The Ridgway Method (RM) is a thorough way of helping physiotherapists ‘problem solve’ the underlying cause or causes of your pain or injury. Developed by Michael Ridgway (Masters of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy), the RM has been gaining accolades for its approach and results since 2006. Michael is considered a leader in innovation within the Physiotherapy field.

The RM process assesses the ‘contributing factors’ for your condition, prioritises them and then demonstrates to you the results of the treatment within each session. Only physiotherapists who have been comprehensively trained in the RM can effectively diagnose and implement the treatment plans.

How is the Ridgway Method different

How is the RM different from a traditional physiotherapy approach?

The Ridgway Method is a comprehensive 7 step process that covers not only the diagnosis and treatment of your injury but explores, diagnoses and treats the wider factors that may have contributed to your injury in the first place.

The RM process:

  1. Assesses the ‘contributing factors’ for your condition
  2. Prioritises them in order of treatment
  3. Demonstrates to you the results of the treatment within each session.

Traditional physiotherapy looks to treat the causes of your current injury only.

What are the advantages of the Ridgeway Method

The RM aims is to facilitate bigger, faster and longer lasting results by: 

  • Using lateral thinking and objective problem solving
  • Providing a more thorough and comprehensive approach for injury and pain diagnosis and treatment
  • Minimising the chances of important factors being missed
  • Identifying treatment priorities
  • Utilising evidence based and results based practice on every condition with every visit
  • Treating all contributing factors in a holistic approach to your injury management
  • Providing a more individual approach to the care of your injury
  • Demonstrating to you the results of the treatment within each session
  • Aims to give you control over your condition so that you know how to prevent it from returning.

Some traditional physiotherapy treatments such as joint mobilisations, muscle releases, nerve releases and advanced exercises may still be part of your treatment. The RM allows us to tailor treatments to your condition with greater efficiency and holistic lateral thinking to obtain the best possible results in the quickest most effective way possible.

To find out more about the Ridgway Method ask to speak to Aaron or Bruce – Contact your local clinic:

Ridgway Method – Diagnosis

The RM of assessment and treatment involves a whole body assessment and then treatment testing to determining the primary contributing factor of your pain or injury. By identifying and treating this quickly we are able to achieve faster and longer lasting results for clients.

Ridgway Method diagnosis:

A diagnosis is the recognition of a condition by its outward signs and symptoms. A good diagnosis is helpful as this can be important information for guiding best treatment.

It is important to note that in musculoskeletal conditions a good diagnosis doesn’t necessarily relate to the underlying cause of the problem. Many people know their diagnosis, yet they continue to suffer because knowing the diagnosis often doesn’t directly indicate the best solution for the problem causing it.

Our team focuses on finding the underlying physiological cause; which is the factor that leads to a diagnosis. We do not let many common diagnoses such as arthritis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, muscle tears, a slipped disc or a pinched nerve get in the way of finding the underlying cause. We have found that these conditions can resolve quickly once the underlying cause is found.

Once the Primary Contributing Factor to your pain or injury is resolved, most clients will return to full pain free movement.

What is a Primary Contributing Factor

The Primary Contributing Factor (PCF) is the ‘structure in your body’ that, when treated, achieves your dramatic results. When the PCF is identified your recovery is accelerated. Most patients start to see dramatic results within 2 weeks.

Over the first few sessions we will be searching for areas in your body which may be contributing to your problem. Please note, being thorough at this stage, saves time in the long run.


It’s often possible to notice dramatic results in the first session. The RM problem solving process continues assessing until 30-50% improvement is made in each session. For most people, this means total recovery time is shorter. This means fewer total visits and lower overall cost. Once these results occur we outline a time-frame for recovery and indicate how many treatments sessions, and how rapidly you are likely to recovery fully. For the majority of conditions this is 2-8 sessions within 2 weeks.

Why don’t you ask me about my pain to solve the problem

The goal during a session is to demonstrate an improvement in your ability to do your everyday activities. Your Physiotherapist may ask you ‘What activities does this interfere with or stop you from doing?’ For example, maybe your pain or stiffness makes it difficult to turn your head to reverse the car or move your body through your golf swing. We may also ask you to rate how well you currently do the task – 60 per cent.

Please note: By bringing us a list of activities or movements you are having difficulty with that your pain, helps us understand the challenge you face and allows us to develop comprehensive treatment plans.

We may also ask you ‘What is a good result for you?’ Asking these questions often makes it easier for you to target your results and notice the improvements both during and after a session. Symptoms such as pain often continue to improve for up to 4 days after a treatment. During each session, your Physiotherapist will encourage you to move only to where it is comfortable.

Why are you sometimes not ‘treating’ the bit that hurts

The analogy we use here is the ‘sore bit’ is like the ‘warning light’ on the dash board of your car. Treating the ‘sore bit’ doesn’t always work that well in the long run any more than just covering up the warning light. We aim to ‘get under the hood’ and demonstrate to you that treating all the contributing factors improves your movement and your body function. The ‘warning light’ such as pain tends to turn off when the ‘engine’ is running well.

Why is an improvement of 85% so important

At 85% your condition is usually more stable and less aggravated by day to day activities. Therefore, this is where we want to get you as quickly as possible. We may ask you to return to see us quite quickly for the first few sessions. When you have improved to 85% it is usually ok to introduce more demanding activities and see us less often.

If, after your treatment has finished you happen to drop below the 85% mark, it is a good ‘trigger’ to come and see us for a ‘check up’ so we can get things back on track.

What exercise and activities can you do

Looking after your ‘Primary Contributing Factor’ is the best way to speed your recovery and prevent the problem from returning. We may ask you to modify some activities for a short time. Only in rare cases do we recommend short times of avoiding activity. In most cases we recommend you do as much activity as possible while doing your best to look after your Primary Contributing Factor – we show you how to do this. We aim to demonstrate how exercise improves your movement and your condition.

Does the Ridgway Method always work

We’re getting great results for the vast majority of our clients with this method. Where we don’t see rapid results or they aren’t maintained, it sometimes means we need to consider other options. For example, maybe we need imaging to check things out. Maybe a referral to a Medical Specialist might help? Some clients come in to trial a course of Physiotherapy before considering surgery.

Three or four treatments in less than one week is usually enough to know whether this process is going to achieve dramatic results for you. With traditional Physiotherapy getting to this stage often takes much longer (averaging two-three months).

Why is progress slower for me

We ask you to allow at least 3 to 4 session to assess whether the treatment is working for you. There are a few things that can slow progress a little. For example, some conditions have multiple contributing factors may take longer to find the cause. Other conditions occur at unpredictable times and are more challenging to demonstrate an improvement until after the session. We will let you know if any are likely to apply to you. These challenges are rare and are made clear to you if this is the case.

Are there any side effects

Is not unusual to feel some soreness or a bruised feeling around the treatment point. This is not damage, and at worst is usually superficial skin capillaries that may break and show a shallow bruise. Occasionally, clients have short term (a few minutes) responses such as slight dizziness or nausea as the area is treated. Some people report feeling a bit ‘washed out’ or tired following a session. These are all normal and temporary responses and sometimes part of dramatic improvements in conditions. Just let your Physiotherapist know if you experience any unusual symptoms. The key point to remember is that the worse a condition is, the more ‘reactive’ the underlying cause can be. Most people are so appreciative of having their underlying cause found – and dramatic results occur – that they welcome these side-effects as indicators of being on the best track for solving their condition.

To find out more about the Ridgway Method Ask to speak to Aaron or Bruce – Contact your local clinic: