The system of patient care known as the McKenzie Method © of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy© (MDT) is an approach that is trusted and used by clinicians and patients all over the world for common back, neck and extremity joint problems.Most musculoskeletal pain is "mechanical" in origin, meaning that every day movements and postures cause pain. By a systematic evaluation of his patients, New Zealand physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, found that certain movements and postures can often abolish pain and restore function.Robin McKenzie believed that most patients could learn to treat themselves if taught correctly. He felt that self-treatment empowered the patient and reduced their dependency on medical intervention. The McKenzie Method © promotes the body's potential to heal itself without medication, surgery or other passive modalities such as heat, ice or ultrasound therapy. It also addresses a growing demand from patients and third party payers for professional rehabilitation services that develop the patient's self-treatment skills in a cost-effective and time-effective manner.
MDT clinicians are trained to assess and diagnose all areas of the musculoskeletal system. That means that if a problem exists in or around the spine, joint or muscle, an MDT evaluation may be appropriate.MDT is a philosophy of active patient involvement and education that is trusted and used by clinicians and patients all over the world for back, neck and extremity problems. This approach continues to be one of the most researched physical therapy based methods available.A key feature is the initial assessment - a safe and reliable way to reach an accurate diagnosis and only then make the appropriate treatment plan. Expensive tests such as MRI’s are often unnecessary. Certified MDT clinicians are able to rapidly determine whether the method will be effective for each patient.In its truest sense, MDT is a comprehensive approach based on sound principles and fundamentals that, when fully understood and followed, is very successful.
Step 1 - ASSESSMENT
MDT begins with the clinician taking a detailed history about your symptoms and how they behave. You will be asked to perform certain movements and rest in certain positions. The main difference to most other assessments is the use of repeated movements rather than a single movement. How your symptoms and range of movement changes with these repeated movements provides the clinician with information that they can use to categorise your problem.
Step 2 - CLASSIFICATION
Each syndrome is addressed according to its unique nature, with specific mechanical procedures, including repeated movements and sustained postures. MDT is a comprehensive classification system, and includes a smaller group of patients that cannot be classified into one of the three Syndromes, but are into the ‘Other’ Subgroup which includes serious pathologies, non-mechanical causes, true chronic pain etc.
Step 3 - TREATMENT
Using the information from the assessment, the clinician will prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding postures to adopt and postures to temporarily avoid. If your problem has a more difficult mechanical presentation, a qualified MDT clinician may need to add hands-on techniques until you can self-manage. The aim is to be as effective as possible in the least number of sessions. Treatment that you can perform five or six times a day is more likely to be effective in a shorter period of time than treatment administered by the clinician once or twice per week. The emphasis is on you, the patient, being actively involved. This can minimise the number of visits to the clinic. Ultimately, most patients can successfully treat themselves when provided with the necessary knowledge and tools.
Step 4 - PREVENTION
By learning how to self-treat the current problem, you gain knowledge on how to minimise the risk of recurrence. You can also rapidly deal with symptoms if they recur, putting you in control of your treatment safely and effectively. Persisting problems are more likely to be prevented through self-maintenance than by passive care.
For more information on the McKenzie Method © of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy©, or to find a certified MDT practitioner in your area, please visit https://www.mckenzieinstitutecanada.org.