Do You Really Need That Spine Surgery?

First and foremost, I’m neither a doctor nor a surgeon.

Having said that, I was blessed to had training encounter with Dr. Stuart McGill, the man that has successfully rehabilitated the backs of many Olympic gold medal winning athletes and salvaged their careers again. I also used to have spine injury in the form of L5/S1 disc bulge that pinches my sciatic nerve and caused sciatica. Basically if I cycle for too long, then I would feel incredible pain along my right buttock, to my right hamstring and my right calf. I was lucky to met Dr. McGill and through his training, regained my athleticism and became stronger than I was prior to my injury. I’m 36 by the way, so I’m no spring chicken.

110 Kg paused squats after my back recovered using McGill Method, no surgery, painkiller, belt or wraps. 100% natural

Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, low back pain is a rather common problem especially among the 25 – 55 year old crowd. That is because the spine, just like any other organ you have, requires “optimal loading” for it to be healthy. And the modern sedentary lifestyle simply increase the risk of people having low back pain.

So what happen if you already have low back pain? Does this mean that you are stuck with it? Do you need a surgery to fix it?

If the pinched nerve is on L5/S1 or L4/L5, then congrats! you got sciatica!

Basically it depends on your injury. Not all low back pain are caused by disc bulge. And it also depends on the severity of the injury. Back Mechanics does an excellent job at describing the types of back injuries that could happen. As I have mentioned previously, most of the times surgery is not the answer. Problem is, most people wanted instant solution and surgery seems like the fastest solution. What most people do not understand is that lumbar surgery is not instant. Dr. McGill already showed that based on his 30 years of research and clinical practice that not only would lumbar surgery risk damaging your nerve and fascia tissues, without change in the patient’s movement pattern, the patient run the risk of developing future problems in 5 years (which means good business for the surgeons themselves).

Take the case of Tiger Woods, the most successful young golfer of the previous decade that had his back damaged by wrong training method and repeated back surgery. During my training years ago, Dr. McGill foretell that Tiger Woods will never play professional golf again. And his most recent DUI arrest pretty much showed that even though he had the resources to pay the words best surgeons, these surgeons simply made him dependent on pain killers.

Of course, having said all of these, there are legitimate cases where spine surgery is warranted. And most of those cases are due to high impact trauma.


If you or anybody you know is struggling with low back pain, I highly recommend reading Dr. McGill’s book back mechanics to learn more on your particular injury and if surgery is really for you.

Keep in mind, to successfully implement McGill Method and regain a pain free life, the patient need to be disciplined in doing “Spine Hygine” on their daily life. The healing process might take months if not years. But I find it to be totally worth it, especially if world’s best surgeons could ended up making you dependent on opoids like Tiger Woods. Last but not least, should you experience spine disk bulge and implement all of McGill’s Methods, then over time, your injured spine disk will harden and stiffen your back. You will loose some spine mobility (something spine surgery will also get you) but in return, you will be pain free, this is why Dr. McGill emphasized on hip mobility instead, so you will not loose your athleticism.

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