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MDT is the McKenzie Method, not the Mackenzie Method!

Ed Grosser writes this blog to address a few common misconceptions about the McKenzie Method or MDT.


First of all, let’s clear something up.

While Russell is good at a lot of things (like making guitars, telling dad jokes and balding), he wasn’t involved in the creation of the McKenzie Method (editor’s note – his surname is spelled differently, that’s the first clue).

Like all of us at Adelaide West, he has undertaken further education to learn this research-backed method of assessment and treatment.

Secondly, another misconception.

Robin McKenzie, who devised this methodology, didn’t call it the McKenzie Method. He called his system ‘Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy’ (MDT).

Thirdly (and this is a pretty common mistake), McKenzie isn’t just about the lower back and pushups.

The McKenzie Method (MDT) is comprehensive assessment and treatment approach of a musculoskeletal problem, whether it be spinal (upper back, lower back or neck) or the limbs (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, even toes and fingers).

[If you would like to discuss with a physio how the McKenzie method could help you, book online for a free 15 minute phone consultation from a physio or call us on 8356 1000]

How can the McKenzie Method (MDT) help you?

Firstly, there is the assessment which is comprehensive.

The assessment is a little different to the average physio or medical assessment.

The MDT assessment most commonly utilises repeated movements of the body part. This makes it quite different from the assessment of most other physio or chiro.

The beauty of repeated movements is that they allow us to determine a cause and effect on your symptoms and movement.

Sometimes, instead of repeated movements we use sustained positions to see what effect that will have on your pain and freedom to move.

From the MDT assessment the physiotherapist will be able to:

  1. determine what kind of problem you have – in order to help, you need to know what you are dealing with, including if it is appropriate for physical treatment or not
  2. provide a prognosis – both you and the therapist want to know whether it is something that will improve rapidly or slowly or not respond at all
  3. start the process of recovery with your own personalised strategies
  4. provide you with self-management strategies for YOU to be able to help YOU!

Substantial changes to the amount of pain and the freedom of movement are commonplace within the first assessment and treatment session.

But that’s not even the best part.

The best part

MDT gives you the tools and knowledge to best assist yourself.

From the start, Robin McKenzie was big on the idea of self-management and taking control of your own problem.

Now there is an abundance of research that supports this notion that ‘hands on’ or ‘passive’ treatment isn’t the most effective treatment, particularly in the long term.

(Passive therapies can be massage, manipulation, needling, electrotherapy, reiki….)

While these passive treatments can have a time and place, they should not be the sole focus of treatment for any great length of time.

If you NEED someone to DO something TO YOU, it will be less successful in the long term compared to learning how to keep yourself moving well and painfree.

MDT allows you to understand your problem and will provide you with fantastic self-management strategies to take control over your own body.

And that’s powerful stuff!

Stay tuned for more information regarding the MDT over the next month!

If you would like any advice about your problem or have any questions about if the McKenzie Method can help you, feel free to call 8356 1000 and book a free 15 minute phone consultation with one of our physiotherapists!

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About the author

Russell Mackenzie
Russell Mackenzie
Russell is a physiotherapist and clinic owner in Adelaide, South Australia. He received his physiotherapy degree from UniSA in 1994, and has since also become a Credentialed McKenzie Therapist. Russell is the co-owner of Adelaide West Physio + Pilates and more recently, Adelaide West Headache Clinic, which was formed after becoming a Watson Headache Certified Practitioner to show his dedication and passion for headache and migraine treatment. Russell also aims to spread the word about the role of physiotherapy and non-surgical methods of helping persistent pain, low back pain and other conditions. Learn more about Russell on our About Us page.
Russell Mackenzie

Russell Mackenzie

Russell is a physiotherapist and clinic owner in Adelaide, South Australia. He received his physiotherapy degree from UniSA in 1994, and has since also become a Credentialed McKenzie Therapist. Russell is the co-owner of Adelaide West Physio + Pilates and more recently, Adelaide West Headache Clinic, which was formed after becoming a Watson Headache Certified Practitioner to show his dedication and passion for headache and migraine treatment. Russell also aims to spread the word about the role of physiotherapy and non-surgical methods of helping persistent pain, low back pain and other conditions. Learn more about Russell on our About Us page.
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