Have you ever noticed that your back pain feels better when you’re walking around instead of sitting for long periods of time? Or that your neck pain feels worse when you look down and better when you look up? The McKenzie Method of Diagnosis and Therapy, or more simply, the McKenzie Method looks to understand these patterns in your pain presentation and takes advantage of them to help you feel and move better. One of our chiropractors, Dr. Trevor McArthur has recently taken and passed his certification exam in the McKenzie method and is one of only a few chiropractors in Canada to have this certification. Here he is to answer a few questions about the method. Enjoy!
What is the McKenzie Method?
– The McKenzie method was developed initially by a physiotherapist named Robin…you guessed it…McKenzie in New Zealand. The system has evolved over time to what it is today, a reliable system to assess and treat all kinds of different muscle, joint and nerve pain. The method has found that patients tend to fall into specific categories or subgroups that respond well to movements that are matched to that specific category.
What should patient expect when being evaluated using this system?
– Patients can expect to have their visit be quite similar to a typical chiropractic or physiotherapy visit wit a few changes. The visit will start with a thorough history to understand how your pain behaves and to rule out any more serious or dangerous causes of pain. From there, you will undergo a physical exam to assess how your body is functioning. The next step is what is called a “repeated movement exam.” This means that we will check certain movements to see what their impact is on your pain. And we don’t just check one time, we will move you many times in the same direction to fully understand your body’s response. The responses are quite simple, either your pain will improve, it will get worse, or it will not change at all. Depending on how your pain responds, we may need to test more movements or we may be ready to move to treatment. If moving in one direction repetitively improves your pain, this is called your “directional preference” and your treatment will likely continue to move you in this direction.
– Patients can expect their treatment to involve a lot of exercise with hands on treatment being needed when the pain is not decreasing as quickly as we would like it to.
What makes this system unique?
– What makes this system unique is the focus on involving the patient in their care and only using hands on treatment when it is necessary. The goal is to teach the patient how their pain behaves and give them the tools to manage it on their own. If I can help you feel better and teach you how to do this on your own so that you don’t need to see me as often, that is a win for me.
What conditions does this work well for?
– As mentioned above, the McKenzie method works well for a variety of musculoskeletal pain (pain to do with muscles, bones, joints, nerves), but there are a few conditions that it is really effective for: sciatica, disc herniations, neck and neck pain, pinched nerves, numbness and tingling in an arm or leg.
Here is a video of some experts in the field talking about the method and how it works.
If this sounds interesting to you or if your would like to book an evaluation with Dr. Trevor McArthur, please give our clinic a call at 250-545-7107 or book an appointment online.