At Core Physiotherapy and Pilates Studio the McKenzie Method is one of our main pillars of treatment when managing spinal complaints. We use this system when assessing and understanding spinal pain. The method is a step-by-step process that evaluates the problem quickly, allowing for a clear diagnosis and understanding of the problem. From this a management program can be created that focuses not only on manual therapy, but importantly on self-management exercises, posture education and lifestyle changes that allow the problem to heal without aggravation and not re-occur.
We had a client with a great McKenzie Method success story and thought we would share it with you. Sam* recently came into our clinic with a back problem that we see all too often. She came into the practice upon the referral of her partner who we had seen years before. Sam* had an acute episode of back pain after moving house a couple of months earlier, and while it had gotten better it had never completely settled. Sam* worked as a Theatre Nurse in a busy public hospital.
When her back pain started it radiated down her leg up to her knee and after a couple of days off she went back to work. She struggled for a couple of weeks and went to see a therapist whose treatment didn’t really have any effect. Rather than try anything else she just battled on and for a while the pain would settle and then it just remained the same.
When she came to see our Physio she had back pain that radiated into her buttock and upper thigh. Her pain was worse in the morning and got better as the day progressed, but would always ache in the evening especially after a day of work. She was having to rest a lot on her days off to recover and found that any bending over activities or long periods sitting just flared her up.
When we assessed Sam* we found that she was suffering from a mild disc bulge in her lower back. The Physio began but explaining the problem to Sam* and the plan of attack to get her back to normal. They started with some education on posture and taping to help her keep her spine in a position that took pressure off the disc. They set up a stretching program designed to push the disc bulge back and combined that with some hands on treatment, incorporating gentle spine mobilization and massage to improve the movement around the damaged disc.
Sam’s* pain reduced quickly in the first few weeks and while she found it hard to keep her posture straight she soon realized how important posture is when it comes to spine problems. She is keeping up with her home exercise program, and has just started a Pilates based strengthening program to help rehabilitate her core abdominal muscles to support her spine for activities like her work.
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*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of our client.