uncover the underlying causes of pain and understand the connection between the cause and how it affects your body. 

Because it is a highly specialized treatment, only certain credentialed and educated medical professionals can take courses to learn the McKenzie Method. This way, if you see a physician who is credentialed through the McKenzie Institute, you know that they were thoroughly trained in the process.

How Was the McKenzie Method Developed?

MDT has been effectively used on patients for more than 60 years. It was developed during the 1950s by a physiotherapist in New Zealand by the name of Robin McKenzie. McKenzie launched the official MDT treatment concept in 1981 after developing a system of steps and treatments.

This treatment method was initially developed in response to the centralization phenomenon, in which pain that does not originate from the spine radiates or moves entirely toward it. It began with a single patient bending backward for five minutes and was eventually developed into an entire system of movements and exercises to treat specific conditions. 

What Can the McKenzie Method Treat?

The McKenzie technique can treat a host of different musculoskeletal and spinal disorders, including back pain, degenerative disc disease, tinnitus, sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, muscle spasms, sporadic numbness and other similar conditions. 

Am I a Candidate for the McKenzie Method?

If you are suffering from any of the previously mentioned conditions, then you are likely a candidate for McKenzie Method treatment. Your physician will review your medical history during your consultation and conduct an examination to best understand your unique conditions. At this point, you will be told whether MDT is the best option for your treatment. 

Our office will never recommend MDT unless we are confident that it is the best route to move forward in your treatment plan. 

What Are the Steps of McKenzie Method Treatment?

Unlike many other types of medical treatment, there is a very specific action plan that must be followed to ensure MDT is administered correctly. This process is broken down into four steps: assessment, classification, treatment and prevention.

1. Assessment

The first step, assessment, is similar to most other initial consultations. Your physician will perform a thorough examination of your conditions and health, carefully review your medical history and listen to all of your concerns and goals for the treatment plan. 

Unlike other consultations, however, there are specific movements that you will be asked to do. These movements will be repeated, rather than just doing them once as other treatment approaches do. During these movements, your physician will ask you how these positions affect your pain levels and range of motion. 

Your physician will use this information to complete the second step in the treatment: classification.

2. Classification

By gathering information during your consultation, your physician will be able to classify the causes of your pain and their effects on your body into one of these four different syndromes. 

Derangement Syndrome

This syndrome refers to pain that is caused by problems in the regular resting positions of your joints. It is the most common classification and is further divided into two groups: reducible and irreducible.

Reducible Derangement

Reducible derangement is when your body is repeating movement that is not in line with your anatomy’s normal function, and there is a method of addressing or correcting that problematic line of motion. 

Irreducible Derangement

Irreducible derangement also involves your body moving in a way that is not intended, but the key difference is that there is no approach or method of treating the issue, thereby making it irreducible. 

Dysfunction Syndrome

This syndrome refers to pain that is caused by mechanical deformation from scar tissue or similar conditions. This pain typically occurs when the maximum range of motion is hitting its limit.

Posture Syndrome

This syndrome refers to pain caused by poor sustained positioning like slouching in a chair or not standing up straight. The pain usually ends when the prolonged position is broken.

Non-mechanical Syndrome

Patients who cannot be categorized into the other three syndromes typically fall into this category. While only the vast minority of patients make it into this category, many often exhibit specific conditions like post-surgical pain or sacroiliac disorders.

3. Treatment

The third step in the McKenzie method is the treatment of the syndromes that have been discovered. These treatments typically involve very specific exercise and movements to stretch and displace problematic areas of the body naturally. 

There are many different types of McKenzie exercises, but some of the most common are:

  • Lying on your stomach
  • Lying on a pillow
  • Standing extensions
  • Prone press-ups
  • Prone elbow-ups
  • Lying flexion
  • Sitting flexion
  • Standing flexion

The overarching theme of MDT is that it requires direct patient involvement to be successful. Once your physician has given you the exercises to perform, it is solely your responsibility to make sure you follow through on the treatment. 

4. Prevention

The fourth step is understanding how to prevent the pain from recurring in the future. By going through the McKenzie Method process, you will naturally gain a deeper understanding of what specifically causes your pain and discomfort and how you could avoid certain triggers. 

What Kind of Results Can I Expect from McKenzie Method Treatment?

After completing MDT treatment, most patients can expect to have a long-lasting improvement in spinal and musculoskeletal pain. Because the therapy mostly entails your commitment to maintaining the treatment, your results will remain as long as you remain vigilant in your efforts.

You can also expect to have a much better understanding of what causes your pain and how you can avoid those triggers, which means spending less time having to deal with or worry about pain in your day-to-day life. 

Free Yourself From Back Pain with MDT Treatment in Ohio 

We know more than anything that you need a partner through this process to comfortably guide you through and answer any question you might have — and you are in luck because we are looking forward to having the opportunity to do just that. 

If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists to see if you are a candidate for the McKenzie Method, give our office a call at 419-222-6622 or fill out our online contact form.