All Injury Rehab of North Dallas

Treatment for spinal pain, whether it be in the back or neck areas of the spine, tend to involve two different types of care: palliative approaches such as bed rest, heat, massage, generic exercises, or on the opposite extreme some type of surgery. The McKenzie Method of evaluation and treatment fills in the large gap between these two extremes.

Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physical therapist currently practicing there, started to develop his method when he observed that a supposed "mistake" he made in not following the conventional wisdom regarding appropriate exercise for back pain led to a dramatic improvement for the patient being treated. Because he had something else to take care of before seeing a back-pain patient, he instructed this patient, Mr. Smith, to lie down where a previous knee-pain patient had been. The head end of the treatment table had been elevated so that the previous patient's head and upper torso were raised while he lay on his back getting treatment to his knee. McKenzie assumed that Mr. Smith would also lie down that way. When McKenzie arrived in the room, he felt horrified to see Mr. Smith lying on the table on his stomach, with his back extended, at that time the exact opposite of what was considered the appropriate position for the patient's problem. However, the patient reported that he felt better than he had in days!

Thus challenged to reconsider his work, McKenzie developed an approach which involves a diagnosis based on individualized observation and emphasizes a treatment plan which uses a series of movements under the control of the patient to the greatest extent possible. This focus leans heavily on patient education and promotes self-care and a preventive orientation.

A number of studies have indicated that back and neck pain episodes tend to be self-limiting. A significant number of people will feel better with the passage of time no matter what treatment is used. Therefore, although the traditional passive approach to treatment, where medication, rest, heat or ice, massage or indiscriminate manipulation are "done to" the client, often seems to work, the usefulness of such often expensive treatments seems questionable. Other studies indicate that as many as 90% of people who have had significant episodes of back pain will have recurrences, even when they've had traditional treatment, and that 35% of these will eventually develop sciatica (pain radiating into one or more limbs). For the most extreme cases of pain, back surgery remains an option but the failure rate for this procedure remains appallingly high.

McKenzie and the physical rehabilitation chiropractors who follow his method believe that an active approach to treatment, where patients learn how to treat themselves, will not only shorten the present episode but reduce the probability and severity of recurrences as well as the recourse to surgery. Clinical observations and some studies indicate the promise of this approach and ongoing research is being done to further corroborate it.

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