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  • Focus Health Physio

Back Pain - The Kiwi Revolution

In 1956, New Zealand physiotherapist Robin McKenzie found his patient lying face down on an examination table with his upper back hyperextended –a position which was deemed to worsen lower back pain at the time. However the patient surprisingly reported a dramatic improvement of his symptoms. McKenzie was intrigued and decided to delve deeper. After decades of experimentation with patients, later supporting his findings with clinical research, Robin Mc Kenzie launched his treatment method in 1981 as Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT). It is now taught and practiced worldwide with great success.

Unique to the McKenzie Method is a comprehensive and logical step-by-step process to quickly evaluate the patient's problem. This mechanical examination can "classify" most patient conditions by the level of pain or limitation that results from specific movements or positions. A McKenzie assessment can eliminate the need for expensive and/or invasive procedures.

As for treatment, MDT focuses primarily on determination of correct “directional preference” movements, education of the patient and self-treatment. The objective is to reduce dependency and empower the patient to control their own symptoms. However, when patients are not successful in reducing their own pain in the initial stages, the practitioner will take a hands-on approach, but only until the patient is able to self-manage.

A McKenzie assessment may avoid expensive procedures or surgery.

By learning how to self-treat, patients gain knowledge on how to minimize the risk of recurrence and to rapidly deal with it if needed.

The McKenzie Method is commonly used worldwide in diagnosis and treatment of low back pain, neck pain and peripheral joint complaints. McKenzie exercises are easily found online, however to determine the correct exercise for the individual (their directional preference) it is recommended to be properly assessed by a competent practitioner.

Focus Health uses the Mckenzie approach alongside other Physiotherapy techniques to treat neck and back injuries.

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