Based on the internationally-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), McKenzie Spine Therapy incorporates a proven method of assessment and treatment for spinal and extremity pain developed by New Zealand Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie.

In practice around the world for over 30 years, The McKenzie Method allows the physical therapists at Owens Physical Therapy Specialists to properly assess and diagnose all areas of the musculoskeletal system — including the spine, the neck, joints and muscles.

Based upon active patient involvement and education, McKenzie Spine Therapy continues to be used by clinicians and patients all over the world for back, neck and extremity problems. In addition, this approach ranks as one of the most researched physical therapy based methods available.

A key feature is the initial assessment — a safe and reliable way to reach an accurate diagnosis and only then make the appropriate treatment plan, eliminate the need for expensive tests such as MRIs. Our certified MDT clinicians can rapidly determine whether the method will be effective for each patient.

McKenzie Spine Therapy works wonders for numerous physical issues, including:

  • Sciatica
  • Arthritic pain in the hips, buttocks, shoulders or upper arms
  • Difficulty bending due to stiffness or pain in your lower back
  • Pain that starts in the back or neck and spreads to the buttocks or shoulders
  • Intermittent pins and needles or numbness in the feet or hands
  • Aching elbow or knee pain that hasn’t been assisted by other treatments

The long-term success of this comprehensive approach rests upon sound principles and fundamentals that our physical therapists fully understand and follow to help patients quickly, effectively and affordably.

The McKenzie Method 


We begin by taking a detailed history about your symptoms and how they affect you. You will be asked to perform certain movements and rest in certain positions. The main difference to most other assessments is the use of repeated movements rather than a single movement. How your symptoms and range of movement changes with these repeated movements provides us with information we use to properly categorize your problem.


We address each syndrome according to its unique nature, with specific mechanical procedures, including repeated movements and sustained postures. MDT is a comprehensive classification system, and includes a smaller group of patients that cannot be classified into one of the three syndromes, such as serious pathologies, non-mechanical causes and true chronic pain.


Using the information from the assessment, our therapists will prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding positions and movements to adopt and those to temporarily avoid. If your problem stems from a more difficult mechanical presentation, we may need to use hands-on techniques until you can self-manage. Our goal in this case remains simple: to be as effective as possible in the least number of sessions. Treatment that you can perform five or six times a day is more likely to be effective in a shorter period of time than treatment administered by our therapists once or twice per week. The emphasis is on you, the patient, being actively involved — helping you to minimize the number of visits to the clinic. Ultimately, you can successfully treat yourself when given the necessary knowledge and tools.


By learning how to self-treat your current problem, you gain knowledge on how to minimize the risk of recurrence. You can also rapidly deal with symptoms if they recur, putting you in control of your treatment safely and effectively. Persisting problems are more likely to be prevented through self-maintenance than by passive care. IT APPROPRIATE FOR ME?

For more information about McKenzie Spine Therapy from the experienced MDT therapists at Owens Physical Therapy Specialists, please contact us here or call our office directly at 616.956.0040.

“So far I am off to a great start with Owens Physical Therapy. The owner was very understanding in helping to understand my benefits and what I would be responsible for before I arrived. I trust I’ll be in good hands in future appointments with the caring and understanding physical therapy staff.”

— Lynette