The most common diagnoses we treat within our center are those of the spine – low back and neck problems. Our experienced therapists have decades of practice treating injuries and conditions related to the spine. Our success with treating spinal related injuries and sciatica is very high. Research has shown that about 80% of us have low back or neck pain sometime in our lifetimes and once we have it – it becomes recurrent about 70% of the time. Our goal is to educate and empower you to prevent it and to teach you what to do when the first symptoms start so that you can avoid a major episode. Therefore, we teach about posture, lifting techniques, and the proper application of home exercises. This enables you to manage your condition without complete dependence on a therapist, doctor, or chiropractor.
What makes our clinic unique for treatment of these areas has been our dedication to a treatment approach called the McKenzie Technique. This is a mechanical diagnosis and treatment approach to the spine – which is the most common mechanical treatment approach in the world beyond modalities, strengthening, and stretching. The approach leans heavily on patient education, directional preference exercises, manual overpressure, and manual mobilization of the spine. One advantage of the McKenzie technique is that we usually know within 4-6 visits whether we are able to help you or not. Instead of wasting your time for a month or two by having you continue treatments that are not helping, we quickly refer you back to the physician for further evaluation (perhaps an MRI) or other treatment options.
All our therapists have been trained in the McKenzie method. Todd Warner, PT, CERT. MDT has been nationally certified in this approach (only 1 of 15 certified therapists in West Virginia). To be certified you must take 4 separate courses varying in length from 2-4 days and pass an 8-hour national test which consists of a written and a practical exam. For further information on the McKenzie method we suggest you go to their website at www.mckenziemdt.org.
On the other hand, our therapists do not only use the McKenzie technique, as we realize that a more holistic understanding of therapy and treatment is often needed. Therefore, we often include strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, massage, and lumbar stabilization exercises. Patients that receive this approach are often those with stenosis, spondylolisthesis, strains, sprains, or deconditioning. We also use modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and mechanical traction. The decision regarding which treatment to use is determined after a full and detailed evaluation of the patient.
Our success with treating disc related spinal injuries is exceptionally high. This includes treating bulging discs, protruding discs, sciatica, and nerve impingent from a disc causing leg numbness, tingling and pain. However, the McKenzie approach is not simply for disc, it is also for strains and sprains, dysfunctions, posture syndromes, and SI joint problems.
We also see many patients after spinal surgery of the neck or low back. In these cases, we follow all protocols and physician instructions. Often, we do not use the McKenzie technique with these patients, but instead incorporate general strengthening and stretching to get the patient back to a normal pain-free and functional level.