In this episode with Dr. Stuart McGill, a Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, Dr. McGill discusses his new book, Back Mechanic, shares his thoughts and ideas on treating low back pain, and offers some insight to primary causes of back pain. He proposes analogies to relate the treatment of patients to building a car for the Indy 500 and sitting as the new smoking.

Check out his bio & links here.

PT Pintcast proudly poured by Aureus Medical. Travel & direct hire opportunities nationwide.

Stuart’s Bio:

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. Any product associated with this website has been tested in Dr. McGill’s laboratory at the University of Waterloo, ON, Canada.


BPE (Toronto)

MSc (Ottawa)

PhD (Waterloo)

Full CV (pdf)

Contact information

Email: [email protected]

Research interests

Our research in the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory has three objectives: to understand how the low back functions; to understand how it becomes injured; and, knowing this, formulate and investigate hypotheses related to prevention of injury and optimal rehabilitation of the injured back, and ultimate performance of the athletic back.

We have two separate laboratory approaches – one which examines intact humans which utilizes a rather unique approach that monitors spine motion and body segment position, muscle activation, ligament involvement and modelling tissue loading in each individual subject; and a second approach where we examine the mechanical behaviour of low back tissues and spine specimens. Our graduate students have been involved in several issues such as investigating the load tolerance of the spine under various types of load, assessment of spine stability, examination of devices such as abdominal belts, examination of various injury mechanisms and determining the safest methods of achieving performance in the back, to name a few.

This work has been recognized with many awards including the R. Tait McKenzie Award 2005, the Canadian Society for Biomechanics Career Award 2004, the Stow visiting lectureship from the Ohio State University College of Medicine 2002, the Steven Rose Lectureship from the Washington University School of Medicine 2001, to name a few.

Preparing Leaders:  Virtually all of the graduate students from the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory land exciting careers.  Many are recruited as faculty members, and some become ergonomists or take various clinical positions. Unfortunately I have stopped taking new student due to my impending retirement.

For further information about my research please visit the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory.

Professor McGill currently serves on the editorial board for the journals Clinical Biomechanics, Applied Biomechanics and Spine.