Dealing With Back Pain? How the Mckenzie Method Can Help

Posted on: 30 June 2020

It can be hard to pin down the cause of back pain, as prolonged sitting, working out, or even sleeping in an awkward position can affect your spine. Even if you don't have an underlying disease, you can still suffer from back pain. If you have back pain and can't find relief, one way you may want to improve your symptoms is with physical therapy—specifically with the McKenzie Method.

The Mckenzie method is very effective at treating patients with nonspecific spinal pain. Although more studies need to be conducted for long-term issues, one study found that patients decreased short-term pain more effectively compared to other treatments. Read on to learn a little more about this physical therapy and how it can help.

How Will a Physical Therapist Identify Your Problem?

Although you may have non-specific back pain, your physical therapist can help you narrow down the cause so that you can get proper treatment. For instance, he or she will evaluate your movement, lifestyle, medical history, and go over any imaging tests.

After an evaluation, your physical therapist will classify the cause of your pain as either dysfunction syndrome, derangement syndrome, or posture syndrome. Once you have a classification for your pain, then your physical therapist can tailor exercises, stretches, and other PT treatments to your case. For instance, if you have low back or sciatica pain, a McKenzie physical therapist can focus on spinal extension/flexion exercises.

What Do the McKenzie Classifications Mean?

If your physical therapist says that your pain falls into the dysfunction syndrome classification, that means that you have some sort of adaptive scarring or shortening of tissue. The main symptom of this classification is that people have lost their range of motion in some way.

The next possible classification is derangement syndrome. People with this syndrome have trouble bearing a certain amount of weight or have preferential movement patterns when flexing or extending the spine, arms, legs, etc. This syndrome is often caused by bio-mechanical issues within a joint.

The last classification is the postural syndrome classification. People who slouch or sit a lot for school or work are particularly prone to this syndrome, as prolonged poor posture can stress joints, tendons, and muscles. Unlike the other classifications, repetitive activities don't trigger the back pain. Also, this is arguably the easiest type of classification to fix.

Within these three broad classifications, there are sub-categories that your physical therapist can assign your pain to. Your therapist will also look at the presence of other symptoms besides back pain.

In short, although you may not know what is causing your back pain, your physical therapist can help you pin down the root cause so that you can get the best treatment for your situation. To learn more, contact a McKenzie method physical therapy provider near you.