The McKenzie Method
An approach to treating spine and extremity pain

By Cheryl Murray, PT, Certified MDT

The McKenzie Method, also known as Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy or MDT, is a world- renowned approach to treatment of the spine and extremities.

Developed in the 1960s by Robin McKenzie of New Zealand, the McKenzie Method involves a combination of active patient self treatment and clinician-taught educational tools to help patients return to normal function.

This form of treatment begins with a comprehensive and systematic assessment to evaluate the patient’s problem. The examination involves a thorough patient history and uses special test movements and positions to identify pain responses and to determine what makes symptoms better or worse.

The McKenzie Method is grounded by finding a cause- and effect-relationship between the positions the patient usually assumes while sitting, standing or moving, and the generation of pain as a result of those positions or activities.

The treatment consists of a series of repeated exercises based on the directional preference of movement that offers centralization, or when pain that is referred or radiating into the leg or arm reverses and returns to the center of the back or neck and eventually goes away.

The McKenzie Method teaches the patient how to self treat the problem, restore independence with daily activities and minimize the risk of recurrence.

This approach reduces dependency on medical intervention, including medication, modalities and surgery.

If you are interested in trying the McKenzie Method, contact West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic or visit mckenziemdt.org to locate a licensed health care practitioner near you who is trained and certified in the McKenzie Method.