Physical therapy — McKenzie method of exercise to reduce back pain

The McKenzie method of exercise is a type of physical therapy that focuses on extending the spine to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves and reduce pain. Typically performed under the supervision of a physical therapist, the McKenzie method of exercise also helps to centralize pain away from the extremities and into the central back to make pain treatment easier.

While the McKenzie method of physical therapy is considered safe and low risk, not all spine conditions are able to be effectively treated by this method. If you have chronic back pain and have been diagnosed with a spine condition, consult your physician about starting a McKenzie method of treatment to help alleviate your pain and treat your condition. In some cases, the McKenzie method of treatment can be combined with other forms of conservative treatment, such as hold/cold compresses and TENS treatment.

Overview of McKenzie exercises

The McKenzie method of treatment aims to stretch and elongate the spine to help move the vertebrae and discs of the spine back into proper alignment, while simultaneously strengthening the surrounding muscles to hold the spine in place. The focus of the McKenzie method of exercise is to treat the pain at the source instead of trying to treat the multiple symptoms caused by a spine condition.

There are three main philosophies that are present in McKenzie method of treatment for back pain:

  • Make an initial assessment of the spine condition and symptoms
  • Treat the current back condition with physical therapy exercises
  • Use exercises and stretches to help prevent future pain and spine conditions

During the treatment process, tell your physical therapist if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort. You should also ask your physical therapist if you should begin a cold/hot compress treatment regimen in conjunction with your McKenzie treatments.

Treatment after the McKenzie method of treatment

While most mild spine conditions respond well to the McKenzie method of treatment, some conditions that are more advanced may not be helped during this process. If you have undergone the McKenzie method of treatment or other conservative therapies and have found no lasting relief for back pain, you might want to consider a surgical treatment option for your condition.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to help treat most spine conditions. Our minimally invasive procedures offer safer, more effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery. To learn more about how we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain and to find out what treatment options are available to help you, please contact our care team. We are here to help guide you to a solution for pain relief.