Many people know about the McKenzie Method of physical therapy and exercise for back pain or neck pain, but aren’t sure exactly what the goals of the program are and what the exercises entail.
The McKenzie Method was developed in the 1960s by Robin McKenzie, a physical therapist in New Zealand. In his practice, he noted that extending the spine could provide significant pain relief to certain patients and allow them to return to their normal daily activities.
A common perception is that the McKenzie approach comprises a set of exercises that people can do on their own. While this is true, the McKenzie Method is really an program of assessment, treatment, and prevention strategies (including exercise) that are usually best learned with a physical therapist who is trained in the method. The method itself centers on the classification of spinal disorders or conditions based on symptoms and responses to specific initial assessment procedures. Based on the classification, the patient is instructed on specific exercises to gradually centralize and/or abolish the pain.
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