The McKenzie Method®

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People who suffer from muscle injuries, joint pain and other musculoskeletal issues are prime candidates for The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®. This set of widely used physical therapy techniques is also known as MDT, and it was developed in the 1980s by New Zealand-born physical therapist Robin McKenzie. 

The McKenzie Method is based on three specific steps: assessment, treatment and prevention. The reason? Using all these steps together encourages the body to repair itself without the excessive use of medications, clinic visits or surgeries. Another key benefit of MDT is that it allows patients to have more control over their treatment plans, while still receiving proper guidance from their physical therapist.

What is involved in the assessment stop of MDT?

The first step in the MDT process is having an assessment performed by a certified McKenzie Method therapist. During your assessment, your physical therapist will typically:

  • Take a detailed medical history from you.
  • Ask you questions about your past medical history and your current injury. 
  • Perform a comprehensive physical exam.
  • Have you perform a series of movements while they monitor you. 

Monitoring the movements allows your physical therapist to build firsthand knowledge of your flexibility and range of motion. It can also help them understand the symptoms your injury is causing. Such an effective and complete assessment helps build the cornerstone of your treatment plan. 

What can my MDT-based treatment plan include?

Your treatment plan is put together based on the results of the assessment your physical therapist conducted. This treatment plan will be based around a set of exercises that are specific to your condition or injury. Your therapist will also educate you on postures to use and postures to avoid during treatment. For severe injuries, your physical therapist may use their hands to help you perform the exercises they’ve prescribed until you’re strong enough to perform the exercises without help. 

The main goal of these exercises is to get you actively involved in your treatment plan. With proper knowledge and guidance, most patients will be able to reduce the need for more clinic visits.

Why will I learn about prevention during my MDT sessions?

Prevention is the last step in the MDT process, and there’s a good reason for that. When a patient learns how to self-treat, their risk of having a similar injury in the future can be drastically reduced. Teaching you to be aware of your symptoms is a key part of the prevention step. It helps put you in control of your recovery. It can also help you learn to effectively and safely treat your injury from the comfort of your own home. 

Your physical therapist may also educate you about certain posture issues and other factors that can leave you open to similar injuries. That way, you have a better chance of noticing and correcting them in the future.

What can I do to better prepare for my MDT sessions?

There are many ways you can help maximize the effectiveness of the physical therapy our team offers. One of these is to wear loose, comfortable clothing to your sessions. Another is to wear sturdy, supportive shoes. Essentially, you can wear anything you’d be comfortable working out in. This can help you feel comfortable when actively participating in your MDT sessions.

You can also come prepared to ask questions at any point during your sessions. These questions can help us gain insight into your unique condition. In addition, they can help us provide you with an accurate diagnosis and plan of care. Your questions can also help your physical therapist determine the specific areas of your injury or treatment you need help understanding.

Additionally, we always encourage our patients to stay well hydrated before, during and after their sessions. Water is essential to helping your body heal. Also, the effects of both active and passive therapeutic services (including MDT) are often increased when you drink plenty of fluids. Aim to drink one-third to one-half your body weight in fluid ounces per day. However, you may need to drink more if you exercise a lot or have a physically demanding job.

Armor Physical Therapy offers the McKenzie Method of Diagnosis and Therapy

At Armor Physical Therapy, we often use the McKenzie Method of Diagnosis and Therapy to better understand and treat the needs of our patients. We can also combine the McKenzie Method with additional evidence-based physical therapy services to create a treatment plan that’s personalized to your needs..

Contact our team today to learn more about MDT and its benefits or to schedule an initial appointment with us to start treating your injury.

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