Three weeks after starting physical therapy, Andrews resident Tracey Redmon noticed she wasn’t waking up with the pounding headaches she’d experienced for years. Her back and neck pain were also improving.
“I tell people I’m doing wonderfully,” she says. “I was actually given the OK to stop coming to physical therapy and just continue exercises at home, which has never happened before.”
Redmon, 49, began struggling with persistent head and neck pain 10 years ago. She tried everything to address it including traditional physical therapy, acupuncture and Botox, but never found long-lasting relief.
So when her physician referred her to Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Services to undergo treatment using a highly specialized form of physical therapy called the McKenzie Method, she was willing to give it a try.
The approach, also referred to as Mechanical Diagnosis Therapy, focuses on pain relief. Certified practitioners create exercises to address an individual’s specific pain points by correcting underlying mechanical problems. Patients are taught the principles of the treatment and empowered to take control over their own symptoms by performing the exercises on their own time using inexpensive equipment such as exercise bands.
Although widely recognized for its ability to help with neck or back pain, the McKenzie Method can also be used to treat pain in the knees, hips, elbows and other joints.
“The goal is to make you totally self-sufficient so you never have to come back for that particular ailment again,” says Pam DiGiovanna, a physical therapist at Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Services at Murrells Inlet and one of only a few providers in our region certified in the McKenzie Method. “Patients are taught exercises they can do at home on a daily basis to keep the pain at bay.”
DiGiovanna, who has been certified in the McKenzie Method for a decade, says a new patient will first be assessed to determine the underlying cause of the individual’s pain. Then, the practitioner develops exercises designed to correct the problem.
That’s one reason why Redmon says the McKenzie Method works for her. Her therapist explained the exercises to her in laymen’s terms and observed her practicing in the clinic. After eight weeks in therapy, Redmon went home with exercise bands and a written set of instructions for her exercises.
“They were the same exercises I did in therapy, so I was familiar with what I needed to do,” she says. “I try to stick with the same days I was going to therapy. The consistency helps me stay with it and honestly, it doesn’t take long to do them.”
A proven approach
Like Redmon, Murrells Inlet resident Andrew Tito was willing to try the McKenzie Method to find relief from his persistent back pain. After years of working in the retail industry, Tito says he had consulted multiple doctors and chiropractors over the years, but never found long-lasting relief until he tried the McKenzie Method.
“I didn’t have a lot of faith going in, but the pain went away after a few weeks,” he says, adding that he is continuing to do the exercises developed by DiGiovanna. “It’s worked out really well for me.”