Understanding the McKenzie Method for Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the area within the spine itself, is an uncomfortable, generally painful condition. If you’re working with a patient suffering from spinal stenosis, you may be wondering what the best steps are for helping them through their discomfort. At Ideal Spine, we recommend the McKenzie Method.

While there are a number of approaches to treating the root cause of spinal stenosis, the McKenzie Method is a specialized type of physical therapy designed to also alleviate back pain. The system involves diagnosis tools, a treatment regimen, and prevention strategies patients can use to improve their quality of life while they’re undergoing treatment for stenosis.

Defining the McKenzie Method

The McKenzie Method is taught by the McKenzie Institute, a physical therapy training and research institution specializing in advanced back pain alleviation methodologies.

Though initially developed as a physical therapy tool, its approach and execution mesh well with Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) and affiliated forms of chiropractic adjustment. The method, as a whole, consists of four components: Diagnosis, classification, treatment, and prevention.


Much like CBP, McKenzie Method-trained healthcare providers are trained to conduct a detailed survey of the patient’s symptoms and their healthcare history. The practitioner will also ask the patient to demonstrate their range of motion and to rest in certain outlined positions. During this examination, the provider will take a detailed series of notes they’ll use in the classification phase.


The McKenzie Method breaks conditions down into the following three categories: Postural syndromes, dysfunction syndromes, and derangement syndromes.

  • Postural syndromes are caused by stress resulting from extended time repeating certain motions or staying locked in certain postures.
  • Dysfunction syndromes are characterized by occasional back pain, resulting due to scar tissue development.
  • Derangement syndromes result due to a change in the position of discs or vertebrae via shifting or subluxation.

Treatment methods

Once the classification is complete, the McKenzie Method therapist will outline proper and correct treatment methodologies. Some treatments may involve manual manipulation executed by the provider, while other treatments include a series of exercises and motions the patient can complete on their own. Most McKenzie Method treatments involve exercises the patient completes on their own, because this empowers them to take charge of their healthcare.


The McKenzie Method provides patients with the tools necessary to treat their symptoms whenever they arise. Additionally, it relies heavily on the prevention of future flare-ups. When you introduce your patients to the McKenzie Method, you’re helping them become more invested and involved in their own healthcare and their own health outcomes. The McKenzie Method is an active treatment approach.

Putting the McKenzie Method together

Like the McKenzie Method, Chiropractic BioPhysics focuses on delivering individualized patient care. Diagnosis and classification are core components of each modality, while the McKenzie Method provides treatment and prevention methodologies that can be incorporated into a CBP regimen.

To learn more about CBP and the ways it may help improve your patient outcomes, visit one of Ideal Spine’s upcoming seminars near you.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See for providers in your area.

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1160 Taylor Street Suite 100
Meridian, ID 83642

Phone: 208-939-0301
Fax: 208-209-6009
Email: [email protected]




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