What is the Mckenzie Method?
The McKenzie Method is a physical therapy program. It promotes itself as a strategic approach to spine therapy and other mechanical spinal teachings. Numerous physical therapists and medical professionals can co-sign the fact that this method is an effective therapy. The exercises work great to relieve pain. The McKenzie Method can also help relieve herniated disc symptoms and sciatic pain. By using this method, you could help progress herniated disc recovery and decrease pain in the neck and lower back.
The McKenzie Method is most effective when taught by a physical therapist who knows the method because this program isn’t simply a list of exercises. It is an overall program of diagnosis, therapy and treatment, and preventative measures.
McKenzie Method – Overview of history
Robin McKenzie developed his method in the 1960′s. A physical therapist from New Zealand, Robin discovered that some patients can receive pain relief by extending the spine. These patients were then able to return to there daily lifestyle and activities that they could not do before.
One of the important aspects of the McKenzie approach is moving the patients pain away from the arms and legs and into the back. This method used to extend the spine can help decrease sciatic pain (pain in the legs caused by a lumber herniated disc) and pain in the shoulders and arms (pain often attributed to a cervical herniated disc).
Back pain is a type of pain that can be better managed in both patients and by centralizying the pain in this area the source of the discomfort can be treated rather then simply the sympoms.
And on a personal note I can tell you that with a lumbar herniated disc, which I am currently recovering from, sciatic pain is a pain in the butt (no pun intended). And its much easier to walk and perform daily activities when you can walk without pain in the extremities.
In the Mckenzie Method, passive uses of heat and cold therapy, ultrasound, and medicine are not used. Instead, a central aspect of the McKenzie Method is self healing and treatment.
The McKenzie Method helps to teach patients suffering from hernitaed disc pain how recover more efficiently and use basic pain management protocals. Other long-term goals include short-term pain relief, reliving daily activities without malfunctions, and minimizing revisits to doctors and preventing recurring pain.
Its important to note that some patients (like the one suffering from spinal stenosis) will not be able to use the McKenzie Method very effectively because extending the spine can actually make their pain worse.
How the McKenzie Method helps treat herniated discs
By using the McKenzie Method you will be able to learn exercises that help stretch the spine where your herniated disc is located. Extending the spine allows decompression of the nerves that are being pinched. And we know all too well of what happens when nerves are being pinched – radicular pain.
A patient that wants to use the McKenzie Method, as said before, should seek a physical therapist trained in the method because every patient will land in one of three classifications (and perhaps even more).
Based on this classification, you will be given a list of instructed exercises that can help progressively reduce pain or even get rid of pain completely if it is really effective.
The three classes are postural, derangement, and dysfunction. Certain positions such as sitting can cause postural problems. Derangement syndromes are pain caused by the disc material moving around. For lumbar herniated discs, this could be why some days are better then others. Some days the S1 nerve is being pinched roughly and some days not so much (as in my case). The last class is dysfunction and this is pain caused by scar tissue and this pain occurs when the tissues specific to your injury are being stressed.
McKenzie Method – Conclusion
The McKenzie Method has been proven to be an effective program for treating pain. In a future article, I will make a list of some of McKenzie’s exercises to help you find the ones that can help you out. Below is one of the exercises I do for my lumbar herniated disc. And it has helped quite a bit in reducing my sciatic pain and centralizing the pain in my lumbar spine which is a lot more easier to deal with on a daily basis.