McKenzie exercises are designed to complement acupuncture to assist in the long-term relief of pain.  In the following videos Dr Jesse cover the McKenzie exercises for lower back pain, neck pain and knee pain.  These exercises can be done at home and over the long-term.  Please seek our advice if you are unsure about doing these exercises or find they are not helping you.

General Instructions

  • Do required exercises in order.
  • Do 2-3 times a day.
  • Use pain as your guide – only go as far as the pain allows.
  • If your pain  centralises (ie. reduces to a smaller area) then the exercises are working.
  • If your pain decentralises (ie. increases to a larger area) then discontinue and refer back to us for advice.

* We are not providing medical advice in this video.  Please seek the advice from your health professional.

Introduction to Pain-Relief McKenzie Exercises by Dr Jesse

McKenzie Exercises for Low-Back Pain

1. Back flexion

Sit on a chair with your bottom towards the edge of the chair.

Bend forward and reach your hands back under the chair (round your back when doing this. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the starting seated position.

Repeat 8 times.

 

2. Back extension – lying

Lie on the floor and completely relax your lower back for 2-3 minutes.

Difficulty 1: Push up onto your elbows so your back is arched.  Hold for 3 seconds and return to the lying position. Repeat 8 times.

Difficulty 2 (if the above exercise is easy and you have no pain): Push up onto your hands so your back is arched (like an upward dog in yoga).  Go as far as you can without pain. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the lying position. Repeat 8 times.

Do either Difficulty 1 OR Difficulty 2 exercise.

On all exercises, make sure that you let your lower back sag into the floor – particularly for the last 3 repetitions.

3. Back extension – standing (only do if circumstances or pain does not allow you to do the lying version (above) of this exercise)

Stand up straight and put both hands behind your lower back to support it.

Keeping your knees straight, arch backwards as far as you can. Hold for 1 second and return to the standing position.

Repeat 8 times.

 

McKenzie Exercises for Neck Pain

1. Neck rotation

From the neutral position, retract your chin and head straight back.

Turn your head all the way to the left.  Use your hands to gently apply more pressure and hold for 3 seconds.

Return to the neutral position and repeat for the other side.

Do this five times per side

 

2. Neck extension

From the neutral position, retract your chin and head straight back, hold for 3 seconds and then return to the neutral position. Do this five times.

From the neutral position, retract your chin and head straight back and then tilt your head back so you are looking straight up, hold for 3 seconds and then return to the neutral position. 

Do this five times.

3. Neck flexion

From a neutral starting position bend your neck forward so your chin moves towards your chest.

At the end of your range use both hands to gently apply more pressure for 3 seconds.

Release your hand and return to a neutral starting position. 

Do this five times.

4. Lateral exercises (optional)

Only do this if the previous three exercises do not provide relief OR if you have pain on only one side of your neck or only travelling down one arm.

From the neutral position, retract your chin and head straight back.

Tilt your head to the left so your ear heads towards your shoulder.

Use your left arm to gently apply more pressure and hold for seconds.

Return to the neutral position and repeat for the other side.

Do this five times per side

McKenzie Exercise for Knee Pain

1. Knee extension

Sit on a chair with your bottom towards the edge of the chair.

Straighten your left leg by lifting your foot upwards (note: you toes should point straight up, NOT forward).  Keep the knee in the same position (i.e. don’t lift the knee).  Straighten the leg as firmly as possible. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then return to the starting position.

Repeat 8 times.

Repeat for the right leg.

 

2. Knee flexion

Lie on your back.

Bring your left knee towards your chest.

Put both hands around your leg just below the knee and pull your knee towards your chest and hold for 3 seconds.

Release your leg back to the starting position on the floor.

Repeat 8 times.

Repeat for the right leg.