How The Mckenzie Physical Therapy Method Gives The Patient The Power

One of the biggest complaints about modern Western medicine is how little doctors listen to the concerns of their patients in coming up with treatment plans. In some cases, going to the doctor leaves you feeling like you've gone through a factory assembly line of people who are just trying to get you in and out as quickly as possible without real concern for long-term treatment. But with treatment methods like the McKenzie Method for physical therapy, the power is put back in the hands of the patient. Here are four ways that McKenzie Method physical therapy providers involve patients in their own care.


The McKenzie Method is a physical therapy treatment theory created by New Zealand physiotherapist Robin McKenzie. It's been used for over 30 years as a treatment for spinal pain and pain in the extremities. The process begins with a thorough assessment of the patient's problem. From the beginning, the patient's individual needs are taken into consideration through an assessment process in which the clinician takes a detailed history of the patient's symptoms and behavior. The process is detailed, utilizing a wide range of movements and repetitions to diagnose and assess.

Creating a Treatment Plan

The creation of the treatment plan is the McKenzie Method's most distinguishing feature and heavily involves the patient in the process. The physical therapists utilizing the McKenzie Method will never fall back on their favorite treatments or methods they've learned in school. Rather, the treatment plan will always be formed around the patient's individual needs. It's never a set form of exercises but uses an algorithm created to classify the problem and treat the individual.

Emphasis on Self-Care

The most important part of the treatment plan that differentiates the McKenzie Method from other methods is the emphasis on self-care. The entire goal is to get the patient functioning on his or her own quickly without having to frequently visit the physical therapist. The theory is that if you can perform your own treatment several times a day on your own, your situation will improve faster with fewer visits to the clinic.

Preventing Recurrence

One aspect of physical therapy that often gets overlooked is learning how to prevent your problem from returning. In the McKenzie Method, there is a heavy emphasis on identifying factors that may have caused the pain and learning how to manage and avoid reoccurrences of the pain. Once again, this is done through self-care and patient education.

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