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Mckenzie Method? What's that and how can it help my back/neck pain? PART 1

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

physical therapist helping man with back pain

Pain that starts for a reason, such as increasing sports or a fall, is difficult enough to deal with, but what about pain that starts or continues “for no particular reason”? That is the most common description of pain that sends people to come to a physical therapist. Perhaps most of your activity has been exactly the same, or several small things have changed, and it is difficult to pin down. These are the situations where Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), otherwise known as the McKenzie Method, really shines. MDT has a very specific way of examining pain and how it behaves when we move or position ourselves to help classify and treat pain.

There are several hallmarks that you can expect from working with MDT treatment. One is empowerment, the person should feel by the end of the episode of care that they understand how to deal with this pain and what to do in the future if needed. Another is specificity, particular movements or positions are tested one at a time for their effects so that responses are clear. Further is efficiency, though some people may decide to continue on longer with their physical therapy because they have other goals to accomplish, figuring out how to deal with the current pain is often rapid, likely the largest change in the first 5 visits. Last is understanding, understanding how the forces in our lives are acting on our body, and what we can do to stay in balance.

Sound interesting? Whether it’s that back pain that shows up a few times a year, or that bum shoulder that never is quite right, or the random neck pain you woke up with “for no particular reason,” we are here to help!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our MDT Blog Series in which we will dive into what to expect from a MDT physical therapy visit!

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