The McKenzie Method for Pain Management
The McKenzie Method is an overall program of assessment, treatment and prevention strategies (including exercise) for managing back and neck pain.
Developed in the 1960’s by Robin McKenzie, a physical therapist in New Zealand, the McKenzie Method provides pain relief to certain patients, by using physical therapy and exercise to extend the spine.
Back pain is usually better tolerated than pain in the extremities (leg or arm). With the McKenzie approach, spinal extension can help "centralize" the patient’s pain by moving it away from the extremities to the back. Centralizing the pain also allows the source of the pain to be treated rather than the symptoms.
The long-term goal of the McKenzie Method is to help patients suffering from neck pain and/or back pain learn how to treat and manage their own pain using prevention strategies and exercise. The Method helps patients reduce pain quickly so they can return to normal daily activities, avoid postures and movements that cause recurring pain, and minimize the number of visits to the spine specialist.
For some patients with certain conditions, extending the spine may not move their pain from the extremities to the back. The McKenzie Method is designed to help those patients who have pain that will "centralize."