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McKenzie Physical Therapy

tvon16ttvon16 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
Has anyone tried this type of physical therapy and what kind of success did you have?


  • http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/what-mckenzie-method-back-pain-and-neck-pain

    It looks similar to one method that was used when I herniated a disk in about 2002 or so. It was not effective for me. Modalities have always been something I've found an important part of PT, and rushing into exercises has often exacerbated my issues. I quit that PT facility pretty quickly and started doing weight watchers and walking instead.

    But as always, YMMV!
  • I have never done McKenzie, but I do Feldenkrais and some yoga with my physical therapist. This was my third attempt at formal PT, and this works well. It's still painful, however. I get in my parents pool twice a week and tread water, and do some leg abduction/adduction exercises. My favorite manuveurs are those that help unload the spine...ahhhhh Two months ago, I could not lie on my floor with any comfort level, and now I'm able to do it with a small pillow under my back and my legs on my swiss ball.

    tvon16 have you been using this method?

  • Different surgeons like or dislike it. Some PT places base their whole system around McKenzie, others don't. You will find both positive and negative comments. It really depends on what your problem is and what parts of the method you are told to do.

    Do a Search on it. It has been discussed several times in the past.
  • I am currently stretching, walking at least 2 miles on an elliptical machine and doing the exercises I received from my last PT session earlier this year. I have looked into the McKenzie PT a little bit and was hoping to hear from someone that had tried it. I am trying to exhaust all of my options and stay away from any kind of surgery.
  • It basically involves doing back extensions that may help lessen back pain caused by bad posture.
    McKenzie claims that by sitting incorrectly, with your back rounded, it will cause your lumbar to loose its curvature. He's right too!

    There are McKenzie certified PT's in the U.S. and
    I went to one a few month's ago, it was worth it.
    However, in my case my ligaments are so damaged that it only helped a little.

    His (Robin McKenzie) book is titled "Treat Your Own Back" and for $10 on Amazon it is well worth getting and trying but follow the books instructions and precautions exactly.

    I also have his book, "Treat Your Own Neck", which is also worth the $10.

  • I've had 3 sessions thus far
  • I would think it would depend a lot on what type of injury your back had. At one therapy clinic, they actually had strapped my hips to the bench and had me doing extensions, which given the location of the herniation was completely inappropriate (and aggravated
    the injury to no end).

    Same with my current injury, can't do extensions at all.

    So I'm not too fond of extensions at all, and learned to really shy away from those "one size fits all" therapy clinics and go to the type that tailor the therapy to your individual needs/injury. Most of the therapist I've seen recently don't use extensions at all but use very gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Yes, it's important to find a qualified PT. I will say that of the four PT's that I've gone to, all of them use McKenzie to some degree. Only one was a certified McKenzie PT

    In his book, Robin McKenzie maintains that the person doing extensions should feel the pain being centralized into the upper lumbar, away from the lower lumbar. This is an important concept and one that McKenzie emphasizes greatly.

    He warns that if the exercises make the pain worse below the knee or if the pain is worse immediately following the exercises or worse the next day then the person should stop the program and seek professional help.

    As long as the person can tolerate them, McKenzie exercises should be incorporated into every daily exercise program. Also daily stretching of hamstrings is important, particularly in men over 40 or for those that sit a lot.

  • After my own research and reading farmgirl(sp?) posts I decided to find a 100% certified McKenzie PT. I started about 2 weeks ago. It was not exactly what I expected and currently the results are mixed.

    1) He immediately told me to stop my current work out program which was something I developed over 2 years.

    2) He started me with press ups 8 x a day 10 reps. In the beginning I needed meds at night as spasms started.

    3) I have now stopped all my meds but I had stopped before my discogram more than 3 weeks ago and still not as good as I was before the discogram.

    4) He also does what he calls a join manipulation. I was worried as it looked like chiro but he assured me it is not spine manipulation and honestly it feels wonderful while I am there but does not last very long.

    5) He has now added many core exercises which require me to do lots of balancing. I also purchased a kneeling chair for my office. I need to do 3 times a day for 2 minutes each leg.

    6) The big thing I learned is that I need to focus on just getting rid of pain and not on mobility or strength. This is really something new to me as a very active guy in the past.

    It feels strange not doing much of the other therapy I developed but I really want to give this a full try for a month atleast. When I am there he works me out and honestly I am surprised how week I am and how much pain my hips can cause when exercised. He really focuses on my pelvis and believes it needs to be in the right place and is not currently. He tries endlessly to have me strengthen it. I believe this cause most of my discomfort later.

    He says that since my pain moves which is not uncommon that we will eventually be able to have no pain on both sides.

    1) Focus on less pain and less meds...he believes the less meds are a great sign. I am not sure if how much is my own will and how much is the PT.

    2) Strengthen the core for stabilization. I also wear a lumbar support belt to help myself during the day.

    All in all like the plasma injection therpay, too early to tell, the only thing I know is that I am not as good as I was before the discogram still. The doctor said with this study you need to give 6 weeks before you really know.

    Trying to be patient...

  • Jsirabella,

    It's a good sign that your pain is moving around rather than being constant in one area. Stopping all other exercises while beginning Mc Kenzie is the correct thing to do. Your PT was right there. The pain afterwards is troubling, it goes against McKenzie's thinking. You might want to read
    Mc Kenzie's book

    You said "Plasma Injection Therapy", do you mean PRP? Have you ever looked in Proltherapy? If the pain is moving around it may be because your ligaments are loose and the back is not stable. Ligament problem in the SI joint are typical.
    Prolo can tighten up the ligaments.

  • I was also a bit troubled by the increase in pain but I felt that

    1) I may be still dealing with the after effects of the discogram. Not sure how long it should last and add that I was involved in the Plasma study that he may have injected much more dye/blood than really needed. In my L4/L5 he said he put in about a teaspoon which he felt was a not so much. My L5/S1 much less. I have no idea honestly as before the procedure he said he would go 1 ml at a time and stop once reproduced that pain. He produced way earlier than a 5ml (teaspoon).

    2) I am involved in this blind study and I believe it may be the PRP as it is Plasma "enriched" and is injected in my disc instead of dye. Honestly though I still have no idea if I got the dye or the blood yet as a blind study.

    I will look up Prolo cause the one thing I know is that even in the past any exercises involving hips no matter how light would eventually lead to discomfort. Is prolo a type of exercise? He loves to have me on my side and move my hip up and down and than hold it and have me move it. I must move it a certain way which means not like a pelvic tilt but instead no stomach movement at all.

    I really believe most of the issue is coming from hips but the discogram definitely indicate L5/S1 and L4/L5 but I have not had the follow up yet to see how bad. The only thing I know is that I have no tears on either level so an IDET can be in my future.

    I am giving the study the 6 weeks and if I recover enough they will inject me again but this time I can be knocked out! Thank God...the doctor made sure to note that. I am still quite embarrased by the discogram experience and not sure I can look the doctor in the eye again. I thought I was a bit tougher than that.


  • Prolotherapy is an injection therapy used to regenerate ligaments. It,PRP and Stem Cell are under the heading of Regenerative Injection Therapy.

    The fact that the pain moves around may indicate a ligament problem. Also if you get a lot of pops or clicking type noises out of your back then that would indicate ligament damage. However, you are in a study and would probably be best to follow their guidance for now.

  • Was this McKenzie guy an orthpedist to have determined that he could cure people using this method? If the extensions are further pinching a herniated disk, does it make sense to you that it would be a "good" thing?

    And of course PTs don't generally see x-rays or MRIs, so maybe they don't see that my spine looks like this:


    and that it's no longer shaped for extension because of kyphosis.

    I would be very wary of any PT who said that an increase of pain during an exercise was a good thing unless he had looked at your MRI and knew exactly what was going on with your spine.
  • Happyhboom

    He is not an orthopedist nor ever claimed to be. He is very concerned when I had pain. For example I explained that holding the exercise he prescribed for 60 secs caused too much discomfort he said immediately to go up to the amount of time that you feel you can do comfortably.

    IMHO PT should cause some discomfort but never enough to not allow you to do what you normally do. Also I prefer to look at it over several weeks to see how I am feeling over a period of time than 1 or 2 sessions. None of the doctors I have seen ever said do less and all have prescribed to stay as active as possible.

    Last I believe as we become less and less active we begin to just die a little each more both mentally and physically. We need to feel a bit of progress either in the less pain arena or the more mobility in strength arena. I am now on 2 years so at this point the only way I would not feel pain during my day is to just not get out of bed.

    Also based upon my experience with the discogram it would seem that pretty much all options to recover involve levels of discomfort. It is just how we are doing over several weeks.

    But your point of can exercise cause more harm than good is a good one, I just feel doing nothing is a worse course of action.


    Yes I am being patient and will give ths study its due. I owe the doctor and the study that much. I hope that one day this can be a viable alternative for people.

  • Oh, I was talking about the McKenzie method in general, not your specific PT. I agree completely with you regarding movement and activity, and I do like PT in general. My experience with the McKenzie method was very negative.
  • Ironically in the mail today I get a letter from my insurance company that I am only allowed up to 6 appointments in a one month period. Yet they told me I am allowed up to 90 for any one issue. I had done PT a year ago until they said no more as not enough improvement. Ever since than when it comes to PT, they watch me like a hawk.

    I guess they rather pay the thousands and thousands in surgery and more needles.


    BTW I already used 4 which means I will not even get a months worth at 2 a week.
  • HappyHBmom! do us all a favor and go to Amazon and read the comments that people write about McKenzies book. Just because it didn't work for you doesn’t mean that it is bad.

    Jsirabella, yes insurance is strange isn't it.
    Good Luck and I hope things go well for you.
  • Did you do your pubmed search? The subtantive support is spotty at best. Certainly nothing to write home about.

    Therapies that really work, and work well, usually turn up in clinical trials with overwhelmingly positive results. Not
    Finally, the McKenzie assessment may induce pain relief, albeit to a modest extent and for no longer than 3 months.
  • If you want to hang your opinions on Pubmed that's fine but I'll be the judge of what works for me and not some usually half assed, poorly done Pubmed study.

    Freedom to choose is what I want and McKenzie has helped me enough, so much so that I do them daily.

  • Guys I really appreciate that you each have different opinions. But really !! It's not fair to the person who started the post to run on and on about a particular piece of it. This site is about personal experiences. People can take the comments that they want to explore further and do whatever research or consults with professionals .

    If you really feel so strongly about a particular thing start a new topic. It's just not fair to the person looking for help to have their topic hijacked.

    Just my opinion.
  • I have flatback myself and think this technique would be most benificial for me. But as for happyHBmom may not be.

    Isn't the McKenzie technique just for people with flatback and loss of curve?
  • Ditto what Kris said! OZONE I don't know why you seem to have a problem with HappyHBmom, but this is the third thread where you are constantly on her. Please take it to a PM, we are tired of it. Thanks. Sorry mods....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • This is the second thread (that I've seen and posted) that you two have hijacked and turned into a personal argument regarding treatment that is not helping the original poster.

    I understand and appreciate that we all have differing opinions and can pull statistics from many different sources so argumenst could go on forever.

    However, this is not helping tvon and I will ask you ONCE AGAIN to please stop arguing in this thread and either make your own posts or take it to PM.

    If your arguing continues we will shut this thread down and I will talk to the moderators about issuing formal warnings.

  • Basically every time I post something H comes in with a PubMed study. Yes studies are something but I've seen many studies that claim so and so and when looking into the study it beomes clear that the incorrect dosages were used.
    Also, studies need to be taken with a grain of salt because you don't know who is funding them and if you cling to them like they're the gospel you will sometimes ending up looking like a dumba$$. Just ask Al Gore that.
    I have always maintained that one should seek out info from many different sources and from many different branches of medicine. You have to put all the info on the table, look at the advantages and disadvantages and come to a logical conclusion.
    Obviously, if a ton of people on Amazon love McKenzies method and if PT's use it regularly then despite what some studies may indicate it is worth a try.

    There I've had my say.

    and where is tevon anyway? :??
  • I don't mind having a healthy debate on a particular topic but attacking each other will not be allowed. The original poster asked the following question:

    Has anyone tried this type of physical therapy and what kind of success did you have?
    If you are not responding to this question then you need to move it to a different thread.

    As with any treatment each person has pro's and con's with a specific treatment.
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