268 Lakeshore Rd. E. Suite 300, Mississauga Ontario - Call Us: 905-278-2947

logo  What is the McKenzie Method?

The McKenzie Method is an assessment and treatment system that classifies patients into subgroups according to their mechanical response to repeated movements and/or positions. It was first developed by New Zealand physiotherapist Robin McKenzie in the 1950s. In the decades since, it has been validated and found to be reliable by rigorous scientific research - click here to see the list of supporting literature. It can be effectively applied to orthopedic conditions of both the spine and extremities. It stresses active involvement by the patient to manage pain without the use of medication, surgery, or electrical modalities - ideally, the informed patient would be able to treat themselves. There are four components to the system:


Unique to the McKenzie Method is a comprehensive assessment on your first visit. A full history and mechanical examination is done, from which the physiotherapist can classify your condition based on how you respond. This is done without the need for expensive or invasive procedures and forms the basis of the individualized treatment plan. Many patients start feeling relief during the assessment itself.


Based on the assessment, you will be prescribed an exercise program specifically targeted for your condition. Usually this will involve no more than 1-2 exercises. Our emphasis is on active patient involvement which minimizes the number of visits and provides cost- and time-effective treatment. Patients with more difficult mechanical problems may require advanced hands-on techniques with the physiotherapist.

Recovery of Function

Once your pain is under control and your therapist deems your condition to be stable, you will be guided through a functional restoration program to return you to all the activities you did prior to injury. For example, a golfer who had a back injury would be guided through the restoration of his or her swing. This stage is crucial; some patients may not feel the need to go through it once their pain has resolved but this can sometimes lead to recurrence of their problem.


Once your symptoms have resolved and you have recovered your functional abilities, you will be shown how to minimize the risk of recurrence with maintenance strategies. If you do have a recurrence, you will be given specific instructions for immediate self-management - often recurrences are stopped in their tracks if you know what to do at the onset.

REPEX (TM) Table

As the only Certified McKenzie Clinic in Ontario, Axis Physiotherapy is unique in that we use a REPEX table. This mechanical table is used to enhance the effectiveness of repeated end range movement therapy for the lower back. It enables the spine to be moved to the full degree a greater number of times than is physically possibly by the patient alone. Depending on the patient it can be an extremely useful part of their management.