McKenzie Therapy

The McKenzie Method is a therapeutic system introduced in 1956 by a New Zealand physiotherapist, Robin McKenzie. This method entails an extensive, systematic mechanical examination of the neck, back and extremities to detect movements that can abolish pain and restore function. By identifying these movements, the therapist is able to empower the patient with self-treatment skills for better outcomes and more cost-effective care for the patient.

At Sentara, advanced mechanical evaluations and treatments are carried out by physical therapists that are thoroughly trained or certified in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment.

A mechanical diagnosis typically finds patients in one or a combination of these categories:

  1. Derangement conditions in which pain is caused by abnormal vertebra movement through spinal disc injury
  2. Postural conditions with pain caused by stress on soft tissue in certain postures or positions
  3. Dysfunctional conditions in which pain or decreased movement arise from scar tissue, nerve fiber damage or nerve root problems

Sentara physical therapists can quickly determine which patients are candidates for this course of treatment. Patients whose pain comes from mechanical causes typically find McKenzie therapy beneficial.

Conditions which respond favorably include:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Herniated discs in the spine
  • Nerve compression
  • Extremity joint range of motion dysfunctions
  • Postural dysfunctions
  • Unexplained upper or lower extremity pain

Patients with non-mechanical pain will not benefit from the McKenzie approach. Once these patients are identified, alternative medical treatment or types of therapy can be explored.