How the McKenzie Method Treats Back and Neck Pain

Spine Treatment Options in Los Angeles, CA

Developed by noted physical therapist Robin McKenzie in the 1960s, the McKenzie Method is a well-known physical therapy technique commonly used to assess and treat back and neck pain. The McKenzie Method encompasses a comprehensive approach to pain management that includes diagnosis and assessment, treatment, and prevention. Santa Monica back surgeons discuss this type of physical therapy and how it can help people manage their chronic pain.

Centralizes Pain

The goal of the McKenzie Method is to redirect a patient’s pain away from legs, arms, and other extremities of the body and centralize it to the back. This approach is taken because back pain is often tolerated better than radiating pain, and it also shifts treatment from relieving symptoms to treating the pain itself.

Classifies Pain by Symptoms

With the McKenzie Method, assessment of pain is based on symptoms and an evaluation of a patient’s condition. This information is then used to ascertain the appropriate classification, which then determines the types of exercises to recommend. These classifications include:

  • Postural syndromes – Pain linked to specific movements and stress on muscles and tissues
  • Derangement syndromes – Pain triggered by a shift in position, as is often the case with a herniated disc
  • Dysfunction syndromes – Pain caused by movements that result in tissue stress from scarring

Encourages Self-Treatment

The McKenzie Method helps with pain management by stressing the importance of self-treatment, although this doesn’t include passive treatments like the application of heat or cold. The ultimate goal is to teach patients how to:

  • Quickly ease pain
  • Get back to a normal routine
  • Avoid movements likely to trigger pain

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to assess the effectiveness of the McKenzie Method. The general consensus is that it is most effective for diagnosing nonspecific spinal pain and acute lower back pain. There is evidence the McKenzie Method may be more effective than passive therapy for pain management, but more so for acute pain rather than chronic discomfort.

Though physical therapy can be helpful if you experience chronic back or neck pain, severe cases of pain may indicate the need for the minimally invasive spine surgery Santa Monica surgeons offer at The Spine Institute Center. We specialize in spinal fusion procedures as well as various alternatives to spinal fusion. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hyun Bae by calling our office at 310-828-7757 today.