While the traditional, unscientific approach of physical therapy and manipulative therapy fail to give long-term relief to low back pain patients, many people resort to think that they have to live with their low back pain (LBP) for the rest of their lives. Such myth has misled millions of Americans to miss work, alter their quality of life, and even become addicted to pain-killer medications.

As a physical therapist, even I had that mindset–applying hot or cold pack, electrical stimulation and/ or ultrasound, as well as some soft tissue or joint mobilization and giving exercises to my LBP patients, thinking that there was no certainty whether their symptoms would improve.


Until one day I came across a PT who was partially trained in the McKenzie system, the ambiguity of the efficacy of traditional LBP regimen began to subside. It was surprising to see how his patients improved so quickly. They were so excited and grateful that they would bring him gifts again and again. Additionally, I was stunned by the fact that he could give logical answers to my questions in spinal analysis where none of my other colleagues in history could.

One of my missions is to advance the field of Physical Therapy. Thus, I began the series of courses in the McKenzie methodology in 2002.

The highlight of the McKenzie system is that it is entirely based on research and evidence-based principles. Therefore it is logical and effective. The consistent success in my practice using the McKenzie method brought me to become a certified credentialed practitioner. Not only was it a life-changing experience to me, but also to my colleagues and patients. At least a dozen of my fellow therapists began the McKenzie training, and some even reached certification.

The average number of visits required for LBP treated by the McKenzie systems is 6 nationally, and 4 in my own professional experience. Most patients are painfree after 1-2 visits and begin core training on the third or fourth visit to prevent recurrence. Based on research science and my experience, I testify that there is no such thing that everyone with LBP would have to “live with it for the rest of his life”, although they would have to live with it for as long as they wait to seek effective help.

Written by Irene Acevedo, PT, MS, Cert MDT for Core Rehabilitation and Spine Center

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