About Professor Stuart McGill
Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a “distinguished professor emeritus”, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 30 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance. His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts, medical groups and elite athletes and teams from around the world.
His work produced over 245 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, several textbooks, and many international awards including the “Order of Canada” in 2020 for leadership in the back pain area. He mentored over 37 graduate students during this scientific journey.
During this time he taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in professional development and continuing education courses around the world.
He continues as the Chief Scientific Officer for Backfitpro Inc. Difficult back cases, and elite performers, are regularly referred to him for consultation. Any product associated with this website has been tested in Dr. McGill’s laboratory.
When an “expert witness” is recruited for testimony in a legal case, the supporting lawyers present the credentials of the witness, which are examined by the court to assess the experts opinions. In this context, here are the credentials of Professor McGill:
Ph.D. (Kinesiology (Biomechanics))
University of Waterloo, 1986
M.Sc. (Kinanthropology (Biomechanics))
University of Ottawa, 1982
BPHE, University of Toronto, 1980
40 years investigating how the spine works, pain mechanisms, rehabilitation approaches and restoration of athletic performance for back injured athletes (occupational and sport)
32 Book Chapters
248 Refereed scientific/medical journal papers
181 Refereed Conference papers
32 Technical consulting reports
2020 – Order of Canada, Citation: A leading authority on the biomechanics of the spine, Professor Emeritus Stuart McGill is recognized as an innovator in the treatment of back pain. His investigations of injury and pain mechanisms together with developing clinical assessment techniques have influenced clinicians and athletes worldwide. As a consultant, he has provided invaluable input to a number of rehabilitation programs, sport and government organizations, and has been a mentor to many.
2018 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Weight Training Injury Specialists
2017 – Licht Lecture, University of Minnesota School of Medicine.
2016 – Best fitness articles of 2016 in PTDC.com (Personal Trainers Development Centre). A Trainer’s Guide to Help Manage and Fix Lower Back Pain.
2016 – Basic Research Paper Award for 2015, Global Spine Journal, “Annulus Fibrosus Can Strip Hyaline Cartilage End Plate from Subchondral Bone: A Study of the Intervertebral Disk in Tension”
2016 – The 2016 Liberty Mutual Award, Top paper published in Ergonomics for the year “Can fitness and movement quality prevent back injury in elite task force police officers? A 5-year longitudinal study.”
2015 – Fellow: Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS)
2013 – Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, University of Waterloo
2013 – Top Presentation Award (Sidorkewicz, Cambridge, McGill), Int Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine, Phoenix USA
2013 – Top Poster Presentation Ontario Kinesiology Association (Sidorkewicz, Cambridge, McGill)
2010 – Research Excellence Award, Ontario Kinesiology Association
2010 – Appointed “University Professor” at University of Waterloo- one of 14 active professors university-wide. “To recognize exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence of UW’s most accomplished faculty members.”
2009 – Appointed by the Minister of Health to form the College of Kinesiology for professional practice
2009 – Listed in Global Directory of Who’s Who
2009 – Best Presentation Award, International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine, Miami, USA
2008 – President’s Award, Ontario Kinesiology Association
2008 – Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo
2007 – Awarded designation “Speaker of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada”
2005 – Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo
2005 – R. Tait McKenzie Award, AAPHERD, USA
2004 – Elected Fellow, Canadian Society for Biomechanics
2004 – Career Award: Canadian Society for Biomechanics
2002 – “Richard W. Stow Visiting Lectureship”, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Department of Phys. Med. And Rehab.
2002 – “Presidents Circle Lecture for 2002”, University of Waterloo
2002 – Hallman Professorship – University of Waterloo
2002 – “Inaugural Professor”, Opened the first Masters in Physical Therapy Program in Portugal, Technical University of Lisbon.
2001 – “Steven Rose Lecturer”, Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy, St. Louis, U.S.A.
2001 – “President’s Lecturer”, American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, U.S.A.
2001 – Ontario Innovation Trust Award – for the “Live Fire Research Facility” P.I. Dr. E. Weckman, with Drs. A. Strong, D. Johnson, M. Sharratt, R. Hughson and S. McGill.
1998 – Wood Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in Joint Injury Research, Dept. of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
1997 – EJ Wells Bequest Lecturer – University of Queensland, Australia
1989 – 3M Award for Presentation Excellence (top paper – Human Factors Association of Canada)
1988 – Listed in Canadian Who’s Who
1986 – Volvo Bioengineering Award for Low Back Pain Research (International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine)
1986 – Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal (top graduating Ph.D. student, university-wide)
1986 – Julian Christensen Award for Ph.D. level ergonomics research (Human Factors Association of Canada)
1985-1986 – University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship
1983-84/1984-85 – NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship
1983-84, 1984-85 – Ontario Graduate Scholarship
1982 – University of Waterloo Entrance Scholarship
1978-1979 – Alumni Prize, University of Toronto (top male student in class)
Keynote addresses = >75
Other invited addresses = 550 plus
190 to Scholarly societies and groups
290 to professional groups
70 to University groups
Self-initiated addresses = 150 plus
What People Say
When I met with Dr. McGill after suffering a debilitating lower back injury (multiple herniated and bulge discs) I had gone from a two time national champ and silver medalist at IPF worlds to someone who could barely do anything without pain. I was worried that I’d have to retire from powerlifting entirely. Dr. McGill assured me that there was a path back to being pain free. He gave me an assessment and came up with an initial plan to build back my resilience. It was a very long road and there were numerous setbacks, but 7 years later I returned to IPF Worlds as a Masters lifter to win the overall gold medal, accomplishing a life long dream that I previously thought had escaped me.
Layne Norton ~ Gold medalist International Powerlifting Federation, 2022
As a Master Athlete competing internationally in the Sport of Long Drive Golf, my spine had to be managed strategically over the years.
I’ve invested a lifetime in research on Spine Performance, Longevity and Recovery. I’ve read every book, and been honored to not only teach these researched strategies, but LIVE them as an Internationally ranked athlete in my 60’s. Dr. McGill and the McGill Method is one of my greatest secrets! It simply works!
GOLF WEEK Magazine named Lee “the Legend of sport of Women’s Long Drive”
Lee Brandon ~ 3 Time World Long Drive Champion
‘It was a fight’: After battling life-threatening infection, Jeff Overton returns to Tour 5 years later Golf.com
After being on the PGA Tour from 2005 to 2017, I had a spine injection intended to help a herniated disc but instead led to a life-threatening infection and emergency surgery. After one failed rehab attempt I reached out to Dr. Stuart McGill, a renowned professor of spine biomechanics, and developed a plan to “shut down golf training for a year” and stabilize the area of his back that caused excruciating pain while bending over. Then I worked with trainer Shane Rye on building golf flexibility and endurance to re-establish my golf game. Jeff played his first PGA Tour start this past week (July 2022)
Jeff Overton ~ PGA Golf Professional
After 19 seasons in the NHL my body and back benefitted from Back Mechanic and Prof McGill’s approaches. I am back to enjoying life. Adam Oates, 1,079 career assists, over 19 seasons are the 8th most by a player in NHL history.
Adam Oates – NHL Hockey Player
I have been competing in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting for over twenty four years, I had three knee surgeries, multiple back injuries, and took a cocktail of pills for a decade starting in high school in order to compete. Almost ten years ago I learned of BackFitPro and changed the way I operated, eliminated all the pills, eliminated sit-ups and crunches and began rehabilitating myself with a focus on the core and glutes. These changes have resulted in winning championships, representing Team USA and currently having multiple American records in my mid 30s.
Derrick Johnson – President and Founder of The Kings of Weightlifting, Weightlifting Champion, American Record Holder
The book Back Mechanic completely altered the course of my athletic career, and inherently my life. Mondays are Jiu Jitsu days. Usually, on Monday nights, I would experience crippling post Jiu Jitsu back pain, and often have an incredibly difficult time sleeping. This pain would persist through Wednesday, which is another Jiu Jitsu day, thus leading to Thursday being even more horribly unbearable than Tuesday was. If I needed to do yard work on Saturday, I’d have shooting nerve pain down my leg on Sunday… which is another Jiu Jitsu day, that I would never be healthy enough to attend. The pain is gone. I have reclaimed my training. I’m doing crazier stuff now in BJJ than I’ve ever done.
Trav from Fightsmart.com
When I saw Professor McGill, I was feeling frustrated, defeated and burned out after having dealt with numerous rib fractures and little to no guidance or support. Not only did he help me tremendously in understanding proper mechanics and where my weak spots were, but he helped me continue to row pain free and elongate my career. He’s truly a game changer!
Taylor Ritzel, Olympic games Gold Medalist
I am excited to tell you I rode a horse today near Moran, WY. I wish I could truly express my emotions but can’t. I am most grateful for your help, and your book, Back Mechanic. Thank you again for helping me restore my health to as best as can be.
Rachel Kemner, Rancher
After many years of abusing my spine with aggressive weight lifting, my back pain started to become intolerable. All my attempts to successfully get out of pain were all short lived and futile in the end. As I was running out of options, I contacted Professor McGill. Stu was able to precisely figure out what was causing my pain, and helped me devise a long term strategic plan to stay out of pain and rebuild my training capacity. Truly resting my inner warrior to allow mother nature to do its healing was one of the most difficult things for me to hear, but it was true. Thank you Stu for all your wisdom and guidance.
David Laid, Fitness Personality
Professor McGill is a brilliant clinician. After a disc herniation and a year of pain and sciatica, he identified my issue and explained it in straightforward language. As an opera singer, my back, lungs and core are the keys to my vocal power and stamina. Professor McGill helped me to practice better mechanics both in singing and in life while also creating a training program. He helped get me back onstage, singing and moving freely and painlessly. I’ve recommended ‘Back Mechanic’ to singers, instrumentalists and coaches, too. Grazie, Professor!
Lucia Cesaroni, Opera Singer
The McGill Method has changed my life. I suffered with back pain for so long that I feared it would be a life sentence. I had stopped doing almost all the things that I loved. But Backfitpro gave me the tools and education to build a better version of myself. I’m back to being healthy, happy and pain-free for the first time in 30 years. I share the lessons with all my students. I can’t recommend the McGill Method enough. To me, it has been a miracle.
John David Emmett, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
Thanks for your guidance in getting me back to the CrossFit games. The exercises and spine hygiene you provided really were a game changer. I was able to compete 95% pain free which I thought was impossible a few months ago. We finished 5th in the world and I am certain this would not have been possible without your help. Thank you so much for your time and guidance, you really are the “back mechanic”.