With the McKenzie approach, a step-by-step examination identifies the movements and postures that best relieve a spine pain sufferer's complaints. The focus of the examination is on identifying which movements and postures "centralize" the patient’s pain. That is, which positions and activities reduce any extremity (or "perhiperal") symptoms. The theory of the approach is that centralizing the pain allows the source of the pain to be treated rather than the symptoms.
A central tenent and goal of the McKenzie Method is to teach neck pain and/or back pain sufferers how to treat themselves and manage their own pain for life using exercise and other strategies.