The McKenzie Method is well-known throughout the spine community and most surgeons and physical therapists have some familiarity with it. However, familiarity may not be equal to expertise. Patients who are interested in or have had McKenzie Therapy prescribed for them may wish to determine the level of training a practitioner actually has.
To qualify a health care professional as a certified McKenzie Therapy practitioner, there are currently five courses or modules (designated Parts A-E) that encompass more than 100 hours of contact teaching, followed by a credentialing examination. Successful navigation of this training and examination qualifies the therapist with the basic requirements to provide McKenzie Therapy.
While many physical therapists believe they use Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, unless they have completed the McKenzie Therapy training courses there will most likely be gaps in their Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy expertise. In the end, Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy is about specific training, purposeful assessment, patient education, and appropriately directed exercises.
The McKenzie Method is gaining greater currency as the number of trained practitioners expands and well-run studies of its results are undertaken. Clinicians have been trained and practice in about 30 countries.
Since 1990 clinical and scientific research has been ongoing into various aspects of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy and has generally supported components of the system by demonstrating efficacy in both acute and chronic back pain patients.1 Recent clinical trials have begun to incorporate the classification into their design of broader spinal research projects.
Outcomes to date appear to distinctly support the treatment-by-classification method as being superior to more generic, non-specific therapy approaches, although additional research is needed to explore the value of sub-classification in management of musculoskeletal problems.2