McKenzie & Mulligan

Congratulations to Our New Mulligan Practitioners

Mulligan therapy, shoulder pain

We’d like to take a moment to toot our own horn and call attention to a few members of our physical therapy team who recently became Certified Mulligan Practitioners. For those not familiar with the term, the Mulligan Concept is a specific form of physical therapy that involves using manual therapy techniques that decrease pain and increase range of motion.

These team members worked so hard and are ready to start showing you the benefits of the Mulligan Concept: Diana Painter, Matt Casterline, David DeHaan, Terri Jeurink, Denise Jongekrijg, Corey Kuipers, Dave Sefton, and Ashley VandenBerg. Our seven new practitioners join Janis Kemper, Gina Otterbein, and Lisa Otterbein-Bolek, who were previously certified.

Mulligan Practitioners, physical therapy, shoulder pain

Ashley (left) and David (right) practice using the Mulligan concept on other physical therapists during the continuing education course.

Mulligan Practitioners, physical therapy, shoulder pain

While the course was definitely educational, Matt made sure it was entertaining, too.

In order to get fully certified, our therapists had to complete three clinical courses over the course of two years that focused on the upper quadrant, lower quadrant, and an advanced course. The clinic courses were followed by a written test and practical course. What made this process even more exciting is that we had the opportunity to host these continuing education courses at our Wayland clinic. They were open to any physical therapist who had previously met certain requirements and were ready to fine tune their skill level with the Mulligan approach to manual therapy for the whole body.

Mulligan Practitioners, physical therapy, shoulder painThe Mulligan course took place at our Wayland physical therapy clinic.

So how exactly does the Mulligan Concept work?
The ultimate goal behind the Mulligan technique is to get you to a point where you can move more with less pain by manipulating the muscles and joints a certain way. When your pain goes away it’s a clear sign that the technique is working, if pain persists then the technique gets altered a bit.

Commonly treated conditions include:

  • Back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain
  • Non-inflammatory pain
  • Acute pain from an injury
  • Rehab following a surgery
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Jaw or TMJ pain and movement restrictions
  • “Tennis elbow” or lateral elbow pain
  • Ankle sprains

Mulligan Practitioners, physical therapy, shoulder painWhile Brian Mulligan, the founder of the Mulligan Concept, was not at the Northern-hosted event, a few team members did have the chance to meet him at a conference.

To learn more about the Mulligan Concept and whether it would be a good fit for you, click here.


Ease Back and Neck Pain with the McKenzie Method

Each of our McKenzie Method certified therapists is highlighting a common exercise designed to reduce or eliminate back and neck pain.

Quick pain relief with very little intervention…sound too good to be true? People suffering from back and neck pain can often benefit from the McKenzie method of treatment where the patient is taught to practices specific exercises, in a specific way, designed to eliminate pain.

The McKenzie Method is based on the idea that self-treatment empowers the patient and reduces their dependency on medical intervention. By promoting the body’s potential to heal itself, The McKenzie Method® assesses, diagnoses, and treats patients without medication, surgery or other passive methods such as heat, ice or ultrasounds. McKenzie allows patients to learn the principles and empowers them to be in control of their own pain management, which can reduce dependency on medical intervention.

Benefits of The McKenzie Method & Physical Therapy

  • Patients who are educated in self-management can practice exercise and treatment methods at the first sign of pain. This means symptoms can usually be relieved before they become severe.
  • The McKenzie Method works quickly, meaning less therapy visits overall, and a quicker route to becoming pain-free. Results are typically seen in as few as two to three visits, meaning you are receiving a cost efficient, non-invasive treatment without expensive tests or procedures
  • The McKenzie Method is backed by years of research, evidence and clinical practice
  • Treatment plans and exercises are designed specifically for each individual patient
  • This treatment method is self-directed and managed. We work with you and teach you so you can be successful in your journey to being pain free
  • Preventative treatment is ideal for lifelong knowledge, skills, and pain management

How does the McKenzie Method work?

The McKenzie Method consists of four primary stages: assessment, classification, treatment and prevention.

Many times musculoskeletal pain is a result of abnormal mechanics occurring in the tissue, meaning that a certain  position, movement or activity caused the pain to start in the first place. It’s safe to assume, in these cases, that if a mechanical issue caused the problem then a counteractive mechanical force may be part of the solution. The McKenzie system is designed to identify the problem and develop a plan to correct or improve it, ultimately decreasing or eliminating the pain.

Fo example, if moving in one direction causes pain, then moving in the opposite direction may eliminate the pain.  This is known as Directional Preference. Other patients may have localized pain with certain movements like throwing or running. The McKenzie assessment explores the different positions and movements, looks at how the patient performs them, and the body’s response to these movements. By interpreting this information, the physical therapist determines which of the movements become the treatment and what the necessary exercise dosage will be.

The end goal of the McKenzie Method is to teach patients who are suffering from neck or back pain how to treat themselves and manage their own pain for life by utilizing certain exercises, designed specifically for your pain. We ultimately want to quickly reduce your pain and get you back to doing the things you love to do, all while minimizing the risk for the pain to return.

We have many physical therapists who are trained and certified in the McKenzie Method. If you have questions, or would like to see if the McKenzie Method is right for you, schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Diana Painter: Physical Therapist & Back Pain Specialist

 Specialties: McKenzie Certified Physical Therapist, Back Pain, Low Back Pain, Sports Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy

I love working with patients of all ages and diagnoses, but I have a special interest in the McKenzie method of evaluation and treatment with a focus on the lumbar, cervical, and thoracic spine. I also enjoy working with runners of all ages. I have been practicing physical therapy in out-patient settings since I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007 and am currently working at Northern’s Cedar Springs office.

I love being a physical therapist at work and a mom of a 2 year old energetic boy at home. I live in the Rockford area where my family takes advantage of the awesome trails and parks, and we can usually be seen at the farmers market on Saturday mornings. My other hobbies include running, hiking, camping, XC skiing, and spending time with family and friends.