How does the McKenzie Method Work?

The McKenzie Method: 3 Steps to Success


The McKenzie Method begins with a comprehensive and logical step-by-step process to evaluate your problem quickly. Your therapist will take a detailed history and then ask you to do certain movements, all the while assessing any symptom changes. Fundamental to the McKenzie Method is repeated end range movement testing, together with sustained postural loading to determine the effect on your symptoms.

The therapist is trained to interpret the effect of these movements and postures on your symptoms and what may be happening in your body. This is known as a mechanical assessment. (Yes, the body is a like an engine and the therapist is like the mechanic!) This mechanical assessment can ‘classify’ most conditions by the level of pain or limitation that results from these movements or postures.


When appropriate, the McKenzie Method takes advantage of your own movements and forces to abolish your pain and restore your function. A series of individualised exercises derived from your responses during the assessment are prescribed. 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. If your problem has a more difficult mechanical presentation, a qualified McKenzie therapist can provide advanced hands-on techniques until you can self-manage. 


By learning how to self-treat the current problem, you gain hands-on knowledge on how to minimise the risk of recurrence and to rapidly deal with symptoms if they recur, putting you in control of your treatment safely and effectively. The likelihood of problems persisting can more likely be prevented through self-maintenance.

To enhance your self management you may benefit from a McKenzie lumbar or cervical roll? Or McKenzie's self-help books, Treat Your Own Back or Treat Your Own Neck? Click Here.

Can you use the McKenzie Method?

Are there periods in the day when you have no pain? Even 10 minutes?
Is the pain confined to areas above the knee or above your elbow?
Have you had more than one episode of low back pain or neck pain or joint pain over the past months or years?
Do you feel worse during or right after prolonged bending or stooping; as in making beds, vacuuming, gardening, concreting, etc?
Do you feel worse when sitting for prolonged periods or on rising from the sitting position? ie after watching TV or working on the computer?
Do you associate your pain with any one particular activity but are generally pain free when not engaged in this activity?
Do you feel worse when inactive and better when on the move?
Do you feel better when lying face down? (You may feel worse for a minute before the pain subsides, in that case the answer to this question is yes).
Do you feel better when walking?

If you have answered yes to more than 4 questions, your chances of gaining benefit from The McKenzie Method® are very good. If you answered yes to 3 or less questions you may require specialised treatment and you should contact a physiotherapist trained in the McKenzie Method or a medical professional.


Arthritic pain in hips or buttocks, shoulders or upper arms
Difficulty bending due to stiffness or pain
Pain that starts in the back or neck and seems to spread to the buttocks or shoulders
Intermittent pins and needles or numbness in the feet or hands
Aching pain into the elbows or knees that hasn't been assisted by treatment to these areas
Then you may be assisted by a trained McKenzie Therapist


That means that if a problem exists in a...

joint - ligament - tendon - muscle - bone - spine - neck - back - leg - arm - shoulder - knee - elbow - trunk

Then our therapists are trained to assess you problem and help you understand how you may be able to help yourself to improve your pain, stiffness or ability to do your work or daily activities.

Read Treat Your Own Back, this book could change your life. This book has helped millions of people worldwide to treat, relieve and prevent their lower back pain. International scientific studies have proven that the information and exercises described in this book get positive and lasting results.