This website provides evidence-based information and quality products that help to prevent and rehabilitate back pain. All back pain has a cause. Professor McGill dedicated 32 years to investigating how the spine works, the mechanisms of pain, and proven ways to eliminate pain and restore pain-free activity.
The key to pain-free activity is to assess the pain mechanism and employ a matched therapy. Some pain sufferers can perform this themselves with guidance from the book Back Mechanic. Others are more challenging and obtain clinical expertise from highly trained clinicians listed on the Master Clinicians page. Clinicians can also access Professor McGill’s latest books and videos that guide the assessment together with providing helpful information and rehabilitation approaches for pain-free activity and optimal back performance.
“As a physician myself there is no question in my mind that the McGill method should be the standard of care for all back pained patients.” ~ Read Our Latest Testimonials
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There are 4 books which are all different. Learn which book is best for you. Back Mechanic will guide you through self assessment then teach specific exercises like the McGill Big 3 matched to your specific pain. Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance (6th Edition-2017) gives the latest scientific evidence on back pain exercise – what helps, and what hurts, and why.
If sitting creates back discomfort you have a highly sensitized back, or tissue damage, or both. Avoiding this pain trigger will reduce the pain sensitivity. Avoidance of the pain triggers is part of the strategy to de-sensitize back pain throughout the day as evidenced in Back Mechanic.
Latest BackFitPro podcasts & interviews
Jordan Kilganon – professional basketball dunker
Stuart McGill is one of the most influential people I’ve ever met when it comes to my training. I still use and teach his methods years after learning them. Thanks to his teachings I went from disabling back pain to max effort and still have had zero issues with my back. This is amazing considering the amount of force going through my spine every time I jump.
I recommend anyone who has back issues or who’s interested in learning more about the body to check him out. Amazing stuff!
John Moulder-Brown, Pro Ski racer
As a professional alpine ski-racer, and my back took some big knocks. Then I began to suffer from lower back pain when studying to become a psychologist. Sitting for hours at a time my pain increased despite following guidance from highly regarded back specialists in London, England. I was afraid I may need surgery, as had been suggested to me as a possible intervention should things not improve. Thankfully, I was introduced to the “Back Mechanic” by Stuart McGill. Seriously, it’s one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. Game changer, simple as that. Thanks Stuart for back hygiene that works.
Patrick Pitlik, Professional fighter
“Being an athlete in 3 professional combat sports I have a long injury history but a back injury in 2016 was the worst. I saw many different physiotherapists and chiropractors. I did everything except rest. The minds a powerful tool and although I was in pain I managed to compete and continuously win even though I couldn’t walk upright properly. It wasn’t until my body finally had enough and for the first time I lost a professional fight. I sought out the best in the business Professor Stuart McGill feeling hopeful for the first time in years. Within 3 weeks the amount of pain subsided so much I couldn’t believe it – and I took another fight. I’m excited to make it back with dreams of making the UFC. I’m more than confident that with the help of Dr McGill I’ll make it!”
United States Special Operator
Dr. McGill is single-handedly the reason I am operational today. Stu walked me step by step from a severely herniated T12/L1 and L5/S1 where I could barely walk to literally having zero issues and being able to do more than I could even before the injury. I am now back to being fully operational and living life completely pain free! The best part is this is not a unique story for those that get the chance to work with Dr McGill!
Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI MVP, New York Giants
About 6 years ago, my lower back was giving me such severe problems to the point where I wondered if I could still keep working. Then somebody told me about Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill. I read it and incorporated the exercises in that book and it helped me get over my lower back pain. Even today, before every workout, I still continue to do the exercises at a minimum 4-5 days per week. I can’t thank this book enough!
Chris Duffin, Founder of Kabuki Strength and Record setting lifter
Dr McGills scientific work has proven instrumental in our movement preparation to improve performance, create more robust athletes, and so critical in the return-to-play portion of the rehabilitation process for back injured athletes. In fact my Guinness world record deadlift of 1001 lbs was competed after incurring disc injuries early in my career that I recovered from using his principals. Every athlete and coach needs to understand the foundational scientific approach McGill teaches.
Stan Efferding, Worlds Strongest IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Back Mechanic and Gift of Injury are as much about injury prevention and performance optimization as they are about rehabilitation. And they’re not just for athletes. The simple and effective methods provide immediate and permanent results for everyone experiencing pain. Dr. McGill and Brian Carroll are changing lives – mine included.
Matt “the Immortal” Brown, UFC veteran
After injuring my back in 2013 I searched for the best doctors and info to help me get back in to fight shape. I spoke to many doctors, tried many methods and read tons of books. None of it really got me over the hump until I came across Dr. McGills books. Since then I have studied Dr. McGills writings and I’ve been fortunate enough to work him in person also. There is not a single person that would attribute my back relief to more than Dr. McGill. My back and core feel stronger and more resilient than ever before.
Chris Como, coach of PGA players such as Tiger Woods and many others
I have used the teachings of professor McGill to assist top golfers to hit further for longer. His principles to enhance back fitness are well validated with the athlete careers he restores.
Rob King ~ Competitive PowerLifter
I can’t say enough positive things about what I have learned from Dr. McGill. For 10+ years I was injured and broken from a back injury. This set back my training and put my life on hold. I could not lift do any heavy activity. I thought I was done.
After meeting Dr. McGill and applying his approaches I was able to re-build my back and get back to competitive PowerLifting which I was told was impossible.
So much for that.
I have competed for Team Canada 9 times, set a National Squat Record, A CommonWealth deadlift record and won 2 Worlds Medals (in squat and deadlift). All of this after hurting my back
UPDATE: Three medals at the world masters games in South Africa, October, 2019.
Rob King, Canada
Elena Bovina ~ Pro tennis player
As a pro tennis player, back pain was ending my career. I was told I needed surgery. Professor Stuart McGill and his book Back Mechanic got me back to functioning at 100%, his method is truly a miracle. After meeting with Dr. McGill and starting my rehab following his method, I quickly felt an improvement with my pain symptoms as my core became stronger and my spine more protected. He also taught me new biomechanics for my back to get rid of the fragile feeling and my pain. And I was able to return to tennis competition, something I couldn’t dream of happening! He had no doubts in my successful recovery and made me believe in it too!
Ted Kerasote, Wyoming, USA (Author of some of my favourite books)
After seeing Prof McGill my back has been excellent. His advice, my continuing the Big 3 core exercises, and using the auto mechanic’s stool for my desk have brought about a profound change in my comfort and ability to resume the things I love to do, like hike, ski, and write for long hours. Advice on recuperating from my lower back surgery was also invaluable.
From not being able to walk more than ten minutes without numbness in my right quad (and having to stop and find a convenient rock or bench to hang from), I’ve gone to hiking more than six hours at a stretch while carrying a 25-pound hunting pack and climbing and descending a thousand meters. I’m thrilled. Thank you! Thank you!
I’ve been recommending Back Mechanic left and right.
(Photo by Heather Erson)
Andy Bolton ~ First man to deadlift 1000 pounds, UK
After being the first to pull a 1000 pound deadlift I found myself struggling after some back and health issues. The pain caused me to loose hip and back power. Stuart McGill and his books showed me the way to rebuild a foundation to train then unleash my hips to regain training ability. I am grateful – thank you.
Michael De La Pava ~ Strongman competitor and Owner The Battle Axe Gym, Florida
To Brian Carroll and Professor McGill
I wanted to send you this video to thank you. Having worked with yourself and Brian and implementing the ideas and principles that you instilled in my training and coaching, has absolutely changed my life. Here I am log clean and pressing 300 pounds after starting “Back Mechanic” and “10/20 life”, 21 months ago.. after being told I would never overcome my devastating back injury. Thank you for everything.
Ethan Bowman, North Dakota State Champion wrestler
Thank You Dr Ed Cambridge (McGill Method Master Clinician)
This last weekend Ethan punched his ticket as a ND state champion. We want to thank you for your professionalism and very kind and generous heart, you gave up and above what any Doctor would have given. My wife and I along with Ethan want to thank you for a job well done.
Howard M. Armitage ~ World champion
This week I won 75+ age division at the World Masters Squash competition. This would not have been possible if I hadn’t had the good fortune of encountering Dr Stuart McGill. Having previously broken my back twice, I had reached a stage of desperation characterized by constant pain, utter fatigue, inability to sleep and an almost total loss of quality of life. Visits to GP’s, specialists, chiropractors and physiotherapists were not helping and actually making my symptoms worse. Opioids and surgery were on my horizon (when faced with constant pain, you are willing to try anything). At that point, I was able to get an appointment with Stuart McGill, a renowned lower back expert at the University of Waterloo who was treating professional athletes for various types of serious back issues.
The rest is history. I went from someone who couldn’t sleep, couldn’t walk, couldn’t smile, and who couldn’t think of anything other than pain to someone who began to walk again, smile again, bicycle again and, unbelievably, to start playing squash again. So this first thank you is to you, Stu, for your dedication to science and for making me whole again. As you know, I have since become a McGill disciple whenever I see or hear of someone with lower back pain.
Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman of Strongfirst / Author of Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Back Mechanic by Prof. McGill is an instant classic. An incredibly detailed—yet free from medical jargon—manual for keeping your back strong and healthy. Plus a wealth of knowledge for athletes looking for a performance edge.
US Army Ranger, 2018
First I want to say thank you for sharing your story in your book Gift of Injury. I was in Texas a few months ago, and Ed Coan told me to read your book. It has given me a new outlook and helped me get back on track. On top of being a powerlifter, I am a 22 year still serving Army Ranger that has been jumping out of planes since 1996.
My spine has endured a lot of impacts. In the last few years, I have slowly gotten worse and got to the point of giving in to the medical professional of looking at getting cut or even being medically boarded out of the Army. I was looking for answers and solutions, and none was there but ones that make me live a life that was not what I wanted.
Eight months of Physical Therapy with direct attention from the doctor did nothing. Following your plan, o vernight my pain was put in check, reduced immensely, my back felt relaxed and not like I was one move away from getting a major surgery. Life feels better once again. I am religious about doing my Big 3 twice daily and getting my walks in. I started lifting again and has got back on track after taking months off. I thank you (ed: Brian Carroll) and Dr. McGill for this.
Bill Parisi / Director of the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association
“Dr. Stuart McGill has performed more ground-breaking research than anyone else. His 350+ published studies on back pain and enhancing performance has revolutionized the fitness industry on how we train the core and create top level performance. His books and programs have been life changing for me, my athletes and anyone I share his information with. And it will be life changing for you as well!”
Blaine Sumner / “Champion of Champions” IPF world record holder and highest Wilks score in powerlifting history
Before understanding Dr. McGill’s work, I thought my back injury meant the end of my lifting career. Since absorbing all of his knowledge and applying the lessons in this book to my daily life, my career has been restored. I am stronger than ever – and taking my back health to new heights.
Cathryn Jakobson Ramin / American journalist, investigative reporter, and author.
Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, in her back pain industry expose book “Crooked”, calls Professor McGill a “Back Whisperer” with his approaches proved to help so many.
Ed O’Neill / Actor and Star of “Modern Family” and “Married with Children”
“I had low back problems affecting my ability to work and enjoy life. Then I found Stuart McGill and his book Back Mechanic. I was guided on things to do (and not do) and my pain is gone. Professor McGill just makes sense. And he backs it up with science not guess work. I’m giving him and his book Back Mechanic the highest recommendation.”
Coach Lee Povey ~ Masters cycling champion (UK and USA)
Just wanted to say a big Thank You! After following your advice from when I came and visited you I am now in no pain and able to train consistently and under full loads. It was tough taking nearly a year off the bike but ultimately very worth it. This year at the age of 45 I set life time best’s in the 200m TT and won both the British and US Masters national 45 plus match sprint titles.