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Stop Using the McKenzie Method for Sciatica | Here’s Why

Posted on December 31, 2022

To watch the full video, click here: https://youtu.be/GJer7GVTqd8

The McKenzie method is an outdated, narrow minded solution to fixing sciatic pain. Yep, I said, but don’t worry, if you’re taught to lay on a table to try to fix a movement related problem, I’m gonna give you the why and give you some strategies you can try instead. But before we get into it, don’t forget to push the subscribe button to get weekly videos that go deep into the science behind movement, and how to apply that science to exercise even finding relief pain. Alright, over the last 15 years of my career as a movement specialist, I’ve used the principles of chain reaction biomechanics, and applied functional science to help tons of clients find relief and sciatic pain without ever using the McKenzie method, or really any other traditional type of physical therapy exercise that is commonly used. In order for me to give you a better understanding of why you shouldn’t be relying on the McKenzie method for sciatic pain. I want to start with describing what the method is, in case you don’t know. And then showing the one thing that is actually worth taking away from that dated method, there was some credit that this would be shared, I want to say that one right off the bat. So what is the McKenzie method that they would use for sciatic pain, it’s essentially you go down on the ground or on a table or the cases ball on a flat surface and get prone. And essentially, you want to get as prone as you possibly can. Some people can’t even get this thrown. So they put a bolster underneath their hip to actually put their pelvis into more, or their hips into more flexion. Because flexion is relatively a safe environment for sciatic pain. So what happens is, you start to kind of make a progression, every point in this method to start to kind of get yourself maybe into a kind of a little bit more of a bright spot, kind of getting the backup a bit more than you can progress to kind of more hands here, then you start to kind of progress and get even more essentially lumbar extension. That’s what they’re really looking for, is to get that lumbar to get back into an extended position, because it’s been overly flexed. As well, our day in our society will promote that type of position. Well, the interesting thing is, what it’s really missing is, well, a lot of things. But what is it getting right, what’s actually getting the hip, the hips joint, to get into more extension, even its focus on the lumbar spine, the hip is actually getting into more extension just because of that position, gravity, and it’s pulling factor. So it actually gets a little bit of a star for doing something that actually helps. But again, no one is describing it and all the videos that I’ve done to research this one, no one has actually described why it actually works, besides referring to just the lumbar spine. But there’s a lot of other misconceptions of why the sciatica is there. Common scapegoats are actually the piriformis Oh, the performances why they’re Sadek. No, no, the piriformis is just a scapegoat. It’s not the performances fault, or it’s the herniated disc that’s causing the the sciatica No, it’s not, it’s not the stenosis, nor the spondylosis, the thesis, these are all just common causes to this deeper problem, because we have to ask, why is the respondent of this thesis? Why is there a stenosis? Why is there a herniated disc? Why is the piriformis too tight or too long? This is the root problem that again, I’m not seeing asked and I want to see we had to make a video on it, because it’s a big, big piece. So here’s how I want you to think about it. I watched the Met the real reason these things are happening. And those real reasons are it’s a muscular skeletal neuromuscular dysfunction, unless someone got punched kit, tackled car accident, right in that zone, which is a total different understanding of why these things would be happening. We need to understand that as a musculoskeletal neuromuscular feeling or sensation that’s happening, and there’s a dysfunction in that process. So what are the three things that are really said, there’s a problem with the muscles or the fascia, there’s a problem with the placement of the bones. And there’s a problem that is running into those nerves. Now, those things don’t work interdependently they are simply they all dependent on each other. They’re all universally tied to each other as a problem with one it leads to prompt to another and back and forth. And in this case, a sciatica is a nerve or a neuro problem. And therefore the bones and the muscles have to be taken into consideration. With the McKenzie method. They’re trying to move the bones or the discs that are in between those, those bones into a better positioning, but they’re not attaching the muscle component of it. Now, they kind of are by passively putting the body in this spot. But the body is not passive, the body’s active. The body also doesn’t lay prone on a table to fix problems, the body’s in upright, dynamic spherical being, so therefore, we’re not actually getting to the root cause. So what we’re going to be doing is diving into the reverse engineering thought process of what happens when sciatic pain comes up. And a way for you to think about it. So I actually have a case study for it. But I want to emphasize this one thing, every single person is different, because every single person moves a little bit differently. So every single person who experiences sciatic pain could potentially have a different root cause, which means are very well varying different solutions. So because this, I cannot possibly give you an exhaustive list of exercises for what will magically work for everyone, because there’s no one thing that will work for everyone. What I will do is teach you in this video, and in almost every other video, is how to think and strategize and approach to finding the root cause of movement related dysfunctions like sciatica, like plantar fasciitis, like tennis elbow, or runner’s knee, or even incontinence, which is another musculoskeletal dysfunction. Because this is where the fun is as a trainer, because you can actually use your brain for problem solving, experimenting and discovering the root cause, then coming up with a program that will actually help your client get through this, this issue. That’s what’s fun. For me, actually, that’s what I love about my job, not just reading off a list of protocols and hoping that one of them will magically work. Because hope is not a strategy. So the goal is to teach you bit by bit on how to see the bigger picture of the why behind the body, and the why it moves the way it does, and why people experienced movement related pain, which is, that’s what we want to learn, right. So if you’re going to need to continue watching more and more of our videos and start to be able to put the pieces together. Because the body is one giant puzzle. And every person’s body is a different puzzle. Alright, now I know those little long winded, but absolutely needed to emphasize the purpose of this video. And this channel. So let’s dive into this case study. What I had was a client coming to me, who says I just I have this shooting kind of butt down the back of the leg pain, especially when I get up out of a chair, especially when to get out of a chair, going for walks and even climbing stairs or climbing up hills for the hikes that they’re trying to go on. And it’s just hurts. The more I do it, the more it hurts more and more, I can sit and it’s relatively okay. But because of the pressure on my butt on the chair, it hurts a little bit. So I have to shift my weight to my opposite side. So what I was trying to figure out like Where’s this coming from? What is the root cause I know it’s relatively a sciatic type feeling going down the back of the hip is because the piriformis is because of a slipped disc. And because of anything like that, honestly, I’m be very quite quite frank with you. And his thought process, I don’t care. Now, I don’t care about the person, I don’t care where the symptom is, I want to know where it’s coming from. I don’t want to know where the pain is, I want to know what movement patterns cause the pain. This is kind of our reverse engineering process, the McKenzie method or other other other traditional methods start to think, oh, it’s your lower back, we have to fix your lower back. And I’m gonna say no, that’s not how to fix the long deep rooted problem, you may get pain relief. And there’s been a lot of comments on a lot of YouTube videos saying, Oh, I got pain relief, great. You basically put a bandaid on something that needs to be stitched. Nothing wrong with the band aid. But let’s not put too much stock in the fact that was simply just more of a band aid effect, we need to get deeper into the functional movement patterns that the body is getting along with or not getting along with that causes this sensation of nerve down the back leg with walking with movement, etc, etc. So what I’m gonna have them do, I’m gonna give you a very basic way to think about this, because it’s all about what’s making what over work. If the hip joint doesn’t essentially move, the way that it can move in distinct extension in distinct flexion in distinct abduction and distinct abduction and extinct external rotation and a sink, internal rotation, there’s going to be a lack of movement possibilities, and therefore when the hip joint needs to move through those points, it’s gonna say, Well, I’m not going to do it, but the movement has to be done. So therefore it can transfer that motion into the lumbar spine. That’s not a good thing.

We don’t want that the thoracic spine can also do the same thing. If it doesn’t get through, its flexion its extension, it’s right and left lateral flexion and its left and right rotation. It’s and say, well, the movement still going to happen. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to shove it down to my neighbor, the lumbar spine. And that’s where the vast majority of disc herniations come from, etc, etc, etc. Because these major joints don’t play their full role and therefore it shares the load somewhere else. Again, people don’t talk about that. In fact, I haven’t seen a single video that people describe when Where this problem can actually be coming from? Because it’s they just think, oh, it’s the lumbar, lumbar spines fault? No, no, no, no, it goes deeper than that. So let’s unpack what’s going on. So the client that I had, she says, I go for a walk, I go for a run, I go up hills, I go upstairs, I stand up. And essentially, it hurts. So I’m going to try to produce movement patterns that actually produce that same dysfunction. Now, if I can’t see the exact dysfunction, I’m gonna start to see where movement patterns shouldn’t be happening. So I put her in a stride stance, because it hurt when she walked, especially her down her right side. So I’m going to put her body into a left foot in front or right foot in back stance. Now, when I do that, this is exactly what I’ve done to the pelvis or to the hip joints. In particular, I put the affected side the right side into hip extension, I also put it into hip A, B duction. And I also put it into hip internal rotation, by asking her to heal out just a little bit. Now, you will say, Why did you ask them to go heal out, because that is where the hip should be for ultimate, or essentially efficient stride walking position. And what I saw her do automatically was go into external rotation, which is certainly a way to walk, but not the most efficient way to walk. Because his bill I do want at push off in gate, external rotation at the, at the knee, at the fibula, and at the tip and fib and the femur, excuse me, I want internal rotation at the hip joint. And you may say how was that even possible when you just describe three other bones doing the opposite pattern is because it’s a relative motion. And this is where Chain Reaction biomechanics or sequencing of movement comes into play. And this is the biggest takeaway that I want you to take from this video is that when my left foot comes forward, it takes my pelvis into a right rotation. And that right rotation is essentially a spinning into my femur. Now my femur is delayed, because it’s the second bone in the sequence, the hip is moving first, because it’s being thrown from my foot. So as this gets thrown, this internal rotation happens because this hip is moving faster than this femur is moving on the outside. So we get relative hip internal rotation, which is and what was what I found wasn’t happening. This is what the big thing is, I found that her hip flexor, was not getting enough internal rotation in the gait cycle, therefore wasn’t getting enough loading, therefore was too tight, and therefore put her piriformis and her entire posterior hip chain into a tighter fashion. So when she went to go for a stride, basically, she couldn’t get the motion from her hip extension and in internal rotation. So therefore, for her to get a big enough stride, Henson standing up, walking up hills, going upstairs, which takes a little bit more range of motion, these muscles would have to start to contract more to get the necessary hip extension for her to make that stride to hit her to go in that position that her body subconsciously needed to go. And therefore, that piriformis bit down on that saddle and then pain all the way down. So here’s what I did, I actually grabbed on to a foam roller. And I said, Let’s put this on your hip flexors, how to get down on the ground. And I said, let’s put that foam ball on your hip flexor and start to roll into it. And here’s what she automatically did, which I’m doing here. Look at my right foot. It’s tote open. I had her actually toe closed, and heel out. And when she did that she looked out there like whoa, like, oh my gosh, like what is that? And she says I said I feel that running down the back of my leg like my sciatic pain does. She backed off. Even though the hip flexor was still tender, the static discomfort dissipated in pain jumped up higher. Now though, that’s not saying that’s exactly the cause of this problem. It was a certainly an indicator that we’re on the right path. So I had to come out of that spot after we did this soft tissue process to let that open up in the fascial to release and I put her in our stretching cage and I said I want you to put yourself into right foot toe in and the left foot on the second platform. Now if you don’t have a cage, you can do the standing upright and just do the same thing I’m doing here. Change if you can see it toe when grabbing onto a moped stick or a wall where the case is and how to go toe in. Now in this first position to that hey, that actually triggers me a little bit. But if I backed off the foot stance a little bit, it said, actually, that feels fine, I feel tension, but I don’t feel any discomfort. And that’s a perfect place that you want to start. Now I knew if I went any bit more forward, I was going to cause that plane to get triggered. So I didn’t put her into more extension, I put her into left and right translation of the pelvis, which actually brought the hip joint into more abduction, and a reduction. And by doing that, I was able to create more space in the joint in the frontal plane, which only gave me more room in the sagittal plane. The principle behind this is the same principle that you use, when you try to pull a stake out of the ground, you try to pull it out of the ground, it won’t come out of the ground. So what do you do to get it out, you start to wiggle it around in the ways that it can move, what does that do, it frees up the space and the ways it can’t move. So when you try again, it gives you more room. So that’s what we did, we actually moved in the left and right position, then attempted in the rotational position, which only got her into more hip internal rotation, though it was the tightest of all, it actually didn’t trigger much of her sciatic because we actually loosened up very well in the frontal plane. Then I said, Let’s go and take that foot a little further forward, again, back to where it originally hurt. And guess what, it didn’t hurt. And then we started over the process. Again, we kept inching our way more and more and more. And then that’s how she started to gain this momentum, to start to feel like we’re on a path. In literally 35 minutes of work, she was able to decrease her sciatic pain by 80% 35 minutes. And that was actually through the whole process of actually assessing what’s even going going on. From there, we started to gain more and more friends into the party to gain more and more extension potential that she can access. Because it’s not just the hip flexor that gets extension. It’s also one of the quad muscles, it’s also the adductor muscles, it’s also the abdominal muscles, it’s also the thoracic spine, they all play into this process of here. So we started getting more abductor work with a stride stance, driving in extension, with external and internal rotation to give her the freedom that she needs. We started to get her into more extension reaches with her thoracic spine, reaching in different patterns, we started to get her back into his stride stance, and actually getting her through a rotational or AOC H spine to the left hips to the right pattern that was that resembles gait patterns to start to say, Okay, wait a minute, it’s not just the hips, it’s also the cross abdominal pressure, that can be over tension that causes lack of motion here.

So we started to open that up, as well. Honestly, in one session, she’s like, this is awesome, I know exactly what I have to do. We set her up. And honestly, in a few days, it was completely gone. And honestly, we never touched the lower back. We never touched the piriformis which is what most treatments are actually going to go after. So remember, my goal is to give you a framework that you can use to start to problem solving for movement related pains and dysfunctions. It’s not a sexy magic pill of a solution. But it works. If you actually want to dive deeper into science and application of this framework. I highly encourage you to book call with us to see if the multi dimensional movement coaching mentorship is right for you. In this course, we teach you the science, the framework and the systems for how to apply chain reaction biomechanics to your training sessions, as well as how to go about addressing a multitude of musculoskeletal dysfunctions. So if you want to do what I do, and think the way that I think click on the link in the description below, to book a call with some of my team, it’s honestly truly a life changing experience not only for yourself, but for clients as well, because we teach you not what to think, but how to think and in this day and age of training and conditioning. US trainers are the frontline in the health care system. It’s our job to do the best job screening those athletes, those clients in front of us so we can best prepare them for the movement, Journey lifestyle that they want. And we can be a huge, huge cog in this wheel that helps prevent people from needing to go deeper into the medical system that is honestly bogged down with a lot of red tape and protocol. So let’s expand let’s push how we think. And let’s start to get people the help that they can need right from the ground floor of movement. See you guys soon. Take care.

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