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McKenzie Therapy – Myths vs Facts

McKenzie Therapy – Myths vs Facts

If you have ever had back, neck, or other joint pain, you may have heard about “McKenzie therapy” but are confused as to what that is.  Is it a treatment that can help you? Is it only for certain conditions?  

As a certified McKenzie therapist, I want to help you better understand what McKenzie therapy is, what conditions it is used for, how it can help prevent injuries, and to dispel the most common myths floating around the community.  

What is the McKenzie technique?  

The McKenzie technique is a comprehensive approach to evaluation comprised of 4 key components.  

• Assessment – includes a detailed history to gain information on symptom location, intensity, and behavior during daily activities.  A specific movement exam is performed to determine the effect that various motions have on symptom behavior.  

• Classification – a preliminary diagnosis/classification is determined based on the assessment and instructions are given regarding the best direction of movement for the patient.  

• Treatment – includes motion specific exercises and patient education regarding posture and body mechanics.  

• Prevention – patient education regarding posture/body mechanics and prophylactic exercises

There are several common myths I frequently hear when working with patients.  I hope I can dispel these myths and provide factual information to help you better understanding what McKenzie therapy is and how it can help reduce your pain.   

Myth #1 – “It’s just for the spine”

This is FALSE.  Although the McKenzie technique began as an evaluative tool for the back, it has expanded to include neck, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.  The algorithm is the same regardless of the body part.  The PT will assess, classify, treat, and educate on prevention.  

Myth #2 – “McKenzie therapists are not hands on therapists”

This is FALSE.  The McKenzie technique will utilize hands on manual therapy on an as needed basis.  It is true that McKenzie therapists will focus on patient centered treatment first.  The reason for this is two fold – the patient can more frequently perform exercises on their own and it provides patient empowerment and independence from the therapist.  If the patient driven treatments are not sufficient to reduce his/her pain, the PT will use hands on therapy (mobilizations and manipulations) in order to facilitate pain reduction.  

Myth #3 – “If my pain returns, I will need to go back to therapy”

This is FALSE.  During treatment with a McKenzie certified therapist, you will be given the tools to maintain your progress, prevent recurrence, and address the pain if it should return.  Patient education and patient empowerment are key components to the McKenzie technique.  

Myth #4 – “My pain has been present for years, therapy won’t help me”

This is FALSE.  80% of patients will begin to show a response to treatment in 1-3 sessions.  By treatment session #5, the therapist will be able to determine if the McKenzie technique will be able to help you or if you should seek other medical advice.

If you are having pain, no matter how long it is has been present, call us at 201 833 1333.  We can set you up quickly with an appointment and get you on your way to a pain free, more active lifestyle.  

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