Doc Talk: McKenzie Method


Physical therapy can be exhausting for anyone. At times, patients who go leave with upwards of fifteen exercises to be done regularly at home. But for many, that can seem time-consuming and overwhelming.

The McKenzie Method is the solution to physical therapy overload. It’s a more focused method of physical therapy that requires fewer exercises for the patient, leaving them with a lot more time to do whatever they want.

A trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth” led to the saddest and worst physical pain Gretchen Ramsey had ever faced.

“At the end of the day, I was coming home on vacation, and I was having just excruciating pain down my left side,” said Gretchen Ramsey.

All of that walking around Disney World on her family vacation last year left Ramsey with severe back pain and numbness in her foot. She felt it not when she was moving, but when she was sitting still.

“I assumed that probably there would be some sort of a surgical remedy that we would be talking about,” said Ramsey.

Instead, when she came home from her trip, her doctor suggested physical therapy, where she met physical therapist Donald James. He examined and tested her, determining she was a good candidate for the McKenzie Method.

“Through exercise, we were able to centralize the pain, and what centralization means is bringing the symptoms out of the leg back towards the back,” said Holy Spirit PT Donald James.

“What we are after is one or two exercises at a time that they do very frequently during the day so it’s less time out of their day doing their home program,” said Holy Spirit PT Ron Swanson.

Ramsey was only given a handful of exercises to do and only had to come to physical therapy for a month before her pain went away. She hasn’t had to come back in a year. Her story is a McKenzie Method success.

“I was really diligent about doing those exercises at home and even doing them in my office with the door shut. I started to see some immediate relief without having to take any pain killer or any surgical remedy,” said Ramsey.

It’s important to note that the McKenzie Method works for any body part, including shoulders and knees, but not everyone responds well to it. If you’re having ongoing pain, see a physical therapist and ask about the McKenzie Method.

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