stu mcgill

w/ Dr. Stuart McGill – Clinical Jazz, Treating Kids Like Pros, Thoughts On Posture, and Being A Low Back Pain Ninja

CF 118: w/ Dr. Stuart McGill – Clinical Jazz, Treating Kids Like Pros, Thoughts On Posture, and Being A Low Back Pain Ninja 

Today we’re going to be talking with the low back ninja himself, Dr. Stu McGill. What an honor. If you know anything about Dr. McGill, then you truly know what a big deal it is to have him as a guest. 

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

Chiropractic evidence-based products
Integrating Chiropractors
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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around. 

We’re the fun kind of research. Not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers.

I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

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Do it do it do it. 

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #118

Now if you missed last week’s episode #117, we talked about spinal manipulation with and without myofascial release added to the mix and we discussed the research behind vitamin d3 to help for migraine headaches. Really interesting stuff. Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

While we’re on the topic of being smart, did you know that you can use our website as a resource? Quick and easy, you can go to, click on Episodes, and use the search function to find whatever you want quickly and easily. With over 100 episodes in the tank and an average of 2-3 papers covered per episode, we have somewhere between 250 and 300 papers that can be quickly referenced along with their talking points. 

No personal disaster stories this week. I want to dive right in. 

Before we get to Dr. McGill, I want to briefly mention Look folks, if you haven’t heard of this program, you just don’t know what you’re missing. ChiroUp has solved almost all of my biggest issues in practice. Not only with a gap in knowledge initially in rehab but with time management. 

It saves time, it educates patients on exercise, activities of daily living, and your recommendations, it encourages Google reviews, it tracks your patients’ success, it gives you all kinds of marketing templates and ideas, if you don’t know a particular exam or treatment protocol for a certain body region, it has videos to show you – in short….it’s amazing. 

If you’d like a free trial period followed by 6 months at only $99/month, go to and use the code Williams99 That way you get the discount and they know who’s greasing the wheels. 

Now, Dr. Stu McGill

Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a 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 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, 5 books, and many international awards. 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 are regularly referred to Dr. McGill for consultation. 

I went through his CV on the Backfitpro website and I’d be here for an hour if I read it all out to you. It’s truly impressive as is Dr. McGill himself. 

What an honor it is for us to welcome Dr. McGill on the show today. Dr. McGill, thank you so much for taking the time. Where are you as we speak and how’s the weather treating you?

1. In the book, “Back Mechanic’, you seem to minimize the psychosocial aspect of chronic back pain and instead focus on removing the physical pain triggers. More and more emerges about the psychosocial aspect. Do you think it’s a fad or have you changed your mind any on it as it’s popularity seems to be rising?

2. For those few that are relatively unfamiliar with your work, what would be your best summary? What are your key points or takeaways? Things like flexion is mostly bad, it depends, and strength building doesn’t mean pain improvement….

3. You say that disc injuries often resolve in about two weeks. In your experience, is there a specific kind of disc injury that tends to stick around and be pesky for longer than that?

4. Here is a question from our private Facebook group. If trunk flexion is not generally advisable, how does one go about building ab muscles just purely for aesthetics….to get a six-pack essentially? What’s the best way to advise our active patients on this?

5. Let’s say you have a patient that has had chronic low back pain for years. Just general, dull chronic pain. Let’s say you diagnose and treat and they come out of it. Now they feel great and they want to go a step further and start getting active in the gym. Now I suspect your answer will include, “It depends,” and to avoid the triggers or movements that once hurt but, in general, how do you counsel them on the best way to start without taking a step back? 

6. Recent recommendations came out about posture from what I believe was the primary chiropractic association in Canada. They said there really is no bad posture but what is important is the frequent change in postures. Taking out pain triggers, what is your opinion on this idea of no bad postures?

7. In reviewing your certification process, I see live hours for Level 1 and they’re in amazing places like Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Toronto, and on and on. My question is, are there any plans to offer some of this online for the practitioner that is unable to travel in the manner required? Or is it more of a hands-on class and live hours are vital?

8. I realize this is a big question and there can be a lot of stuff to unpack here but I think it’s worth asking. So that those of us in the field can know where we stand as far as how we go about assessing a new patient…..To adequately assess a patient and generate a diagnosis, how long should it take on average to do a good job and be accurate? I understand you evaluate a new patient for 3 hours or more.

9. Here’s probably another huge question but, what comes first for you: Corrective exercise or Gamification?


11. With low back pain being the #1 reason for disability globally, and with all of the research you’ve been involved with, are we gaining on it? Why do I still get patients in my clinic with stories that make it clear that the medical profession is still not really paying attention?

12. We are seeing more and more information emerges suggesting it’s good for young athletes to be multi-sport athletes rather than specializing and being essentially treated like a professional athlete while still very young and developing. On a podcast interview, I listened to with you as the featured guest, you say you just can’t be good at everything because your spine basically needs to be tailored the specialty. Can you go into this a little bit and is there a way to find the balance between the idea that you can’t be good at it all but that you also should look at being a multi-sport athlete? At least at a young age. 

13. Also from our private facebook group, what are some assumptions you made 5 years ago (or some other time) that you no longer agree with? If any.

14. Tell me about 

Chiropractic evidence-based products
Integrating Chiropractors
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Dr. Stuart McGill on low back pain and posture

The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few.

It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient treats preventatively after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point:

At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints….

That’s Chiropractic!


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We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 


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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger