MYTH #1: I’ve never heard of it… it must be a new approach.

The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy® (MDT) is not new. In fact, it dates as far back as the 1950’s!

Robin McKenzie was a manipulative therapist practicing in New Zealand. An accidental discovery with a patient acted as a catalyst towards Robin creating the McKenzie Method® after years of clinical observation of his patients.

The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy® (MDT) has since evolved into a system that is safe, structured, supported by research evidence and internationally recognized.

“Everything I have learned, I’ve learned from my patients.”
– Robin McKenzie

MYTH #2: Lots of treatment sessions will be required… I pay out-of-pocket – that can get expensive.

The greatest skill of an MDT® clinician lies within their assessment, where they first learn to understand why you are sore. In understanding the source of your pain, your therapist can then match their treatment strategies to your particular need. This unique and targeted treatment is both effective and cost efficient.

With continued follow-up under the care of a MDT® clinician, results are typically achieved in 3-5 visits total. MDT® can also be used to effectively identify those patients who require onward referral for specialist care.

MYTH #3: All clinicians have training in the McKenzie Method®.

Clinicians trained in MDT® have undertaken additional study at an advanced level following graduation from their professional programs. The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy® (MDT) is taught as a series of five comprehensive courses:
Part A: Lumbar Spine (28hrs)
Part B: Cervical and Thoracic Spine (28hrs)
Part C: Advanced Lumbar Spine and Extremities: Lower Limb (28 hrs)
Part D: Advanced Cervical and Thoracic Spine and Extremities: Upper Limb (28 hrs)
Advanced Extremities (14hrs)
Total hours of study: 126 hrs

While some new graduates are provided with a brief introduction to MDT during their professional training or work colleagues, this is not considered equivalent to the multiple hours of study listed above.

The McKenzie Institute Canada website lists board certified providers for your reference using the ‘Provider Locator’ ( It is here that you’ll notice both credentialed therapists and diplomates listed. What’s the difference you say?

Credentialed Therapists have completed the initial training as noted above
Diplomates have completed the highest level of training in McKenzie Method®

MYTH #4: The McKenzie Method® of MDT® only involves treatment of the spine.

The McKenzie Method® of MDT® can be used for either the spine or the extremities.

For clinicians trained in MDT®, the McKenzie Method® as a way of thinking. For this reason, the its use is not limited to just one bodily region. Instead, it is a safe, structured and evidence-based assessment and treatment system that can be used on a wide variety of locations:
Upper limbs
Lower limbs

MYTH #5: MDT® trained clinicians do not perform manual therapy.

Did you know that Robin McKenzie himself (the creator of the McKenzie Method® of MDT®) was a trained manipulative therapist?

Clinicians trained in the McKenzie Method® learn a wide variety of manual therapy techniques for both the spine and the extremities.

The use of manual therapy techniques is considered on a case-by-case basis for each patient, rather than as a standard rule. Clinicians trained in MDT® first explore and then foster the patient ability to manage their symptoms. But WHY you ask?

There are few reasons:
Promote patient belief in their ability to control their symptoms
Promote patient belief in their capacity to manage their symptoms
Simply put, not all patients require manual therapy

Ultimately, through their regular guidance and instruction, clinicians trained in the McKenzie Method® of MDT® want to teach you how to a take control of your pain, which in turn should allow for more successful management over the long-term.

As/when your MDT® trained clinician does perform manual therapy techniques with you, its purpose is then to assist you to perform your own exercises even better at home, rather than you having to rely solely on your clinician in order to improve.

In this way, a partnership for rehabilitation success is built. Your clinician helps you and you help your clinician.

MYTH #6: MDT® assessments must be completed in-person.

Clinicians trained in the McKenzie Method® of MDT® will first explore and then foster the patient ability to manage their symptoms. No expensive tests, equipment or procedures are required. For this reason, the McKenzie Method® is well-suited to virtual care.

Believe it or not, in most cases, the patient is able to manage their symptoms independently. They simply require the guidance and instruction of their MDT® trained clinician in order to learn the specifics of how to do just that.

As/if manual procedures are necessary however, patients may be asked to attend the clinic on subsequent visits, until they are able to return to managing their symptoms independently.