Stuart McGill


McGILL1 - ROME 10th-11th February 2018

McGILL2 - ROME 12th February 2018

Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada). His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts and elite athletes and teams from around the world. Difficult back cases are regularly referred to him for consultation.

Stuart Michael McGill Dr McGill has authored three textbooks: “Low Back Disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation”, Third Edition, published by Human Kinetics publishers, (, 2016, and “Ultimate back fitness and performance”, Fifth Edition, published by Backfitpro Inc (, 2014, and Back Mechanic, 2015. These books synthesise the material presented in this course and are recommended as resource material for interested delegates.


• Chiropractic Degree - 2001 • Certified ART (Active Release Teraphy) • FDN certificate (Functional Dry Needling) • Certificate SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) • FMS Certificate (Functional Movement Screen) • FMS instructor • DNS Sport Certificate (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) • Expert in the rehabilitation strategies of the back of prof. McGill 



Global Objectives:

  • To update delegates on the most recent developments in function of the lumbar spine - specifically how it works and how it becomes injured, and how this is linked to pain sensitivity. This is to develop an evidence based foundation for clinical decision making.
  • To provide guidance in the application of this knowledge to the clinic, workplace, rehabilitation centre, and sports field to reduce the risk of injury, optimize healing of the patient, and build ultimate back performance in the athlete.
  • To give practice and technique development with workshops throughout the day.


Brief Description of Topics:  

>>> 4 hours Building the foundation: Dispel the myths about how the spine works and becomes injured. Anatomical, biomechanical and motor control perspectives are provided to setup the clinical approaches

>>> 2 hours Interpreting patient presentation: Understand aberrant motion and motor patterns and possibilities for corrective exercise. Provocative tests and their mechanical basis provide guidance for optimal exercise design. Lecture and workshop

>>> 1 hour Preventing Back Disorders: No clinician can be successful without removing the cause of back troubles in patients. This section teaches delegates how to identify the causes and how to remove them. Lecture and workshop. 

>>> 5 hours Rehabilitation Exercise: Biomechanics and Clinical Practices - Many exercises prescribed to low back patients have not been subjected to scientific examination. This component of the course attempts to quantify and rank exercises for their spine loading, muscle usage and stabilizing potential. Algorithms for choosing the best exercise approach for each individual are provided. Technique is then honed to make exercise tolerable and effective. Lecture and workshop

>>> 4 hours Training for performance – Training the back for performance (either athletic or occupational) requires different approaches and objectives than training to fulfil rehabilitation objectives. Some of the techniques developed in our work with world class athletes will be introduced and discussed within the context of valid mechanisms and evidence. These include the progressions from establishing motor control patterns, through to stability, endurance, strength, power and agility. Formalization of some of the performance “tricks” including how to get through “sticking points”, and developing “superstiffness” will be done in lecture and practical sessions.



Global Objectives:

  • To update delegates on some recent developments in assessing the low back of the most challenging patients.
  • To create linkages to corrective and therapeutic exercises and drills.
  • Develop skills in pain provocation tests to reveal the pain mechanism.
  • To give practice and technique development with workshops at the assessment table throughout the day.


Restoring a painful back begins with a detailed assessment. McGill demonstrates and teaches pain provocation through mechanical and neurological approaches intended to reveal the cause of pain. The algorithm is based on branching logic. Delegates will hone their manual skills, together with clinical reasoning skills, work-shopping tests both on and off the exam table. This will lead to a precise diagnosis that forms the foundation for teaching the patient how to wind down their pain sensitivity. The second stage begins when pain is controlled, and the objectives shift to enhancing function and performance.

This is a smaller more intimate course, primarily around the exam table.

Structured outline:

>>> 8 am - 12 noon

1: The foundation  

Background (Lecture)

  • Movement assessments and screens 
  • Anatomy and mechanisms of function, injury and pain 
  • Medical images (MR, CT, Ultrasound)
  • Differential diagnosis

-- Lunch 12 – 1 pm --

>>> 1 pm - 5 pm  

2: The assessment (hands-on workshop at assessment tables)

Assessment Clinic

  • Assessment forms 
  • Provocative tests, movement tests (these include motions, postures, loads and then specific tissues: compression, shear, bending, tension, etc Discs, end plates, vertebral bodies, sciatic and femoral nerve roots, SI joints, Facet joints, hip joints)
  • Support material

3: Interpreting the signs and special cases Special Cases

  • Spinal shock 
  • Neural resonance 
  • Neural traps 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Scoliosis, Stenosis, etc


This presentation synthesizes many research articles. Rather than provide an exhaustive list, the interested delegate is encouraged to see them at: However, the information has been synthesized into a textbook (the science of back function, prevention of back troubles and stabilization exercise, together with assessment of the pained patient): McGill, S.M. (2016) Low Back Disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation - Third Edition, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign USA, 2016 While the textbook comes with access to many online videos, a DVD illustrating the Assessment and Therapeutic exercise techniques is also available: McGill, S.M. (2012) The Ultimate back: Assessment and therapeutic exercise, Second Edition


Back Mechanics


The Striking Truth Bonus Footage 


No such thing as non-specific back pain


Promo Book "Back Mechanics"

VIDEO 1 - Back Mechanics

VIDEO 2 - The Striking Truth Bonus Footage

VIDEO 3 - No such thing as non-specific back pain

VIDEO 4 - Promo Book "Back Mechanics"