Having pain may sometimes feel like getting caught with a time bomb and not knowing  exactly when it is set to ignite or whether it would go off at all. There are a lot of uncertainties and unknown about how much longer you would have to live with pain. Wouldn’t it be great if someone would be able to tell you about how much longer you would have to endure this pain? what is making it worst? and what is there to do?  The good news is that the Mckenzie system is based on the notion that if the pain centralizes (i.e.: pain travels from legs back to the spine), then the patient is going to improve much faster.  The trick is really to figure out which is the right direction to move in! The process of centralization seems to occur only in patients who are moving in the right direction and avoiding excess movement in the opposite direction.

The Mckenzie approach focuses on how patients respond to repeated movements or sustained positions.  After careful analysis of the findings, your physiotherapist would then decide which movement or set of exercises would most likely lead to centralization.



A research done by Dr. Donelson, an orthopaedic surgeon, shows that centralization is a good predictor of better treatment outcomes while non-centralization leads to poorer outcomes and might require a surgical approach (Long et al.,2004). Furthermore, an article published by Audrey Long, one of the four Mckenzie instructors Canada, reveals that if a patient is doing exercises or movements in the right direction, the patient would have much less pain and would require less medication (Long et al., 2008).

 As suggested in the “Physical Assessment & Imaging” section, medical imaging are great at picking up a lot of details about the human body, but does it really tell us how to get better? Common MRI findings like degenerative changes, arthritis, or even disc bulges are commonly found in the non-symptomatic population. In times when medical imaging does not necessarily tell us everything, most experts would agree that it is best to let our movements tell us what is going on. This is exactly what Mckenzie system does best! It requires physiotherapists to listen and consider what our body is trying to tell us from its movement patterns and treat accordingly.