MedWatch: Makenzie Method - Northern Michigan's News Leader

MedWatch: Makenzie Method

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No one wants to live in pain, but finding the cause and taking care of the problem isn't always easy.

In this week's MedWatch report, learn about a therapy method that is nearly foolproof when it comes to treating backs and other joints.

One of the few places you can find it is at Munson Medical Center.

Right now Pam Ruggirello is a student, learning how to take care of her pain.

"As soon as we teach them how to control the pain and the pain goes away, then they're able to be independent and prevent the pain from coming back," says Bryan Parshall, a therapist at Munson Medical Center.

Bryan is one of her teachers.

She came to Munson Medical Center's Spine and Chronic Pain Clinic because both her back and hip were giving her problems.  

"I had just gotten into my husband’s car wrong and kind of felt a twinge, and I was walking it off and then about the same time I wasn't walking quite straight, so my back started bothering me," explains Pam.

Her treatment started with her back, using the Makenzie method.

It’s a special type of physical therapy.

"With the Makenzie method, what we do is what's called a mechanical exam, so we look at the mechanics of how the spine moves and we're paying attention to the patient’s symptoms, the patient's range of motion and any other complaints the patient has," says Bryan.

And then it takes the guesswork out of treatment.

"When you're certified in the Mack method, it's not the therapist is getting the patient better, it’s the method is getting the patient better. So anyone who's certified in the Mack method is doing the same things, so it allow for over time you can refine the system to make sure the quality is there and people are getting the outcomes," explains Bryan.

Patients typically see results quickly -- 4 to 6 visits versus 8 to 12 for traditional physical therapy.

"It played a big role in the fact that I was comfortable doing it. They showed me exercises that I was comfortable with and we tried other exercises, and it was not as comfortable and it pulled here and pulled there, but they had a repertoire of different exercises to accomplish the same thing," says Pam.

Today she's doing those exercises at home any time she starts to feel pain.

"It's a pain pill you can take whenever you want that has no side effects," explains Pam.

Eventually, her doctors say she'll likely need a hip replacement. Pam says this is working great for her right now.

“It's the new normal. I'm 65 years old and I'm going to be around for a while yet, and I want to do it pain free and I want to keep up with a 3-year-old granddaughter, she makes it that way," says Pam. 

For more information on the program, click here.