McKenzie Method Exercise Examples & Results

McKenzie Method Exercise Examples & Results in Towson

Chiropractic Townson MD McKenzie Exercises

When patients come into us with severe pain, we attack the problem from all sides to reduce their pain as quickly as possible. The McKenzie Method in Towson provides us with exercises we can show patients that reduce their pain and increase the effectiveness of our other treatments. This helps them get out of pain quickly.

Zach came in with severe low back pain on his left side and bilateral hip pain. His pain was intense and our goal was to decrease his pain as quickly as possible. We combined dry needling, McKenzie Exercises, and an adjustment, and Zach’s pain dropped by half after one session.

His pain level went from an 8 to a 1 in just 2 visits thanks to this combination of treatments and McKenzie Method exercises. The McKenzie Method can yield powerful results and that gets amplified when we combine it with other treatment modalities.

What Is The McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method was developed in the 1960s by Robin McKenzie, a physical therapist in New Zealand. In his practice, he noted that extending the spine could provide significant pain relief to certain patients and allow them to return to their normal daily activities.

The McKenzie Institute describes The McKenzie Method as “a biopsychosocial system of musculoskeletal care emphasizing patient empowerment and self-treatment. This system of diagnosis and patient management applies to acute, subacute and chronic conditions of the spine and extremities. It offers a reliable and practical approach that focuses on what patients need and not on what therapists want to do.”

With the McKenzie Method, physical therapy and exercise is used to extend the spine and can help "centralize" the patient's pain by moving it away from the extremities (like the leg or arm) to the back. The theory of the approach is that centralizing the pain allows the practitioner to actually treat the source of the pain rather than just treating the symptoms.

The McKenzie Method stresses the importance of  self-healing and self-treatment for the patient’s pain relief and rehabilitation. Our chiropractor used a combination of exercises from The McKenzie Method with other modalities like dry needling and adjustments to treat Zach. This combination provides the fastest possible pain reduction and Zach goes from a pain level of 8 to 1 in just 2 visits.

The first McKenzie exercise we teach patients for acute back pain is prone lying (lying flat on your stomach). In order to do this exercise, you need to lie on your stomach flat on the floor with your arms at your side. After lying in this position for a few minutes and relaxing, you can move to turn your head to the side or face down and hold for 2-3 minutes. You can repeat this exercise up to 8 times per day to unload pressure from your lower back.

Once you’re able to comfortably lie on your stomach, you can move on to the prone elbow prop up exercise. Starting in the same position as the last exercise, lift your head and prop yourself up on your elbows keeping your hands and forearms flat on the floor. Hold this position for 2-3 minutes before lowering. You can do this exercise up to 8 times per day as well.

Another helpful McKenzie exercise is the prone press up and it’s very similar to the cobra yoga position. Start lying flat on your stomach and place your hands under your shoulders like you’re going to do a push up. Slowly straighten your arms to lift your upper body into a stretched position and hold for 2 seconds before returning to the starting position. Do 10 reps of this exercise up to 8 times per day to relieve pain and restore your lower back’s natural curve.

The standing extension is a McKenzie exercise that is convenient to do anywhere because it doesn’t require you to lay on the floor. To do this exercise, stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on the small of your back. Bend backwards as far as you can while keeping your knees straight. Hold this position for 2 seconds and return to the starting position. Do 10 reps of this exercise up to 8 times per day.

There are other McKenzie exercises that can help with back pain and we teach our patients the exercises that they need to focus on and watch them do it in the office so we can correct them. That way, we know for sure that they’re doing the exercises properly at home and won’t risk further injury. The McKenzie exercises make us very efficient at being able to reduce pain to a very low level quickly.

Different modalities of treatment help people feel better faster and we use a unique combination of modalities to treat each patient. For Zach’s lower back and hip pain, we combined dry needling, McKenzie exercises, and adjustments to reduce tension and pain while increasing his range of motion. Using dry needling and McKenzie exercises first before adjustmenting Zach helps us get him better results. 

Zach came in with intense lower back and hip pain that he rated at an 8 on a scale of 1-10. After his first visit, his pain decreased by about 50%. By the end of his second visit, his pain was all the way down to a 1 and his range of motion had improved significantly. We’ll follow up with one more visit and after that, Zach should be all set.

We can drastically reduce pain for most people on the first visit and get you feeling better. Are you ready to get some relief from your pain? Click here or call (410) 296-7700 to schedule your consultation and we’ll explain how we can help you feel better faster.




7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm


Kalkstein Chiropractic
200 East Joppa Road #300
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 296-7700