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McKenzie Method®: The Basics and Exercises 

It can be frustrating to have back and neck pain that seems to never end. It can interfere with your quality of life by preventing you from doing everyday tasks, like bending down to clean your floors or turning your head to talk to your co-worker. The good news is that REPAIR SI offers the McKenzie Method® as a treatment that can help.

The McKenzie Method combines assessment and exercises to help alleviate spinal pain that stems from musculoskeletal disorders. At REPAIR SI, we can use the McKenzie Method to help diagnose and treat your symptoms.  


The Basics of the McKenzie Method

The McKenzie Method, also known as the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® (MDT), focuses on the assessment and proper treatment of musculoskeletal extremity and spinal disorders that cause neck and back pain. 

The McKenzie Method helps the therapist determine the centralized area of your symptoms by seeing your body’s pain response in different movements and activities. 

A physical therapist will categorize your spinal pain as one of three classifications:

  • Postural syndrome — The pain is caused by continuous poor posture that affects the lumbar spine.
  • Derangement syndrome — There is an anatomical displacement or disruption in the spinal vertebrae causing pain.
  • Dysfunction syndrome — The pain stems from mechanical deformation issues in the soft tissue.

They may also categorize your pain as an other/nonmechanical syndrome if the symptoms don’t fit with the criteria of the main three syndromes.


McKenzie Method Exercises

After classifying your pain, your physical therapist will determine a treatment plan to help alleviate your centralized pain with targeted exercises. These exercises focus mostly on spinal extension to help reduce your pain.

Three common McKenzie Method exercises are:

  • Extension in standing — Stand a shoulder width apart with your arms bent behind your back and your hands placed just above your hips. Then tilt backward at the waist and hold for several seconds. Repeat as directed by your therapist.
  • Lying prone — This is a position that you probably practice often without noticing it. Lie down flat on your stomach with your arms resting straight down at your side. The goal of this simple pose is to correct any postural issues, such as lordosis, which means the lower back is curved inward.
  • Extension in lying — Lie down on your stomach and then plant your palms facedown next to your shoulders, so that your elbows are pointed toward the air. While keeping your lower back and legs relaxed on the ground, lift your torso so that your back is in an arched position. Repeat as directed by your therapist.


REPAIR SI Can Use the McKenzie Method to Help Alleviate Your Pain

REPAIR SI has plenty of treatment options that can help your neck and back pain, including the McKenzie Method. Not only will this technique help to classify your pain, but it helps the physical therapist determine which exercises will work best to alleviate it.

Contact our team today for more information or schedule an initial appointment.

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