Assessment in the McKenzie Method/MDT

What makes MDT assessments different?

The McKenzie Method/MDT assessment is a primary aspect that sets this approach off from other methods of treatment. The McKenzie Method/MDT assessment uses a scientifically proven, reliable and validated system that allows the physiotherapist to accurately classify your problem. The McKenzie Method/MDT assessment focuses on categorizing your problem based on characteristics that can be easily observed in the clinic. These characteristics allow your physiotherapist to classify your problem in a category of symptoms in order to to determine the treatment that will be most effective for you.By using different movements and positions, and then immediately testing to see the effects of each procedure on your symptoms, a scientific method is used to determine the best possible treatment method for your problem. The McKenzie Method/MDT is based on sound principles of logic and common sense, combined with decades of clinical experience and research.

The McKenzie Method/MDT assessment willensure that the problem you are having will be appropriate for physiotherapy treatment and that no further medical testing needs to be done.


The first part of the assessment in the McKenzie Method/MDT involves telling your Montreal McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist about your current musculoskeletal problem and also about yourself (your job, leisure activities) and your medical history (health conditions, surgeries), which can be important to understand your condition and its effects on your daily life. Every problem is different and at Active Solution Physiotherapy Montreal we take the time to thoroughly understand how your pain is behaving. Your Montreal McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist will want to know all about this current problem and will ask questions such as:

Your McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist will want to know all about this current problem and will ask questions such as:

What are your symptoms?

When did it start?

Has it gotten better or worse?

Are there certain activities that make your pain better or worse?

Are you better if you move around or if you are still?

Do certain positions increase or decrease your pain?

These types of questions will allow your Montreal McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist to understand the biomechanics behind your pain. All of this information will help to guide the appropriate choice of testing procedures in the next part of the McKenzie Method/MDT Assessment, the physical exam.

Your McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist will also ask specific questions to verify that your problem is coming from a musculoskeletal problem, and if there is any doubt they will refer you to see a doctor for further testing.

Physical Exam

The physical exam is the next part of the McKenzie Method/MDT Assessment. Your Montreal McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist will perform tests to determine your physical limitations. They will look for strength and movement loss and changes to your pain with different tests. If necessary your physiotherapist will also test for signs of nerve compression by testing for changes in sensation, strength and testing your reflexes.

Repeated movements are an important part of the McKenzie Method/MDT Assessment and are not normally included in other therapeutic methods. Repeated movements can have a very different effect than a single movement. With repetition, a movement that was painful can become pain-free and a pain-free movement can become painful. If the symptoms change with repetition of a movement, it indicates a very different type of problem than when the symptoms are consistent. This provides essential information on the biomechanics of your problem, and can clearly indicate the proper McKenzie Method/MDT treatment. This additional information is often missed in other therapy approaches, and is often key to successful treatment.

Postures and sustained positioning are another important component that is examined in a McKenzie Method/MDT Assessment. Different positions and postures will often have a clear effect on symptoms. By exploring the effect of different postures and positions on your symptoms, your Montreal McKenzie Method/MDT Physiotherapist is able to further understand the biomechanics of your condition, and this information again points to the proper McKenzie Method/MDT treatment.
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