McKenzie Therapy or MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy) is a specific type of physical therapy designed to treat acute lower back pain, peripheral joint pain or neck pain using self-care treatment strategy. In this therapy, the patient is trained by a physical therapist based on the principles of assessment, treatment and prevention to alleviate pain. Thus, the patient’s dependence on the therapists is reduced to a minimum as the latter is required only if the patient is not completely active. The McKenzie therapy does not make use of hot or cold therapy, needles, medicines or injections for treatment and focuses on patient’s active involvement to achieve effective results.
Goal Of The Therapy
- Treat the actual source of pain rather than symptoms
- Train the patients to manage back pain
- Enable the patients to resume their daily activities and range of motion
- Minimize the pain and prevent it from recurring
Procedure Of The Therapy
The clinician begins the MDT in the following manner:
- Assessment- Detailed evaluation of the patient’s medical history, symptoms and movement. The patient may be asked to move in certain directions or rest in a specific position to assess the changes in the severity of symptoms.
- Classification- The therapy classifies the spinal disorders after conducting a few initial assessments and the method of treatment is based on the category of disorder. These are as follows:
- Postural Syndrome- Certain postures may cause stress in the soft tissues leading to back pain
- Derangement Syndrome- The repositioning of the fluidic disc in the spine may change the position of the vertebrae, resulting in back ache
- Dysfunction syndrome- Presence of a scar tissue in the spine may lead to intermittent pain and restricted movement
- Treatment– Based on assessment and classification, a specific set of exercises is prescribed. The therapist may recommend certain postures that need to be performed and also the ones that should be avoided. The aim is to train the patient to perform easy exercises 5-6 times a day and get rid of pain or discomfort
- Prevention– The therapist helps the patient know about the safe methods not only to treat the back pain but also to prevent its reoccurrence in the future. The patient is given a complete understanding of the underlying problem so that he/she can take care of the symptoms in the future as well.