What Is the McKenzie Method to Treat Sciatica?


Quick Answer

The McKenzie Method is a program of physical therapy and exercise that treats sciatica and other types of back or neck pain, says Spine-Health.com. It includes assessment followed by treatment and teaching strategies to prevent worsening of the condition.

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Full Answer

The McKenzie method involves extending the spine to move sciatica or other types of pain away from the extremities and into the back, according to Spine-Health.com. The theory is that it is easier to tolerate back pain than leg or arm pain, and centralizing the pain allows more effective treatment. The overall goal of the McKenzie method is to give patients the tools to treat their own pain and manage it with exercise or other strategies. It also seeks to reduce pain quickly and allow the patient to return to normal activities, to reduce the risk of pain recurrence, and to minimize the need for follow-up visits to a spine specialist.

Practitioners of this method use a classification system to assess back and neck pain. Based on the classification of the pain, the therapist then teaches the patient specific exercises to centralize the pain and eventually abolish it, says Spine-Health.com. The classification system addresses the causes of the pain and allows the therapist to design an effective therapy program for each patient's needs.

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