Prevalence of classification methods for patients with lumbar impairments using the McKenzie syndromes, pain pattern, manipulation, and stabilization clinical prediction rules

J Man Manip Ther. 2010 Dec;18(4):197-204. doi: 10.1179/106698110X12804993426965.


Objectives: Aims were (1) to determine the proportion of patients with lumbar impairments who could be classified at intake by McKenzie syndromes (McK) and pain pattern classification (PPCs) using Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) assessment methods, manipulation, and stabilization clinical prediction rules (CPRs) and (2) for each Man CPR or Stab CPR category, determine classification prevalence rates using McK and PPC.

Methods: Eight physical therapists practicing in eight diverse clinical settings classified patients typically referred to rehabilitation by McKenzie syndromes (i.e. derangement, dysfunction, posture, or other), pain pattern classification [i.e. centralization (CEN), not centralization (Non CEN), and not classified (NC)], Manipulation CPR (positive, negative), and stabilization CPR (positive, negative). Prevalence rates with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each classification category by McK, PPC, and manipulation and stabilization CPRs. Prevalence rates (95% CIs) for McK and PPC were calculated for each CPR category separately.

Results: Data from 628 adults [mean age: 52±17 years, 56% female] were analyzed. Prevalence rates were: McK - derangement 67%, dysfunction 5%, posture 0%, other 28%; PPC - CEN 43%, Non CEN 39%, NC 18%; manipulation CPR - positive 13%; Stab CPR - positive 7%. For patients positive for manipulation CPR (n = 79), prevalence rates for derangement were 89% and CEN 68%. For patients positive for stabilization CPR (n = 41), prevalence rates for derangement were 83% and CEN 80%.

Discussion: The majority of patients classified based on initial clinical presentation by manipulation and stabilization CPRs were also classified as derangements whose symptoms centralized. Manipulation and stabilization CPRs may not represent a mutually exclusive treatment subgroup but may include patients who can be initially treated using a different classification method.

Keywords: Clinical prediction rules; Lumbar spine; McKenzie syndromes; Pain pattern classification.

Publication types

  • Case Reports