The McKenzie Method


The McKenzie Method also known as Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) is a philosophy of active patient involvement and education trusted and used by practitioners and patients all over the world for back, neck and extremity problems. An evidence- based approach, the key distinction of MDT is its initial assessment component — a safe and reliable means to accurately reach a diagnosis and only then make the appropriate treatment plan. Certified McKenzie clinicians have valid indicators to know right away whether—a uniquely how—the method will work for each patient.




For successful treatment one must first be effectively evaluated.


Pain is a symptom -- not a diagnosis.


Assessment is the first step!


The evidence has shown that the McKenzie assessment procedures

performed by competent MDT clinicians are as reliable as costly diagnosis imaging, i.e. X-rays and MRIs to determine the source of the problem to the treatment principles of MDT.


Through a series of repeated movements and positions, certified MDT

practitioners assess two things as a result of these movements:

symptomatic and mechanical response. Patterns of response can be determined for what makes symptoms better or worse. Patients are classified accordingly and an effective set of exercises is established based in a "directional preference."


Typically, this is achieved in only 3 - 5 visits.





Creating Independence


McKenzie MDT is a proven methodology:


  • Backed by years of research, evidence and practice


  • Low cost, fast and effective even for chronic pain


  • Non-invasive No needles No scalpels


  • Be in control of your own symptom management


  • Gain life-long pain management and preventative skills

Proven goals of McKenzie MDT are to:


Promote the body's potential to health itself without medication, heat, cold, ultrasound, surgery or endless visits to the clinic.

The McKenzie Method was developed in the in the late 1950s by New Zealand physical therapist Robin McKenzie, OBE (1931–2013).






MDT provides a safe, logical guide to the most optimal treatment strategy for a specific patient. Unique to the McKenzie Method, the process begins with a thorough history and testing of repeated movements to identify distinct patterns of pain responses that are: objective, reproducible and reliable.


The most common and meaningful pattern of pain response is Centralization; when pain that has spread from the center of the back or neck down the leg or arm can reverse returning to the center of the back or neck and eventually cease. Whether the patient's pain is acute or chronic, if Centralization occurs through this logical step-by-step process, treatment is the most successful and lasting.





The basis of the McKenzie system is the patient's own ability for movements and forces to abolish the pain and restore function. A series of individualized exercises are prescribed subsequent to the patient's responses during the assessment process and -- most critically-- are based on the identified Directional Preference of movements that will centralize or abolish pain, i.e., extension or flexion, right or left lateral movement, etc.


Patients who do respond favorably with MDT can successfully treat themselves — and minimize the number of visits to the clinic — when provided the necessary knowledge and tools putting him or her in control of his or her treatment safely and effectively.





Patients who stick to the prescribed treatment protocols are less likely to have persistent problems. Thus, by learning how to self-treat the current problem, patients gain hands-on knowledge on how to minimize the risk of recurrence and how to quickly manage themselves if symptoms do occur.