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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What is a McKenzie Certified Physical Therapist and Why are they the Perfect Provider for Telehealth

Dr. Christi Williams (pictured above left), one of Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance’s owners, is a certified McKenzie clinical specialist, which means she has done extensive training in the evaluation and treatment of the spine. One of the primary goals of the McKenzie Method is to put the patient in the driver’s seat of their own care. The process focuses on self-treatment and self-management of back and/or neck pain. This process can even be used for treatment of headaches that are originating from the cervical spine and has demonstrated great success in other joints of the body as well (knee, shoulder, etc.)!

The McKenzie Method is in direct alignment with what we focus on as clinicians at Nashville PT – using specific movements and exercises to promote healing and the resolution of pain without the use of medications, expensive medical interventions or surgery. We strive to keep active people active, but don’t be fooled by back pain – often times back pain occurs for no apparent reason at all! In fact, those of us who work a lot and spend a lot of time sitting at a desk are sometime the most prone to having back & neck pain. At times this pain can get so severe that it causes radiating symptoms into your arm (if originating in your neck) or your leg (if originating in your low back).

When you start to feel radiating symptoms, which can be described as painful, sharp, shooting, or even dull, achy, numbness or tingling, this is a sign of more serious pathology in that it is likely the case that your spine condition is irritating a nerve root. Prolonged pressure on a nerve can cause permanent damage and lead to weakness, sensory loss and functional deficits if not treated early enough. Worse yet, if you have significant pressure on a nerve and do not learn how to manage it conservatively, your likelihood of needing spinal surgery will increase. Fortunately, the vast majority of spine conditions are all very treatable and even preventable if you receive the proper care and learn how to manage your condition independently!

When you work with a therapist who is trained in the McKenzie Method, you will be taken through a series of movements and questioned about how certain movements impact your symptoms. All of this can be done in-person or even via telehealth. Based on the results of your movement exam, you will be prescribed very specific exercises intended to apply force in various ways to your spine which will help to resolve your pain. What’s so great about this? The exercises are intended to make your pain decrease (the opposite of “no-pain, no-gain”) and with all the education you will receive, you will understand when to do the exercises and how to self-manage your condition. And what’s even better is that the very exercise that reduced your symptoms can be continued once you are pain-free as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of your condition recurring in the future.

To see if you may benefit from a McKenzie examination, take the quiz associated with the region of your body in which you are experiencing symptoms:

To schedule an appointment, visit us online or call/text 615-428-9213. To find the “Treat Your Own Back” book, exercise tools and lumbar supports, visit our online shop.

Take a look at the video on our YouTube Channel below of Dr. Williams talking about how the McKenzie Method is the perfect way to treat back and neck pain via virtual visits during this time of social distancing.

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