There are so many different ways to stretch. There’s dynamic stretching, stretches you can do in doorways that feel like full-body massages, movements specifically for your feet… it’s kind of amazing. But the McKenzie Method is the one I’d never heard of that could be the solution to relieving chronic back and neck pain for good.
Despite being around since the 1960s—and basically all of Reddit swearing by it!—the McKenzie Method isn’t something you hear about every day. Created by a physical therapist in New Zealand, the evidence-based technique focuses on extending the spine through a series of movements, helping those with back and neck pain self-treat their current problems (and prevent further issues in the future), says SpineOne.
So, how does the McKenzie Method work, exactly? Each exercise uses gravity to get displaced intervertebral discs back on track, helping improve your overall spine health. As you’re breathing and relaxing, they’re drawn back into the spine, and that’s good news on the pain front. When your spine is happy, so are you. You can start small, too. Every exercise comes as a series of progressive positions. If your back hurts really bad, for instance, you would just start with the initial position then slowly work your way through the rest over time.
If you want to try out the method at home, there are a handful of different exercises you can start with demonstrated in the video above, including extension in lying and flexion in standing. You can do them at home, work—anywhere you need some relief. You’re really only a few stretches away from your back and neck feeling good as new.
Can’t get enough of that ooey-gooey, stretched-out feeling? Try these yoga moves for flexibility:
These “T-spine” stretches are musts for perfect posture. And if you’re curious, find out how your belly button holds the key to a great stretch, too.
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