McGill Method

Identify which movements, postures and loads are the root cause of chronic low back pain, how to remove those causes, and eliminate your low back pain.

The McGill Method was developed at the University of Waterloo in Toronto, Canada, by professor Stuart McGill, a world-renowned spine researcher, lecturer and author. He pioneered a comprehensive method to help patients recover from chronic low back pain and avoid further low back injury and symptoms. Comprehensive Wellness’s Dr. Kai Tiltmann has completed the rigorous certification program and is a McGill Method Master Clinician. If you have chronic low back pain that has been unresponsive to at least three other types of medical treatments, you may benefit from this unique approach to low back pain.

What is McGill Method?

Professor Stuart McGill is a world-renowned spine scientist, speaker, and author of Low Back Disorders, among other books and hundreds of peer reviewed articles. He has developed the McGill Method assessment for chronic low back pain cases, which is different from anything traditionally taught in the allied health care fields.

Many common approaches such as stretches, yoga, pilates, exercise, and weight loss, do not resolve the source of the pain behind the symptoms. If the cause of the chronic low back pain is not properly identified, even more aggressive treatments such as injections and surgeries may be ineffective.

The McGill Method assessment helps to identify which movements, postures and loads are the root cause of chronic low back pain, how to remove those causes, and hence eliminate the pain.

Who is a good candidate for the McGill Method Assessment?

In order to be considered for the McGill Method, there are 3 intake requirements:

  • Chronic low back pain, with or without sciatica for at least six months.
  • Unresponsive to at least three medical treatment interventions.
  • The desire to understand why you have chronic low back pain, learn how to manage it and receive the tools to allow healing.

What is involved in the McGill Method Assessment?

Chronic low back pain cases are unique, complex, multifaceted, and require time and care to properly assess and treat. Prior to your appointment, you will be asked to read Back Mechanicby Dr. Stuart McGill.  Your visit will then consist of a 3-hour history, examination, and movement assessment protocol specific to your chronic low back pain. During your visit with Dr. Tiltmann, you can expect the following:

  • Dr. Tiltmann will review your history including any imaging to help you understand why you have low back pain in the first place.
  • He will then put you through a series of examinations, movements, and tests to determine what aggravates your symptoms and what alleviates them.
  • Lastly, Dr. Tiltmann will show you how to move and exercise in a spine sparing way that will allow the spine to heal and symptoms to dissipate. During this part, movement competency will be videotaped on the patient’s phone for future reference.
  • After the visit, the patient receives a comprehensive report about what was discovered and how to proceed with healing.

The severity of low back damage, injury and symptom duration, symptom severity, tissues involved, numbers of therapies and surgeries attempted, age, health and patient fitness all impact the outcomes of the treatment.

The McGill Method is intended to be a one-time visit; however, some patients require or request follow up visits to review; exercises, movements, instructions, and treatment recommendations.