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