Nigel P. – England

Professor Stuart Mcgill

I saw you at a seminar in Manchester and you had me up on the couch and manipulated me a little, in front of the group! I was suffering from back pain and sciatica; I had seen various doctors and they recommended a surgical procedure l4/5 discectomy/laminectoy you may remember that every doctor and surgeon suggested I take Pilates and yoga to help with “flexibility” I did this and attended along with regular gym sessions for 7 years; until I could put up with the pain no more! At this point in time I had tried it all herbal healing, candle therapy hypnosis, lumbar injections (ouch they really hurt and caused more pain) physios I have seen about 20 different ones osteopaths even spiritual healing of course they had little to no effect. Actually some eased the pain but only for a few hours I now find they were stretching my stretch receptors, and possibly doing more damage.

I agreed to the operation and came round in terrible pain! the day after the operation they sent me home more drugged up than before! The next day I collapsed at home unable to fight off the pain anymore and combined with the lack of sleep; I was admitted back in hospital where they seem to be quite insistent I sat up a lot and pulled me to a seated position! (double ouch!)This caused more pain and even crunching in my back. Anyway after some searching and recommendations from friends and the internet; I found your books and read them cover to cover! although they are not aimed at a layman they cemented into my mind something that I constantly kept asking “what actually caused the problem”. I re-saw the surgeon who changed his comments from 90% reduction in pain to “oh we thought it would work, but you need keep supple!”

WHAT HAS CAUSED THE PAIN then I thought and the disc to bulge surely an operation is treating the symptoms and not the cause! Your books said to me; Treat the cause! As a layman it wasn’t the most easiest bedtime reading, I was so bad I couldn’t attend work and so depressed; but I read both books again and started trying to do some exercises.

Back to Manchester then: I had a referral to see you and I spoke about seeing you in Canada and you said I didn’t need to and when I was on the couch in front of the other trainees actually turn off the pain! although as you said it wouldn’t last (it stayed off for about 20-30 mins then slowly crept back) you said seek out Joel poroskewitz in London. Well for me Its about a 5 hour drive, although not as far as Canada (my doctor advised me against travel to Canada or London so I Ignored him) and down I went to see Joel as you suggested! I attended a session with him about 2 and a half hours he studied me sitting standing walking and asked about pain. With Joels help went through the whole sorry process about my treatment (or lack of it and the misguided advice of “professionals”)

Joel looked at the exercises I had started (these were from your book but also though a trial and error; I was trying exercises to help strengthen my core; and if after a week it didn’t cause pain then I would include it in my exercise plan; and slowly I built up a “program” of exercises. Joel studied these and made some suggestions; some were mealy small tweaks to what I was doing, like pull down with the lats make sure the core is engaged BEFORE doing this etc some exercises he said were not good for me and decided to scrap them, saying they are good excersises but not good for you at this present moment we need to stabilise first. Over time we honed and tweaked the exercises, as I was seeing results I was more eager to continue, Of course regular walks were prescribed and I had found these very helpful, along with various stretches during and after sitting.

Joel explained it would take time and no immediate effects may be felt; but I should “stick with it”, so I did! and slowly the pain died down or eased, however because the surgeon had removed a large part of the disk and didn’t perform a fusion my back was very unstable; he said he hadn’t fused my back as this was “outdated”! according to him! So an incorrect movement on my part would immediately cause pain as I could feel my back moving and “clunking”, Joel worked with me suggesting ways to think about my job and how I would pick things up; how I turn to get out the car etc all to reduce movement and to stop me from further pain. And now coming from a morphine zombie! Almost to someone on over the counter pain killers (of course I am addicted to some tablets and had to reduce them very slowly).

Today I can move more freely and do most of the things I need to do. I walk regularly and do the exercises and listen to Joes advice about doing them correctly rather than just doing them, I found concentration is the key! and I found that doing them with the radio or TV on breaks that concentration; you need to be 100% focused on what is actually happening to your body not just merely “do the routine” even if this is just standing up or raising an arm. I now approach even a dropped pan like an Olympic athlete, forcing myself to stop and avoid flexion, sometimes its not easy. SO Joel has picked up on things that other people missed or even dismissed! And even during our sessions he is noticing small movements in the exercises and constantly tweaking and getting me to think more about what is happening as I move. Thanks for putting me in touch with Joel instead of saying I should come to see you in Canada! and of course thanks for the work you and your team a doing. (in spite of opposition from other “professionals”.