The McKenzie Method

The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) is a research proven treatment approach for back, neck and extremity symptoms developed by a world renowned Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie.

The McKenzie Method is a philosophy of active patient involvement and education that is trusted and used by practitioners and patients worldwide. It is a non-invasive, self-directed treatment that provides fast and effective relief, for both recent onset and chronic pain.

How does the McKenzie Method Work

The McKenzie Method has three essential steps: Initial assessment, Treatment, Prevention

Initial Assessment

The key feature of the McKenzie method is its initial assessment component - a safe and reliable method to accurately reach a diagnosis and then develop an individualized treatment plan. Each treatment plan is designed to enable self-management. This is achieved through patient education, identifying aggravating factors and the instruction in how to perform exercises that will relieve pain.

The assessment involves a comprehensive mechanical evaluation which assesses the effect repeated movements and static positioning has on your symptoms. Once it is established which movements / postures improve your symptoms and which aggravate your symptoms the therapist is able to provide you with a mechanical treatment strategy aimed not only at resolving your current symptoms but also long term prevention. The exercise that reduces your symptoms forms the basis of your "treatment". A large focus of your initial consultation is based on educating you how and why you developed your problem, what you can do to treat yourself, and how to resolve this episode and prevent future recurrences.


When appropriate, the McKenzie treatment uses the patient's own movements and forces to abolish the pain and restore function. The treatment always matches the assessment findings.

The valuable information gleaned from the assessment process leads the clinician to recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. The clinician will prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding appropriate postures and ergonomics. If your problem has a more difficult mechanical presentation, a certified McKenzie clinician can provide advanced hands-on techniques to help manage the problem until you can self-manage.


By learning how to self-treat your current problem, you gain hands-on knowledge to minimize the risk of recurrence and rapidly deal with symptoms if they recur putting you in control safely and effectively.

The McKenzie Method - Facts

  • Research has shown that the McKenzie assessment is as reliable as CT scans and MRI's when it comes to determining the source of the patient's pain and the potential recovery, but only when a properly trained clinician performs it.
  • Many musculoskeletal problems can be rapidly reversed if they are properly addressed.
  • 50-70% of people with low back and leg pain rapidly improve when they are given the correct treatment.
  • Rapid responders often include patients who have no benefited from other treatments before.
  • The McKenzie Method is the most researched physical therapy treatment system.

*Unfortunately, many clinicians claim to do "McKenzie", when in fact they are only using a few of the techniques along with other treatments. The research shows that unless the clinician has been certified or diploma trained, they are often not able to get the results that a fully trained MDT therapist can.

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