In the McKenzie approach to mechanical spinal disorders, physical therapy evaluation and treatment are based on a thorough history and movement testing.
- A series of test movements and positions are applied in a controlled manner.
- Symptom behavior is observed before, during and after repeated movement testing.
- The movements and positions which decrease or abolish the symptoms are used as treatment and as the home exercise program, which also includes education in correct posture and body mechanics.
- If no movements or positions can be found to reduce, centralize or abolish the symptoms, then other treatment options will be investigated prior to referring back to the physician for further recommendations.
How is it Different?
- Mechanical therapy is superior to traditional therapy, (i.e., hot packs, ultrasound and massage) because it is a dynamic treatment approach which empowers the patient to self-treat vs. providing passive modalities.
- It provides education to the patient about what causes their pain, what activities they currently do which contribute to the pain, how to treat themselves, and how to prevent further occurrences.
- It is cost effective in that a more efficient treatment can be provided using less treatment visits, without using costly modalities and while educating the patient on how to self-treat.
- It provides an evaluation tool to Determine if the patient's symptoms will benefit from mechanical therapy or if they should be referred for further testing.
Why use Mechanical Therapy?
- Low back pain tends to be self-limiting: 42% are better in one week, 86% of patients are better in one month, and 92% of patients are better in two months.
- While low back pain is self-limiting, it is also episodic, with recurrences becoming progressively more severe.
- Treatment must be provided while the patient is symptomatic and can learn which movements reduce and which movements produce symptoms.
Goals of Mechanical Therapy
- Reduce Pain and Deformity
- Maintain the Reduction with Education and Posture
- Recover Function
- Prevent Future Episodes
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