The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® (MDT) is an internationally researched and acclaimed system of assessment and management for spinal and extremity musculoskeletal disorders developed by New Zealand Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie. It has been widely used all over the world for more than 60 years.
Our McKenzie certified physical therapists are able to assess and classify all complaints of the musculoskeletal system. That means that if a problem is coming from the spine, extremity joints, muscles or tendons, then a MDT evaluation is appropriate. An MDT clinician will be able to identiy if MDT is indicated, what management strategy is best, and outline a predicted recovery pathway.
A key feature of the method is the initial assessment - a safe and reliable format to reach an accurate classification and only then develop the appropriate management plan, taking into account all the various factors that can influence the patient’s experience of pain. Expensive tests such as MRI’s are often unnecessary.
MDT is a comprehensive assessment and management approach based on sound and logical principles that focuses on the patient and their potential to self-manage and recover their previous level of function.
MDT begins with the clinician taking a detailed history about your symptoms and how they behave. You will be asked to carefully perform certain movements and adopt specific positions. Your clinician will question you clearly about how your symptoms are affected. The main difference between MDT and most other assessments is the use of repeated movements rather than a single movement and the careful questioning by the clinician. How your symptoms and range of movement change with these repeated movements and positions provides the clinician with information that they use to understand the nature of your problem.
Using the information from the assessment and subsequent classification, the clinician will likely prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding postures to adopt. Your instructions will be clear and simple, not pages of exercises. You will also be guided as how to interpret your symptoms and how to feel safe to respond. For a few that have a more challenging presentation, a qualified MDT clinician may need to add hands-on procedures until you can self-manage. The aim is to be as effective as possible in the least number of sessions. Treatment that you can perform five or six times a day is more likely to be effective in a shorter period of time than treatment administered by the clinician once or twice per week. 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.
By learning how to self-treat the current problem, hopefully you will gain some insight into how to minimise the risk of recurrence. You should also be able to self-treat symptoms if they recur, putting you in control of your treatment safely and effectively. Persisting problems are more likely to be prevented through self-maintenance than by passive care.
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