Can back pain ever be good? People suffering from backache would say, “No.” But some experts believe that back pain resulting from a process known as centralization can be a very good thing. Centralization means that pain originating in the back and traveling to the leg or the buttocks can be redirected to its actual source, the back. Here, the pain can usually be better tolerated by the patient and more successfully treated, even resolved.
To encourage centralization, the patient performs specific simple movements under our guidance. For example, an individual experiencing referred calf pain may report that, after repeatedly bending backward to the degree recommended by the therapist, the pain has moved from the calf to the back of the thigh. Often, continuing the movements will cause the pain to migrate even more, from the back of the thigh to the buttocks, then finally to the spine where, through repeated movements, it can eventually be controlled and eliminated.
The concept of centralization was developed more than 40 years ago by Robin McKenzie, a physical therapist who discovered that pain that can be centralized is likely to be treatable, while pain that does not centralize may have a more serious cause and a poorer prognosis for recovery. The McKenzie Method is a system of pain assessment, treatment and prevention that relies on a patient’s performing guided exercise movements, such as bending forward or backward, or moving the leg in various directions, and reporting which movements cause pain or its relocation.
Some experts feel this approach is too subjective. They prefer the hard data of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an x-ray scan. But studies have shown the McKenzie Method to be effective and, in many cases, more successful in treatment than reliance on some high-tech tests that sometimes result in false positives.
After evaluating your condition, we can design a program of exercises to strengthen the back, neck, buttocks or legs, and help relieve your pain. In addition, we can develop a prevention plan to maintain your back’s health.