What does it involve?
The McKenzie Method®
MDT begins with the clinician taking a detailed history about your symptoms and how they behave. You will be asked to carefully perform certain movements and adopt specific positions. Your clinician will question you clearly about how your symptoms are affected. The main difference between MDT and most other assessments is the use of repeated movements rather than a single movement and the careful questioning by the clinician. How your symptoms and range of movement change with these repeated movements and positions provides the clinician with information that they use to understand the nature of your problem.
Each specific musculoskeletal classification is addressed according to its unique nature, with targeted exercises and procedures, including repeated movements and sustained postures. Most commonly, the classification warrants education and an exercised-based self-management strategy, however, there are specific classifications that need alternative plans. In these cases, the MDT clinician will work with you to collaboratively develop an appropriate management strategy. Sometimes this may mean that there will need to be longer term planning to achieve your goals, or in rare cases the problem will warrant a referral onto a medical practitioner.
Using the information from the assessment and subsequent classification, the clinician will likely prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding postures to adopt. Your instructions will be clear and simple, not pages of exercises. You will also be guided as how to interpret your symptoms and how to feel safe to respond. For a few that have a more challenging presentation, a qualified MDT clinician may need to add hands-on procedures until you can self-manage. The aim is to be as effective as possible in the least number of sessions. Treatment that you can perform five or six times a day is more likely to be effective in a shorter period of time than treatment administered by the clinician once or twice per week. The emphasis is on you, the patient, being actively involved. This can minimise the number of visits to the clinic. Ultimately, most patients can successfully treat themselves when provided with the necessary knowledge and tools.
By learning how to self-treat the current problem, hopefully you will gain some insight into how to minimise the risk of recurrence. You should also be able to self-treat symptoms if they recur, putting you in control of your treatment safely and effectively. Persisting problems are more likely to be prevented through self-maintenance than by passive care.
There are trained clinicians of MDT in over 35 countries worldwide. Because the specific management provided must be based on an accurate assessment, finding a clinician who is Credentialled or Diplomaed is important. Find a Clinician near you here.
To enhance your self-management, you may benefit from a McKenzie lumbar or cervical roll, or McKenzie's self-help books: Treat Your Own Back, Treat Your Own Neck, Treat Your Own Shoulder, Treat Your Own Hip, Treat Your Own Knee. These books have helped millions of people worldwide to treat, relieve and prevent their joint and muscle pain. International scientific studies have proven that the information and exercises described in these books gets positive and lasting results.