McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT)

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What is the McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method, also known as Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), is an assessment process used for all musculoskeletal issues including pain or discomfort in the back, neck or extremities. Dr. Douglas Krebs was one of the 1st 100 chiropractors credentialed by the McKenzie Institute in 2010.  This method is also useful for concerns with sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms and intermittent numbness in the hands or feet. The methodology was developed by an expert physiotherapist, Robin McKenzie, in the 1950s and uses a comprehensive and clinically based evaluation of patients without the use of imaging tools such as X-rays and MRIs. The treatment principle is that patients can learn principles of empowerment and take control of their own symptom management.

What is involved in treatment?

There are four steps to the McKenzie Method.

Assessment: The clinician will watch and feel the patient move through certain movements and positions. The patient’s medical history will be collected, specifically in relation to the symptoms associated with the suspected musculoskeletal disorder. The range of motion and information provided will allow the clinician to categorize the issue.

Classification: MDT has a comprehensive classification system to guide treatment.

Treatment: Once the condition has been classified, the clinician will begin the treatment with the patient. This may include specific exercises, advice regarding posture, and/or hands-on manipulation. The aim is to teach the patient how to self-treat.  This is a guiding principle of the McKenzie Method. The patient will be given a series of short, simple exercise(s) or movement(s) that they can do on their own five or six times a day. Research has shown this to be more effective than a longer session with a clinician, once or twice a week.

Prevention: When patient learns how to self-treat they also learn preventative steps to reduce the risk of recurrence. In the future, when a patient notices the first signs of an issue returning, he or she can return to the treatment exercises immediately to stop the condition from progressing.

More information available at The McKenzie Institute's Website