“Throughout the last 5 years of suffering back pain I have never received a personalized specific assessment of my back pain. All my visits and attempts at rehabilitation through other PTs and chiropractors in my area always led to short assessments and a blanket assignment of exercises (usually in the form of brochures) to perform. After coming across Stuart McGill and reading the “Back Mechanic” I came to understand that all back pain is specific and specific pain requires specific interventions. Reading the “Back Mechanic” was incredibly beneficial and had led me to understand my back better than I had in my previous 5 years. Although the book walks you through an assessment, I still felt that the help of someone who was trained by McGill would leave no doubt in my mind that I was performing things correctly and was on the best route to success in recovering from pain. In search for someone that could help me, I came across Dr. Tiltmann – who was able to provide me exactly that.
Dr. Tiltmann answered every question I had and did not mind going slightly beyond the allotted 3 hours to make sure that I was able to ask questions to thoroughly understand the assessment.
Dr. Tiltmann is incredibly knowledgeable about chronic back pain and can explain the details very effectively. I highly recommend Dr. Tiltmann to anyone suffering from chronic back pain as it really sets you on your path to recovery. Reading the “Back Mechanic” and seeing Dr. Tiltmann gave me both hope and confidence in the recovery that is to follow.”
McGill Method Testimonial for Low Back Pain
Athletic 38 year old male patient with acute onset low back pain with history of sciatica the prior year.
I was incredibly impressed with the McGill Method Assessment, in particular the time and care Dr. Tiltmann took in discussing my background and performing the examination. Dr. Tiltmann was able to provide me with the most comprehensive assessment of pain triggers and areas of instability I had received.
Other doctors I had visited only looked at one aspect of my situation… I had a million questions and the structure of the McGill Method assessment, conducted over three hours, allowed me the time to receive answers. As a result, I feel like I have a solid plan towards recovery that is built around the McGill Big Three and other exercises tailored to my specific issues, while understanding movements that would likely cause me pain. I have since recommended the McGill Method Assessment to a close friend suffering for over a year from back pain. This type of assessment – detailed, not rushed, and specifically tailored to the individual patient- is exactly how medical consultations should always be conducted.
“Hello Kai, Already I have a huge improvement! I am no longer waking up with debilitating aches and pains. I think my biggest problem was stretching and not understanding a neutral spine. I want to refer my dad to you, he lives in Sacramento. Thank you again ~ Mark.”
“My initial assessment with Dr. Tiltmann was fantastic. Up until meeting with him, I felt confused, frustrated, and discouraged about my situation to say the least. However, after several hours meeting with Dr. Tiltmann, I felt for the first time in 4 years that I had an accurate, no nonsense diagnosis of what was causing my pain. I also know that I now have the necessary knowledge and tools in order to truly become pain-free! I sincerely appreciated the fact that Dr. Tiltmann cared about me as a person, and did not treat me as merely a billable entity. He had great attention to detail, and was willing to be candid with me on my likely path to recovery. There’s no doubt about it, having chronic back pain is brutal and takes hard work to recover from. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, Dr. Tiltmann has the expertise in order to maximize the results of your effort.” ~ Ben from Arizona
“In his meeting with me, Dr. Tiltmann initially took a lot of time to explain back problems and how they may develop. We from there began to understand mine and I learned for the first time in 1.5 years working with various specialists that it wasn’t just one “freak accident.” This was incredibly reassuring and helped me understand my body in a whole different way. It took a long time to get this way and will take a long time to heal too.
We came up with creative ways to address my sitting posture (feet don’t reach the floor in chairs) in the short and long term. From there Dr. Tiltmann engaged in a thorough exam that I have never had to determine my levels of pain, abilities to move, and triggers. This also proved helpful and insightful.
Finally he was most patient with me in working on the exercises which were so new, I needed some repetition to get the form right. He insisted we get it right and I could tell was personally invested in my well being. I look forward to implementing Back Mechanic techniques and have seen significant improvement in my morning (worst) pain already.
I have sung your and Dr. Tiltman’s praises to anyone who will listen. I am going to wait several months to see how I improve and then publicly and formally with struggling clients of my own, will make some referrals.”
“This was the most thorough examination I have ever received over the course of visiting over 30 other medical professionals including PT, Chiro, Massage, Ortho, Spinal Specialists, Podiatrists etc. The report detailed every aspect of the entire appointment and has been a useful reference throughout the ongoing process.
Dr. Tiltmann identified all of my pain triggers. Before seeing him, I was beginning to finally notice some of them myself, however, he determined even more than I was unaware of. He helped me find positions that alleviated my symptoms in the same way, but finding more than I had found myself. I developed a much better understanding of my specific conditions and the requirements for recovery.
Dr. Tiltmann cleared every sense of confusion about my circumstances that I had developed over the preceding 2 years. He explained thoroughly and logically why I never found relief from every single doctor I had already been to. This in itself was a huge weight off my shoulders and gave me an incredible amount of much needed clarity.
I would recommend the McGill Method to anyone; even those who just recently had a back-related accident/injury.”
“I’m progressing very well! My core and back feel stronger and more stable than ever, and I haven’t had any episodes of spasming since my evaluation with you last June. I’ve certainly been very proactive in my recovery – religiously maintaining my big 3 and walking/hiking/jogging routine, which I think has been key. So, I would say my case has definitely been a very successful one, and your evaluation was the critical first step for me – thank you!!
I still can’t believe that my knee-to-chest back stretches were a significant pain trigger for me!
I was so addicted to my 2x a day knee-to-chest back stretches, and never thought I would actually THRIVE without them! This was a huge “lightbulb” for me, as was realizing that I had significant weakness in my core and key muscle groups that stabilize my back. Going through the “big three” with you was a critical learning process for me…I’m grateful to you for this!
I’ve already shared my success story and information about the McGill Method and your evaluation with my girlfriend and her young adult daughter, who has some back issues and has been considering surgery.
Thank you, again, for getting me on the path to a healthy back – one I honestly thought would never be possible for me!”
Andrew is a 51-year-old male with a 28-year history of chronic low back pain who suffered about 40 severe flare-ups since his low back injury in 1990.
I have never really felt like I have ever understood what was wrong with my back before seeing Dr. Tiltmann. Prior to making an appointment with him, I went to see my back specialist after having a flare up and being down on the couch for four weeks. I asked her, “What am I doing that is causing this?” My back specialist, who has been doing lumbar back care for 15 years, said, “If I had the answer to that, I would be retired. If I had the magic pill, I wouldn’t be here.” Lovely. My husband and I just looked at each other. Time for a new doctor. She then said she could give me another shot in my back and I said, “what for? So I can be here again in 3 months? No thanks.” It was at that point I went home and started scouring the internet and found the McGill Method. I feel like I am no longer playing a guessing game about when/if my back is going out. I understand my triggers now and do everything I can to avoid it. And if I start to feel things getting a bit off, I now know how to refocus my movements and (hopefully) avoid these major flare-ups.
It is so frustrating to have seen many doctors over 14-15 years and not one of them (chiropractors included) have ever done the type of examination Dr. Tiltmann did. Traditional doctors don’t treat the cause – they treat the symptoms. I felt that Dr. Tiltmann was looking for the cause — to understand my specific mechanics and hang ups and then help move to the next phase of movement instruction. I was absolutely amazed that all of my specialists never found in 15 years what he found in an hour of moving me around. He also corrected some misdiagnoses from my specialists.
It is worth its weight in gold. I can’t believe how simple being cognizant of our triggers and movements (when you know what those are) can change your life. I have spent countless hours being questioned by my co-workers about what I learned from Dr. Tiltmann and recommended him to a few of my family members and co-workers. I have also purchased a few additional copies of the Back Mechanics to give out. The McGill Method is life-changing. It is the only thing I have ever read that has made any logical sense. It has only been a couple of months, and I am so impressed with the changes I’ve seen in my back and the things I have been able to tolerate that had I done before I saw Dr. Tiltmann would have had me down for a few days. But, like with anything, you can’t be upset with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do. If you are dedicated – changes come. I will follow this program for the rest of my life.
Cortney of Oregon – 2019 Patient
My session with Dr. Kai Tiltmann in December 2018 was paramount to my improvement in back pain symptoms.
Dr. Tiltmann thoroughly took inventory of my back pain history, provided a thorough examination of my pain triggers and included detailed notes about our visit and next steps in a comprehensive report afterwards. Especially helpful were the videos we took during the session that provided physical cues for me to follow in daily movements and the Big 3.
The examination was helpful because when I did a self-assessment at home, I wasn’t exactly sure I was performing it correctly, and Dr. Tiltmann’s clarification and guidance gave me confidence that I was getting the information I needed to evaluate my pain triggers.
The advice he gave me deepened not only my understanding of the causes and mechanisms of my back pain, but also gave me valuable, practical advice on how to adopt movement patterns and recovery exercises that would aid in my recovery.
I felt that my session was extremely helpful and educational and I would certainly recommend. Dr. Tiltmann and the McGill assessment to friends and family.
John of California – 2019 patient
The exam/history of my back issues was far more thorough than any I had ever experienced. The coaching made me feel empowered to be able to improve, rather than a victim of unchangeable circumstance. Eliciting the pain triggers was performed gently and no more than needed. Dr. Tiltmann’s explanations were very clear and enlightening, as many of the exercises and stretches I was doing to “help” my situation were actually aggravating it. Dr. Tiltmann communicates clearly and answers questions for the layperson helpfully but not condescendingly. I would highly recommend this assessment/protocol. While at first blush it might appear expensive, it is indeed a good value for the very thorough and personalized approach to the road to recovery. This is not for people looking for an instant magic bullet, but if one is willing to employ the protocol, improvement will follow! As a bonus, Dr. Tiltmann has a very pleasant bedside manner, which is really nice for people in pain.
Dana of California – 2018 patient
I tell everyone that will listen to me how great your approach and the McGill method was and that it made a huge difference so I’d be happy to provide some feedback. Sadly it seems impossible to get people with orthopedic backgrounds to listen…
I was very impressed by how thorough the approach was and how much time you invested in the examination and diagnostic portion. The contrast to traditional PT and orthopedic appointments, which follow a very strict and hurried process, was evident. You had a diagnostic flow you were clearly following but were happy to collect more evidence and go where it took you rather than a fixed outcome you were trying to justify as quickly as possible.
I learned a lot in the pain trigger portion, it was probably one of the most valuable portions of the session, as I had not previously known I was compression sensitive. The manual exam also correctly identified that I’m starting to have some problems up around T12/ L1 that I’ve become more aware of over time. I believe this is likely due to trying to limit lumbar flexion and having to make it up elsewhere in the spine along with twisting to the right to bend over to avoid straining the left side.
Although I was initially skeptical that some basic ‘spine hygiene’ steps such as modifying how I get up could make much difference it absolutely did. I would say learning to stop aggravating my back was the biggest outcome of the session we had and although it was the portion I enjoyed the least during our session it was the most impactful.
Alex of Washington, DC – 2018 patient
I want to express my thanks for your service in treating my lower back pain. I had struggled with increasing pain over the last four years, beginning at the age of 25. Then, several months ago, the pain escalated to the point that I had to give up most every physical activity that brought me pleasure and meaning.
When I reached out to your office, I was desperate. I’d heard of the McGill method but had lost confidence in most treatments. I had tried acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy, and two different spinal injections – all to no relief. But meeting you and working with you in the McGill method gave me hope. You were the first provider who took the time to really listen to my story and explore the many possible causes of the pain. The method you provided me, including education and instructions for exercise, was comprehensive and plain old ‘made sense’ to me.
I left our session feeling hopeful and prepared to face the recovery period ahead. I can say now that when I follow your treatment plan, the pain decreases.
Thank you for helping me at a time when I was truly down and out. I will quickly recommend you to anyone I know who is struggling with worsening back pain.
Cameron of California – 2018 patient
My experience has been remarkable! As Dr. Kai knows I am a corrective exercise specialist/FMS and have been in the fitness industry since 1989. I am TPI level 3 with mentors like Greg Rose and Gray Cook. I have studied under Paul Chek and really thought I was on the leading edge of being able to help people who came in with back pain. The problem was I wasn’t able to “fix” my own. I was extremely active in many outdoor sports and now barely being able to get through my daily activities (working, cooking, sleeping etc.)
I was constantly searching and came across Stuart’s books and ordered them. I immediately started the big 3. I then found Dr. Kai, who really gave me the answers I had been searching for.
Dr. Kai gave me a full assessment, which I know is necessary to get the appropriate information needed and NO doctors know how to properly assess! He really listened to my history and went over what he saw on the MRI’s. I knew that my pain may have nothing to do with what the image said, but I didn’t know what else it could be.
That is where Dr. Kai really, really helped me. I have known that you need to be mindful of how you move, but not like he described it to me. He said, carry yourself as if you have just had back surgery. That was an eye opener. The year before I had a labral hip repair done, because they said the dysfunctional hip was causing my back pain. In hindsight I was most likely over stretching the Psoas and everything else.
Kai told me to STOP stretching. I hadn’t stretched my hamstrings in a long time, but stop the rest?? It was completely opposite of what I felt my body needed. He was so sure that this would work and I would be pain free if I followed the protocols. I left feeling like I had hope. I did exactly what he prescribed, no more, which is usually my thought process. Day by day I started feeling better.
I am just about 1 year out and I am doing really good. Some days 100% pain free. I was in a lot of pain 24/7. Days that I am sore I know that my mechanics were off and I got lazy, or had a really bad golf swing that day.
Dr. Kai was great. I have given his name out to many people that have been told they need surgery. He has the demeanor and obviously the knowledge to let his patients know that they will get better. There was never a “this might work” attitude. It was you are going to get better and will be fine if you follow this correctly. I trusted him. I don’t trust traditional doctors.
I had seen many of the top people in the country who are functional movement specialist. I traveled all over the place looking for answers. Dr. Kai gave me those answers and I am ever so grateful for his knowledge and professionalism.
My husband and I are looking into doing some of Stuart’s courses. We have just read Crooked by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin. What a GREAT book. It reinforces why your work, works. That it is really, IMO the only way to get better. We encourage all of our clients to read it. It will lead them directly to professionals who understand what they are going through and can help them to get out of their pain. I am so thoroughly impress with Stuart McGill and grateful for his work.
Jeannine of California – 2018 patient
Dr. Tiltmann did a thorough examination of my past pain history and provided a comprehensive coaching session to help me move pain free.
During the examination Dr. Tiltmann was able to identify my specific pain triggers as well as pinpoint positions that allow me to alleviate the pain that comes with flare-ups.
I was able to learn more about my back and how it functions and why I am experiencing pain. Dr. Tiltmann was also able to help me understand why I can’t do things because of my anatomy that others can pain free (i.e. deep squat, deadlift, Olympic lift, etc.). This understanding has completely changed how I am going to approach training in the future when I am pain free.
Dr. Tiltmann was clear and concise and used terminology that a layperson such as myself could easily understand.
I would definitely recommend an assessment to someone that is suffering chronic low-back pain. Initially I was worried that I would not get the value from an assessment that I was looking for, especially after buying and studying “Back Mechanic”; however after the assessment I realized the things I learned are going to make a huge difference in my recovery, and that it was well worth the cost.
Robert of Utah – 2018 patient.
Thank you again for going above and beyond to provide such an amazing service. You were so thorough, kind, and considerate, and I would go as far to say that you changed my life!
My review of Dr. Tiltmann’s McGill Assessment experience
Dr. Tiltmann was incredibly accommodating from my first email with him. Even before my appointment, he wrote me an email offering to answer any of my questions about the McGill assessment. He even offered to have a phone conversation to address any of my concerns. As a clinician he goes above and beyond the efforts of every medical provider I’ve had to date. He reviewed my history, performed a thorough exam, and ended with a coaching session, which included a walk-through of how to do the McGill 3 in addition to other adjunct exercises. He videotaped me doing these movements and reviewed exactly if they were incorrect or correct. He identified my pain triggers as well as positions that alleviated my symptoms by going through a series of tests with me. He identified why my specific anatomy may not be suited for certain exercises and helped me understand what led to my back injury in the first place. All this information was consolidated into an understandable report that I could review after our session. Dr. Tiltmann extended our three-hour appointment to make sure I understood how to perform every movement on the worksheet he provided, and even after ALL that, made sure every single one of my questions was answered. No one has ever made such a huge time investment in my health.
After my experience I believe the McGill assessment is invaluable to chronic back pain sufferers. As an anesthesiology resident I often see patients so quickly turning to surgery for an answer to their suffering, which too often doesn’t solve the root of the problem. I think knowing that providers like Dr. Tiltmann are out there would be a great comfort to these types of patients. I will not hesitate to recommend him for that reason.
Caitlin of California – 2018 patient