The McKenzie Method


What Is Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (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 have 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 not 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.