Bristol Press

Bristol physical therapist is passionate about individual treatment

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 10:57 PM EDT

By Liz Newberg
Staff Writer

BRISTOL — Craig Zettergren, owner of The Physical Therapy Center, is passionate about pain. For Zettergren, who formed PTC in 2003, no two people are alike and no two people’s back pain should be treated the same. He said he believes in individual treatment plans and hands-on care at his clinic to bring patients excellent results.

As an expert of the McKenzie Method, a therapy program that specializes in detailed assessment and self-management of spinal and extremity pain, Zettergren said he can more effectively assess the direction his patients need to move to achieve maximum relief from pain.

“The McKenzie Method takes the guesswork out of diagnosis and that’s the key,” he said.

According to Zettergren, research on the McKenzie method shows that 93 percent of people with low back pain had an average of six visits of physical therapy under the McKenzie Method vs. an average of 40 visits with chiropractic for the same results, saving patients time and money.

Zettergren is one of only 400 people worldwide and the first physical therapist in Connecticut to complete a fellowship program at the McKenzie Institute. As leaders in spine care, post-surgical rehabilitation and sports medicine, Zettergren said his center is also the only clinic in Connecticut with the REPEX 2 table, which was designed by the founder of the McKenzie Institute and is a key element in treating pain.

“The REPEX 2 table enhances the effectiveness of repeated, slow movement of the spine, which relieves your pain and speeds recovery,” Zettergren said. “The key is to restore as much motion as you can, especially if you’re a young person. Once you figure out the direction a patient needs to flex or extend, the table will allow them to do 200 or so repetitions so they can get to the end range of their movement of their spine.

“A lot of people don’t get to that range exercising on their own. If you don’t move it to that end range, you’re going to lose that motion.”

The therapist and business owner is quick to differentiate the McKenzie Method from chiropractic, saying that the McKenzie Method is research-based and evidence-based therapy with the science to back it up as one of the most effective forms of treatment available to those with mechanical back pain.

“We can assess patients and determine what treatment suits them best,” Zettergren said. “It’s called directional preference and that is the key to successful treatment.

“Back when I first started school therapists were just giving patients exercises to do at home. A monkey can do that. That’s why most of the people with mechanical back pain don’t get better with traditional physical or generic PT clinics.

“Some patients need to be moved in a forward position or extended position or a combination of both. That’s what a physical therapist has to do: You have to use your brain. There is not a cookie-cutter recipe.”

The Physical Therapy Center is located at 72 Pine St. For information, call (860) 85-5800 or visit For more information on the McKenzie Method, visit

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