Following a severe disc herniation at T12/L1 in 2016 I was forced to begin considering other less physically demanding jobs. I received injections, physical therapy and consultations with specialists but experienced no improvements in my back pain. Fortunately, I was then introduced to Dr. McGill and his methods and the trajectory of my rehab completely changed. After meeting with Dr. McGill and studying his literature, I was able to desensitize my nervous system, and begin appropriately loading my spine. Finally, though proper graded exposure, and several months of diligently following Dr. McGill’s protocol, I am now back to being fully operational and living life completely pain free!
United States Special Operator
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.
Stan Efferding, Worlds Strongest IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
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!
Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI MVP, New York Giants
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.
Chris Duffin, Founder of Kabuki Strength and Record setting lifter
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.
Matt “the Immortal” Brown, UFC veteran
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.
Chris Como, coach of PGA players such as Tiger Woods and many others
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
Rob King, Canada
Rob King ~ Competitive PowerLifter
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!
Elena Bovina ~ Pro tennis player
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.
Andy Bolton ~ First man to deadlift 1000 pounds, UK
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.
Coach Lee Povey ~ Masters cycling champion (UK and USA)
After seeing you my back has been excellent. All your advice, my continuing the Big 3 core exercises, and 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. Your 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)
Ted Kerasote, Wyoming, USA (Author of some of my favourite books)
I returned yesterday from a five day back packing trip in the Grand Canyon — 40 pound pack, from the rim to the river and back up (2000 meters) and many kilometers in between. Last year at this time I could not walk 20 meters without stopping because of the pain. I don’t believe in miracles but this sure feels like one. Thank you Professor McGill for your career work that changed my world and for your willingness to see me notwithstanding my original freeze at the starting gate. This was a most unusual kindness and act of grace.
D Duncan, Arizona, USA
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.
Michael De La Pava ~ Strongman competitor and Owner The Battle Axe Gym, Florida
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.
Ethan Bowman, North Dakota State Champion wrestler
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.
Howard M. Armitage ~ World champion
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.
US Army Ranger, 2018
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.
Cathryn Jakobson Ramin / American journalist, investigative reporter, and author.
“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.”
“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!”
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.
We have implemented many of your methods and have seen our back injuries decline from roughly $40,000 per claim to $10,000 per claim. Our overall injuries have dropped from roughly $1.2 mil to $750,000.”
Thank you again
I am a physician. I have never read a more straightforward and lucid book (Back Mechanic) on back injuries and how to manage them than yours. Thanks for the wonderful work you have done that has helped so many people, me included.
Ed V. MD
From a pain management doctor:
Have reviewed your material…Excellent. Really. Thanks.
The present healthcare system (esp. back pain management) makes me sick. Backs are lined up by the “pain” specialists and epidural steroids slammed in with great remuneration and little benefit. It is also completely UNauditable.
I have always believed that eventually the public will get the message…if they only spent as much time on researching their health as they do when buying a used car then the world would be a better place. However patients (in pain or otherwise) are only thinking with their brainstem.
I just have to thank you for all your amazing resources. After not being able to stand without pain and having to stop all my training, I did exactly as you recommended. I bought the Back Mechanic book and read it/practiced all the recommendations during my December offseason and I am back in action with my XXX Training for the tournament this coming November. I have to say that your Ultimate Back Revision 2 DVD was also very beneficial to further reinforce the concepts and assuring that I was practicing all the exercises and tests with proper form. Once again thanks for sharing your knowledge and helping me continue to do and practice what I love!
I’m sure that you know how much that I enjoyed today’s show! Thanks for having Doc McGill on. He was great as always. Think that I’m going to get his DVD. I have also discovered how much “stronger” you become with super stiffness. It’s truly amazing. BTW, you just keep raising the bar each week. Keep up the great work & have a great week-end!
Thanks for the reply, I didn’t expect to hear form the Dr. himself! From your description, it sounds like I’d enjoy both the new edition and the DVD. I’ll check them out. I was re-reading some of the Back Fitness book recently, and was delighted again at the quantity and the quality of the information. I’ve read many books on many kinds of fitness. I don’t think there’s another that does what it aims to do so well. It’s certainly more than just a “back” book. Thanks from a lifelong athlete and back-sufferer.
I received the new DVD several days ago. I think it rocks and it has already paid for itself, in my view. I am 60 years, really into self fitness, and would have made it my career, if I were smarter as a kid. I’ve done chins and pullups since I was 17 or 18 as a main upper body exercise. I have golfers and tennis elbow in both elbows since I was about 28 from, as near as I can tell, chins and pullups. I have tried everything from physical therapy, cold, hot, massage, cortisone, and blood plasma injections, pretty much to little or no avail. I watched your segment with Pavel about how to activate your back first and I could do a chin workout pain free – first time in I can’t remember when!
Very fine material,
Burt R. – USA
My wonderful wife blessed me for Father’s Day with your new DVD. Great piece of work and a good compliment to your first one. I certainly will give it a good plug on the Supertraining forum. I have been using bits of your last DVD to demo exercises for many of my more athletic patients, particularly my rugby players. I really appreciate your work as it adds the scientific credibility to what I have been teaching patients in our rehab programs beginning in 1981. I have based much of what I train patients on what I call the “olympic weightlifter” model. As a past competitor, coach and referee I know how to teach that very well. And all with great results. Just wanted you to know how much you have done for my level of confidence, i.e., that I have been on the right path.
Thank you for sending your wonderful DVD. I think that every athlete and coach should own it and learn the lessons you teach.
Dr Tom F. – USA
Dear Dr McGill,
I wanted to take the time to thank you for writing this wonderful book (Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance). I am a strength and conditioning coach. I don’t have a medical degree or any degree for that matter. But I do a lot of self studying and attend seminars as often as I can. I am dyslexic and as a result a very slow reader. Most the books I read to educate my self are painfully boring. But yours, I could not put down. It was so well written and enjoyable to read.
I have had the book for 5 days and only have 2 chapters to read. I have already identified and corrected problems in most my cliental. But the most dramatic is a young lady who has chronic knee pain. I had her do overhead squats. she was not using the abdominal brace to keep her spin neutral. Once I had her do this I coulees see she was trying to push her knees forward and not using the hip hinge. I taught her the hip hinge and guess what? Yep knee pain is gone.
I ordered Low Back Disorders and The Ultimate Back DVD’s today. Thank you again for writing this book.
John C. – USA
Several months ago I was getting a massage to address my chronic lower back pain and my therapist, who is very knowledgeable in back pain management said to me, ‘There’s a world renown back pain specialist here in Canada. His name is Dr. Stuart McGill and he’s with the University of Waterloo. Read some of his stuff. He takes a different approach which is a bit controversial…… Bodybuilding was my passion and I spent many hours in the XXX weight room. I was big and strong with a healthy back but a left knee that never fully recovered from a major knee injury the year before. But I still squatted a lot of weight.
I was taking a first year kinesiology course, KIN101 I believe, and at the end of one class the professor, Dr. Norman ( a great guy by the way – he helped me get into some KIN courses that were only open to students majoring in kinesiology) said to us, ‘ Next class I have a special treat for you. A collegue of mine, Dr. McGill, who specializes in low back disorders, has agreed to give you his famous back pain lecture. You don’t want to miss this. You’ll not be tested on the material. It’s just for your own enjoyment and interest.’
Stupid me, upon hearing that, thought: free class, if it’s not required why go? My back is fine anyways.
So I skipped the next class and as usual I used the time to go to the gym for a workout. There was a heavy barbell on the floor next to the rack that someone did not bother to put away. It was in my way so I bent over to pick it up to move it. At the time I was still favouring my left knee so I did most of my lifting from the floor with my back, not bending my knees. When I went to pick up the barbell I felt something shift in my low back. I wasn’t in severe pain but something didn’t feel right. I have been plagued with low back problems ever since.
I tried everything to fix my back, from chiropractors to physiotherapy to acupuncture and even some alternative therapies. Nothing worked. An orthopedic surgeon wanted to fuse my L3-L4 vertebrae. Luckily I said no. I read many books on the subject including Dr. Sarno’s raically different approach. It helped a bit. I believe there is some merit to his philosophy. But I always believed that if I made my back strong and flexible with strong abdominals and good hip strength and flexibility it would eliminate my back pain. It didn’t happen. And after reading your books, I know why. For my low back and abdominal training I would do extreme full range of motion exercises, concentrating mainly on the end ranges. I thought, like other joints, this would make my spinal joints healthy and strong. But as you pointed out, the same principles that apply to other joints do not necessarily apply to the vertebrae. So now I exercise my spine in a neutral, fixed position. I will introduce small ROM soon. And I used to train my lower back for muscular strength not endurance. Again you convinced of the importance of developing muscular endurance first.
My back pain is slowly getting better thanks to your books. I still tend to overdue it with my training and it’s hindering my progress. I learned the spine is not as forgiving as other joints. Thank-you Dr. McGill for setting me straight on self-treating my back. Sorry I didn’t buy your books ( I borrowed them from the library). But of course all this probably would not have been necessary… IF ONLY I HAD ATTENDED YOUR LECTURE THAT DAY!!! lol
Remo F. – Canada
I get it now Dr. McGill. Super Stiffness! Spread the floor! Wow! XXXX and I worked yesterday for about and hour. I have been doing your stuff, but now I get the picture. We did the big three, one legged squats, farmer walk, pulled a rope with a small amount of weight on the end of rope with no spine motion (while using the concept of super stiffness). What a difference from what I have been doing! A hell of a lot more difficult! XXXX loves you (as I do). Thank you for dedicating your life to work that is so valuable.
Many thanks for taking an interest in me, I can never thank you enough! I am excited about what the future holds for me as far as my strength and fitness level.
First I would like to thank you for rescuing my back. After horrible sciatic and immobilizing pain from my 2nd lumbar herniated disc, I bought both of your books and read them thoroughly. I followed your advice and fixed my back. As an exercise physiology student and owner of a personal training business, you saved my life.
Thanks for all that you do.
Bryan S. CSCS – USA
Your postures are helping me so much. So much. I am losing weight! Thank you so much for your time – you are truly a vehicle of grace to me.
Hi Dr. McGill,
Just wanted to say thanks. I recently finished reading your Low Back Disorders book, for a continuing ed class, and thought it was excellent. I have read a number of your published papers over the years, but reading the book, which I have been wanting to do for awhile, really helped me to have a better understanding of the many aspects of the subject matter. It will be a book I refer to often. Thanks again for your hard work and dedication to bringing an evidence-based approach to the subject.
Jeff T. – USA
Stuart, after adjusting my sleeping ‘posture’ and putting a small pad under the small of my back – I awoke for the first time in a long time without deep stabbing pains in my back (yes, a little stiff and sore as expected). Wow!
I wanted to thank you again for taking your personal time, sharing your immense knowledge and excellent bedside manner and giving me these tools for improvement. I felt I was spiralling the other way and now I feel very confident that I can actually overcome this physical issue and get back into a healthy condition. I can assure you that my other ‘trainer’ – my wife Nancy – will be ensuring that I do every exercise and do them right. We will also get in touch with Joan shortly.
My deepest personal gratitude to you, especially for taking your personal time for some guy “off the street”.
I just read the July version of Alive which I get monthly at my health food store and saw your name in the Absense article by Nicole Palacios. I wanted to say that taking your course was a great experience and that it really stuck with me. I still teach ‘The Big 3’ to my clients and insist for optimal spinal health they continue to work on them when they do home care. The physiotherapists I work with and the director of the clinic is always praising my work with clients as many people have gone through the rehab and come out happier (without pain) and stronger. Your books are well worked in and used frequently at the clinic. Just wanted to say thank you for being so passionate about what you believe in as it is truly helping others achieve and maintain a healthier life.
Alisha M. – Canada
Thank you so much for responding to my questions. I’m excited you are writing a book for the lay person. This is much needed and could help improve a lot of people’s lives that are filled with pain and leads many to pain drug addictions. Can you tell me when you expect to have your book ready to purchase as I would buy multiple copies to use and give away.
Barry M – Utah
I know you probably hear it all the time about how much the participants loved your course, but I thought I’d add to the stories. The clinic has been a buzz, so much so that Teresa booked 3 of us into a photographer and she took pictures of as many exercises we could come up with so we would have our own gallery to choose from for patient prescription instead of trying to stickman draw 🙂 I mean, we are brilliant stickman drawers.
Thanks again for traveling across the country to come visit us. It was truly an honour having you here. A huge highlight in my career thus far.
Ally G – Canada
Thank you for taking the time to speak at the XXXX and share your knowledge and experience. It was absolutely the best class that I have ever taken at any XXX’s I have attended and hope that they will ask you back again. Thank you for the respect shown to us and our job. Thank you for the work that you do.
Take care, be safe.
John M. – USA
Just wanted to drop you a line and say hello and congrats on the KB study in the NSCA. I miss our talks and exchanges. I must tell you – you have changed and improved many of our training methods – and that SUPERSTIFFNESS concept will be your legacy. SUPERSTIFFNESS training – before motion training – saved XXX’s career in the UFC last year – your work was at the base of that camp! Anyway – congrats and thank you for all of your great work my friend.
JC – USA
How are you? It has been almost 6 months since our last contact so I am just writing to say hello and thank you again for all you did for me. I remembered what you taught me and I applied it everyday. I will never forget those two days. I found the miracle I was looking for…
I feel great and I am trying to control my enormous passion for the science of training and sports so I do not hurt myself again. I am fascinated trying to prove and learn new things all the time. The journey continues….
All the best!
Mati N. – Argentina
Dear Dr. McGill,
We met at XXX when you were in Arizona last fall. I cannot thank you enough for teaching all the amazing protocols that we have since integrated at my facility XXX. I truly believe so many of the stabilization exercises that we use on a weekly basis with our general population are saving hundreds of backs.
Bobby K. – USA
“Dear Professor McGill,
Your exercises helped save my surgical career as am currently working as a surgeon again.
When I was working in orthopaedics over here in the UK, I still found the approach to back pain very poorly tolerated by my colleagues, who would unduly dispel it unless you had a cauda equina that needed decompression surgery.
Being a former back pain sufferer for many years from a lower back disc injury, I can only empathise with these patients. Thanks to you, your approach got me back on a slow road to recovery. Instead of doing the physio exercises that are usually prescribed and making the injury worse, your exercises slowly built up the correct muscle groups. I also suffered with a tight hip flexor and weak glutes.
Many thanks for your contribution in helping the likes of myself back onto the road to recovery.
I hope you don’t mind but I did an e-learning module for the junior surgeons (at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh) as they begin their surgical career. I mentioned that they should consult your material for training their backs to withstand the long hours of stooped posture at the operating table.”
Dear Prof. McGill:
A brief message to let you know that things improved so much I feel better than before my low back problem. I am back to work since last month, and I did what you told me: total control of postures–getting up with hands on knees especially in the morning–no stretches, and increasing walking–now I can enjoy as before 1-2 km. in nature, take our German Shepherd to the park daily… The trick is I am constantly aware of how I walk, with pelvis-legs straight. I have no pain at all, even in shops–but keep a good position on lines (no more one-leg resting). I also enjoy water jog exercise plus swimming twice a week–which helps relaxing back and neck. Ready to enjoy summer time! People around don’t believe my recovery– I tell them about you and your book. And how smart it was to avoid surgery.
Professor Carla M. – Spain
Your knowledge has helped me help others so on behalf of them, Thanks. Wishing you continued success and health.
Ben F. – England
I would like to thank you. I am a 22 year old male who experienced two disk herniations, two years ago about 6 months apart. The first occurred while lifting a sandbag off the floor with bad form, which was the breaking point for a bulged disk from when i wrestled in high school. The second lead me to learned something i didn’t know i was doing while weight lifting, i was rounding my back severely on all my low bar back squat….. I posted on a forum describing my situation and they recommended i look into your works, saying they followed your texts and have felt better and could continue on pain free.
I read your book daily, about ten pages at a time taking notes. I then assessed myself and found i had great posture which was a relief, but that left me with what else i had to work on. I then created a year and half long recovery plan, which i am close to completing the last step being losing excess body fat as i have a gut and i don’t want my lower back to be taxed due to poor eating habits. Because of your work i am proud to say i am 6 months pain free and have been able to return to weight lifting with no pain, but you have also given me an even greater gift. It was through reading your work and finishing rehab that i finally realized “I’m great at getting hurt then not being hurt”. While that statement sounds silly, it has given me direction in my life because i wasn’t so sure what i was doing after i finished college(Only 5 weeks left).
While i would love to thank you in person that will have to happen one day in the future and I hope this email could suffice. Again, thank you Dr.McGill.
James O. – USA
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”.
Nigel P. – England
Dear Dr. McGill,
I am the physical therapist from XXX you may remember speaking with me a several months back when I sought your knowledge and expertise to recover from a lumbar herniated disc and to ultimately return to bodybuilding and recreational MMA. Since then I have been employing the techniques outlined in your 2 books and displayed in the accompanying DVDs. I also purchased the Lumbair lumbar support for my car that you recommend on your site and in your book for adjusted support while sitting. I wanted to let you know that your materials have allowed me to begin taking my life back. Around the time I last contacted you my tolerance and capacity were very low, I had constant pain and I had to stop working for a while; even though I was told by some MDs that my injury was not that severe and should not be debilitating. I tried every conservative treatment available (epidurals, accupuncture, other physical therapists, decompression) and even sought surgery, but was not a candidate. I am ashamed to say that I knew about your book “Low Back Disorders” from PT school at Boston University before I injured my back. I neglected to follow and even forgot some of your principles, which I’m sure lead my own injury. Even after I hurt my back I continued to make things worse by stubbornly trying to work through the pain. …….Your books helped me to realize that a herniated disc “is not a life sentence”, but I will have to modify my training in order to continue.
I wanted to also let you know that I am promoting your materials and methods to all my colleges and patients. You have changed my practice. In a way, I almost feel blessed that this injury happened. It made me a better clinician, brought me closer to my faith and made me stronger all around. ….. Plus, I google your name a lot to find little bits of info here and there. Thanks again and see you in April.
Joseph C. PT, DPT – USA
I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk with you. The discussion helped me to think through a strategy to relieve my highly localized morning back pain. The combination of the psoas stretching with ipsilateral shoulder flexion and intensive strengthening of gluteus maximus on a 4-way hip machine has provided remarkable benefit after only a week and a half.
One would think that I should have been able to figure out a way to reduce the intense pain that I had been experiencing for a long time, but nothing I have done previously had much impact on it. Thanks again for your interest in helping anyone with back pain to find relief.
Never hesitate to let me know if there is something I can do for you. I hope that I will have the opportunity to spend more time with you somewhere in the future.
Dr Gary W. – USA
Hi Doctor McGill,
I just wanted to let you know it is my one year anniversary of seeing you, tomorrow October 5th if there is such a thing as “spine” anniversaries. I am doing so much better!!! No more spondy, what I used to call dropping a few floors when walking and the stenosis isn’t there. Maybe the conditions are still there, but the symptoms are not. compared to 2009 when all the pain started and then seeing you, I am 100% better. I am actually looking forward now to retiring.
I can’t thank you enough. I am so grateful to you and your willingness to seeing me and how those 3 hours have improved my life so much. Colleagues can’t get over the change. Many thanks and blessings to you and your family on this Thanksgiving weekend.
Ginette S. – Canada
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.
Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman of Strongfirst
“I am a pain medicine doctor who sees low back pain in my clinic everyday. So I can say, as an insider, that conventional medicine is failing patients with low back pain.
I would sooner have most of my patients read Back Mechanic and follow its advice than receive the “standard of care” I see most doctors using. This “standard” approach is characterized by using weird drugs like gabapentin (an anti-seizure medication used also for nerve pain), dangerous opioids, expensive and largely ineffective spine injections and general prescriptions to see a physical therapist or chiropractor that leaves you no better, if not worse off.
The reason for this tragic failure is conventional medicine has forgotten that almost all low back pain is a MECHANICAL issue. It’s not a psychological issue to be dealt with through anti-depressants and stress reduction. It’s not a mysterious accident that came from nowhere. Low back pain is almost always caused by flawed or excessive mechanical stress from improper postures, movements and loads.
In my professional opinion, there is no better authority to teach about low back pain and how to fix it than the author Professor McGill. He is one of the best spine researchers ever and also—here is the crazy part—one of the the best spine clinicians ever. It is rare to have this combination of world-class scientific accomplishment and clinical wisdom in one person. More than 300 medical journal articles published and countless elite athletes restored to world-class performance after what lesser clinicians had condemned them to the scrap heap of “career-ending” back injury.”
Back Mechanic is a distillation of over 30 years of knowledge and wisdom in an engaging and accessible text intended for the lay public.
There’s a reason this work is one of near-universal acclaim: it has the ability to help normal people solve the riddle of their own back pain. Back Mechanic breaks down low back pain to its foundational components. It explains how back pain happens. It instructs patients on how to diagnose themselves, albeit with the supervision of a doctor. It tells patients how to treat themselves through avoiding certain postures and movements and what exercises to perform to restore their spine health.
This is the single best book on low back pain for the general public.”