Mckenzie Technique

The Mckenzie technique is a process of assessment, diagnosis and treatment for back and neck pain eg. sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms, numbness and/or pins and needles in the hands or feet.

The treatment is designed to promote self healing and management without the use of medications and other forms of medical intervention.

If utilized correctly, the achievable goals of the McKenzie Method in a cost- and time-effective manner are to:
  • Accurately understand the patient’s presentation and behaviour of symptoms.
  • Determine the most appropriate and effective treatment plan.
  • Eliminate symptoms and restore full function.
  • Empower the patient to self treat and prevent recurrences.
  • Help inform patients if other medical advice or testing is needed.

Most back pain is usually not due to serious pathology like cancer or infection. This means the pain is ‘mechanical’ in nature. A mechanical pain means that moving in a certain direction or being in a particular position will provoke your symptoms. The Mckenzie assessment  is used to identify what aggravates your pain and tailor your treatment in an effort to eliminate your pain.

There are four primary steps when your clinician performs the Mckenzie technique: assessment, classification, treatment and prevention.
  • Assessment – Finding the clinical cause of your symptoms is the goal here. During the assessment your therapist will take a detailed history. A thorough physical examination will follow which will include certain movements and postures. The Mckenzie technique will require you to go through certain movements repeatedly. The therapist will then be able to problem solve and categorise your condition.
  • Classification – After the assessment your therapist will be able to explain the root cause of your pain. The classification will be categorized into one of three syndromes:
    1. Derangment: other wise known as a disc bulge or prolapsed disc
    2. Dysfunction: tight or torn soft tissue (muscles, ligaments or tendons)
    3. Postural: poor postural positions
  • Treatment – The treatment plan will be developed after the assessment is complete and the classification of your injury is established. The treatment usually includes manual therapy, specific exercises and education. The aim is to be as effective as possible with the least number of physiotherapy sessions. The amount of therapy needed depends on how severe your pain is and how you are responding to treatment. Your therapist will guide you throughout the process. Ultimately, the emphasis is on the patient being actively involved in the treatment process.
  • Prevention – Throughout the treatment you will be educated on what is going on and how to manage your condition. You will be able to prevent future flare ups with the exercises and techniques you were taught while undergoing treatment. This is known as self management and maintenance.