Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: To investigate the interrater reliability of the McKenzie method of diagnosing the derangement types found in patients with low back pain. Also to determine whether the credentialed or diplomaed levels of postgraduate training in the McKenzie approach have an improved effect on reliability.

Subjects: A random selective sampling method of 87 McKenzie credentialed or diplomaed clinicians worldwide was used.

Methods: A self generated questionnaire, photographs and a modified McKenzie lumbar spine evaluation form were used to obtain information regarding diagnostic classification of McKenzie's derangement types.

Results: Interclass correlation coefficients (ICC) for both groups' ratings of the two patients was ICC=.952. ICC for the credentialed groups' rating was ICC=.954, and for the diplomaed group ICC=.943. The credentialed group appears to have the highest interrater reliability, however, differences between the two groups are marginal. This suggests that both groups individually and collectively had "almost perfect" interrater reliability.

Conclusions: The McKenzie method of diagnosing low back pain exhibits statistically significant interrater reliability when completed by credentialed or diplomaed clinicians. There was no significant relationship found between the amount of time spent conducting an initial lumbar spine evaluation, number of low back pain patients seen daily, years practicing as a McKenzie therapist and the diagnosis the patients were given.


Physical Therapy

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