CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The patient came to physical therapist Hugh Murray complaining of back pain.
He's active, running 60 to 70 miles a week, including marathons.
Murray quickly diagnosed the cause of the man's pain: too much sitting.
"It shows up with running, but it's caused by sitting," said Murray, who practices at Charleston Physical Therapy Specialists. "He sits eight or nine hours a day at his job."
By teaching the man some simple movements and habits, Murray believes he can help the patient eliminate his back pain. And if it ever returns, the man will be armed with the tools to fix it.
Since 1979 when he first heard about it, Murray has been an advocate and practitioner of the McKenzie method, named after New Zealand physical therapist Robin McKenzie.
McKenzie has taught worldwide and is the author of the books, "Treat Your Own Back" and "Treat Your Own Neck." Both books, readily available on amazon.com, have been through multiple printings. The latest edition of "Treat Your Own Back" acknowledges Murray for having made suggestions for it.
The methods McKenzie describes - stretching and flexing the spine to counteract back pain - are so simple, Murray admits he wishes he had thought of them.
At its heart, the McKenzie method teaches proper posture and ways to counteract our improper posture. Our lives encourage forward movement. We slouch. We stoop, even though we know we shouldn't. We lift things improperly. Well, guess what? For all this back flexion, our spines need some extension.
Arching the back is something many of us were taught not to do - and the same goes for physical therapists.
"I was taught in physical therapy school that you didn't put a patient with back pain in that position," Murray said.
Today, it can be a method of healing - done, of course, in a careful and controlled way.
The McKenzie methods have helped Murray help many patients to alleviate and even eliminate pain in their backs and necks. Today, he's one of 11 therapists within 25 miles of Charleston who are McKenzie practitioners and one of about 3,000 worldwide.
"It's not as widely used as we'd like to see it used," he said. "But it's so simple."
That's one of the rubs.
"If I do less and my outcomes are better, I make less money," Murray said. "The reinforcement (for therapists) is not there."