The McKenzie Method, AKA, Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), can perhaps most easily be explained in this quote from founder Robin McKenzie…
“If you adopt certain positions or perform certain movements that cause your back to ‘go out’, then if we understand the problem fully we can identify other movements and other positions that, if practised and adopted, can reverse that process. You put it out you put it back in.”
MDT is about empowering patients to take care of themselves. It’s also strong on the the Clinical Audit Process (CAP), wherein the clinician makes checks within each treatment to determine the benefit or lack thereof of administered treatment. Research suggests that one of the best predictors for overall success with treatment in musculoskeletal pain is when you can demonstrate within treatment success. When that success is then placed in the hands of the patient rather than clinicians, long term success is much more likely.
Most often associated with treatments for intervertebral disc derangement, MDT encompasses much more. Postural and Dysfunctional patterns are also described, which relate to end range loading of normal tissues and end range loading of shortened structures like scar tissue, respectively. Here is a great synopsis on Mike Reinhold, PT’s blog discussing common misconceptions about MDT.
McKenzie also wrote several patient-accessible books that are helpful in teaching patients how to self-manage their back and neck pain.
On MyRehabExercises.com, we have the only patient exercise library for MDT in the world! These exercises include the full spine, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. We were fortunate to have all exercises demonstrated by diplomates in MDT. Members of MyRehab can find the whole library on the Exercise Videos page by searching “MDT” in the search bar.