Testimonial Archive

Back Pained Individuals | Coaching | Books | CBD & Products 

As a doctor working out of Pasadena, I have been studying the work of Professor McGill for the past two years. I can say with the credentials and authority of a medical insider that McGill’s teachings are light years ahead of the conventional medical approach. And I can attest to this effect from my own professional experience in the demanding domains of both pain medicine and occupational medicine. I’m now able to consistently restore bad backs with what I learned from Professor McGill’s books and courses. One intriguing aspect of Professor McGill’s clinical practice is his work with elite athletes with low back pain. Many of these athletes have seen “top” spine specialists around the world and been told they had career ending injuries. They are lost–until they find Professor McGill.

The story of Brian Carroll is one such story. It is the story of an improbable comeback from a devastating spine injury. As a world-record setting lifter, Carroll loaded his spine to extremes that boggle the imagination. When a host of injuries and excessive training and competition broke his spine down, the conventional medical establishment said all that was left for him was surgery, athletic retirement and probable lifelong disability. (For the medically inclined: he had a complete fracture of L5 with a deep split fracture in his sacrum.) The journey from that nadir, with Carroll contemplating suicide after a particularly depressing visit to a back surgeon, to his return to a champion lifter again seems miraculous.

Except it’s not a miracle–it’s what happens when science combined with clinical wisdom meets an athlete who who will not give up on the dream. Professor McGill discusses the scientific principles and specific program he used to restore Carroll to elite form. In these pages you will find a story told in alternate parts by McGill and Carroll. It is part memoir of Carroll, part primer for how the McGill method works, part instructional guide for lifting and spine recovery all told through the prism of one man’s injury. It is a story of ambition, loss, healing, friendship and overcoming the odds to become better than you ever were–after you’ve been left for dead. What is the gift of injury? The possibility of resurrection of not just a spine and a career, but of a man. This masterpiece tells you how.

~ Medical Doctor – Pasadena, CA

My sports history is one of eclectic taste, and at one point, in my younger days, I served many masters. I have devoted my life to exploring physically demanding contact sports and some of the most competitive Strength Sports in the world. After years of Muay Thai, Rugby, Powerlifting, and Strongman, my dance with the devil ended.

Ignoring proper day-to-day mechanics, making bad training decisions, and working through what I thought were nagging discomforts, I woke up one day with severe back pain, leg numbness, and little to no range of motion. The freedom of life had been stripped from me. I had heard that Brian had worked closely with Dr. McGill and of how he had become a great example of rehabilitation and recovery.

At first, I was hesitant to work with Brian because I was afraid of letting go of my sport, and I knew the discipline required on this path would be unlike anything I had faced before. However, deciding to sit down on a Skype call with Brian, adopt his 10/20/Life approach, and start my journey on my back rehab was life-changing. To many, this may sound over the top or cliché, but to those who have felt real injury and the isolation of back pain, we know very well that the day-to-day demand is like no other.

Having been coached by Brian for over a year has completely reinvented my training and perception as a coach and gym owner. What was prescribed to me as an “athletic death sentence” transformed into a chance to come back stronger than ever in all facets of my life and athletic career? I now sit in the driver’s seat of my comeback into Strongman as I seek to return to the national stage, compete at the world level and fight for the state title. None of these would have been possible without Brian’s calculated training, stern weekly conversations, and what he would call my “Gift of Injury.

~ Michael De La Pava owner and head coach of The Battle Axe Gym, Strongman 105kg, Powerlifter, Rugby Player (Miami Tridents), Muay Thai Fighter

I had a horrific back injury at a job I worked at a little while back. I was later given some oral steroids by doctor which helped a bit. Fast forward a few weeks and my back pain began to dissipate a lot but then a few months later I began to have extreme sciatic pain down one of my legs. I then tried more oral steroids, physical therapy, and even back injections which all failed. I was feeling pretty hopeless and so I was recommend surgery by the spine doctor I was seeing. I was told the surgery had a very high chance of success. However I had the opposite experience. I woke up from the surgery in immense pain, and fast forward the last year my back has been completely destroyed. Although I went into the surgery without much back pain and mainly just very bad sciatic symptoms down one of my legs, since the surgery I’ve had horrific back pain and sciatica down both legs.

To say the last year since the surgery has been filled with 95% of days consisting of hopelessness, darkness, and countless suicidal hours would be an understatement. The last year I’ve tried doing a million things on my own since the surgery to try to get better but literally nothing had been working. I went back to a different physical therapy, began doing PT at home several times a week, doing some walking here and there, paying for deep tissue massages, icing and heating my back daily, and much much more.

I then went back to my doctor again recently and all they offered me were two options: drugs for pain or more surgery.

I thank God though I decided after I left to not listen to them because the last two months I found a book and a mentor and I’m finally starting to slowly slowly make progress with my pain. I found a book called Gift of Injury written by a former powerlifter named Brian Carroll who severely destroyed his back. In the book he details meeting and working with this man Dr. Stuart McGill who is a professor at a Canadian university. Dr. McGill is likely the #1 spine expert in the world and he was able to fix Brian’s back without surgery to the point that not only was Brian able to go back to powerlifting but he went back and set a few more world records.

I began reading Brian’s book but decided I wanted to reach out to him for 1 on 1 coaching. I’ve had just a few zoom sessions so far but I legitimately have already had a decent decrease in pain and it’s only been two months. Even though I’m still scared, I have not felt this level of hope or even hope in general about my back in the last year plus. I highly highly highly recommend looking at his book and seeing the reviews and also checking out his YouTube channel and his 1 on 1 coaching. I am not making this post for any other reason except that a few months ago I was seriously considering killing myself for days and weeks on end due to feeling like I had run out of options and that the only help I had was doctors who told me to either get on pain drugs or to have more damaging inducing surgery. I cannot for the life of me wish I had found his book and his coaching right after my injury began because maybe I could’ve avoided a lot of bad decisions and hopeless months the last year plus. My doctors and physical therapists were so useless that they pushed me with my pain to a place where my life was almost over, and I just don’t want to see anyone go down the dark path I did.

~ Steve Taylor

During jujitsu training i injured my lower back (severe L4/L5 herniation) and from learning the hard way in the past i decided not to push through this time but seek professional help to get me back to training as quickly as possible. Being a member of the US military special operations community I was able to get advice from medical support personnel familiar with acute athletic injuries who suggested the route of sports physical therapy.

After 2-3 weeks of conventional sports therapy the back pain began to radiate into my glute, hip flexor and quadriceps and I noticed pronounced antrophy of the mid quad. Not only was i not getting better but I was getting worse. I tried other sports therapists, chiropractors and anything I could find to avoid surgery. But after awhile, and although dealing with the intense pain seemed acceptable on some level, the loss of muscle mass and weakness made me believe surgery was my only option.

About the time I started consulting with surgeons one of the members of my unit suggested trying the Dr Stuart McGill protocol at which time I learned of Brian Carroll. Brians personnel story and the list of athletes he was able to help gave me real hope. After a few minutes online with him I knew I was in good hands with someone who understood my mindset and how to deal with athletes and I immediately decided to fly down to Florida.

Brians demeanor and professionalism quickly assured me I was in the right place. He took his time and answered every question I had. I hold a masters degree in exercise physiology and the theories and practical application Brian suggested made real sense to me and were markedly different from my prior research. The physical assessment was tremendous and his attention to detail greatly impressed me and I was confident he made sure to nail down the best course of action for my recovery. Most important was having Brian take me through the actual core techniques and explain and emphasize what was essential to the program in a logical understandable way.

I jumped 100% in and by dedicating the time and intensity to the program Brian designed for me i was able to get out of pain and become functional again. Most helpful was Brian explaining to me that each case was unique and recovery is not linear. He made me understand it takes time and not to rush into failure or reinjury which I had done so many times in the past. To date I have continued to progress and become stronger allowing me to expand the program on my way to full recovery and with the added knowledge to continue to employ his techniques and program to stay that way.

~ Frank Rossi

I highly recommend working with Brian, especially if you are lifter looking to get back under the bar, as Brian has been through this himself.

I originally injured my back in 2019, with what I suspect was a disc bulge. I was able to manage it and keep lifting, but the pain never got truly eliminated. And then last year in early 2022, I injured my back worse on a squat when I broke form. I never addressed the underlying issue.

I was hesitant to reach out to Brian initially because I knew that I would have to take time away from lifting, but the way I was training was unsustainable and I was not getting better. I knew I had to trust a professional, take time off load to rebuild my pain free capacity.

I am extremely glad that I did. I am still in the early stages of my healing, but after working with Brian for two months so far, I have a very solid understanding of my pain triggers. Flexion is still aggravating to my back as well as some extension, but with Brian’s guidance, I am able to manage them quite well and even have some days completely pain free honoring the McGill principles of pristine spine hygiene.

I am currently in the process of building up my pain free capacity, expanding on core work, walking frequently, and slowly increasing volume on individual exercises catered to my unique injury. I know that it is possible to expand on those and have more pain free days in the future as well as coming back a stronger and wiser lifter from this.

Brian is extremely professional and what I appreciate is his willingness to work with my schedule, be straightforward with me, and most importantly, not give black and white answers. The thing I have come to appreciate with the McGill method is that while it is based on principles, there is a ton of strategy involved as all of us have our own pain triggers we have to work around with jobs, training, and our day to day lives. Brian covers this in our sessions.

I know that I am still in the early stages of rebuilding my back and not healed, but I 100% believe in the McGill Method along with Brian’s professional guidance.

There are no quick fixes for back pain, especially if one has been dealing with this for a while. So I would recommend that anyone that reaches out to Brian for a consult be willing to put in the work, read the material ahead of time (Bach Mechanic and Gift of Injury) and be willing to work around and avoid your pain triggers so that you can become an advocate in beating your own back pain.

This is a process that requires patience and discipline, but I believe that it is worth it in the long run. Thank you Brian for working with me.

~ Noah Dresser

I’ve been working with Brian for four months and my back pain is soooo much better. I am finally hopeful I will have a full recovery!

I have a bulging L3/L4 disc. The original injury was six years ago (deadlifting), but I re-injured it about ten months ago (doing aerial silks). I was in incredible pain when sitting, could only walk short distances, and physical therapy made things worse. My ortho suggested a discectomy, but I’ve read that success rates for that procedure are fairly low.

I found Brian Carroll after reading The Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill and The Gift of Injury by Dr. Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll. Reading about Brian’s own journey from a massive back injury to becoming the first human ever to back squat over 1300 pounds made me feel hopeful he might be able to help me.

At first I just watched Brian’s (very helpful) Youtube videos, but I decided to take the plunge and hire him to coach me. It was the BEST decision. I zoom with him every couple of weeks for a half an hour. He has created a personalized PT program for me that is evolving as I heal. He has also coached me through big life changes that involve sitting and/or using my back more than usual–recently I moved states AND my husband had a big hip surgery. Thanks to Brian, I’ve been able to tackle those challenges while preserving the healing gains I’ve made to my back. I cannot say enough good things about him.

I have been to MANY doctors and PTs and none of them have been able to provide me with a sensible step-by-step plan to help me heal my back. But thankfully, Brian has!! I highly recommend his coaching!!!!!

~ Mary Pauline Lowry

I have been working with Brian for a few months now. I reached out to him because I read Back Mechanic and was aware of his work with Dr. McGill. After having a bad back for years I began having a lot of back pain, getting steroid and toradol injections for flare ups and I knew it was time to get serious about my back health. I didn’t know for sure of what to expect but Brian set out a very easy plan for me and that was great because I am a nightshift nurse lifting on heavy patients all of the time and I work 12 hour shifts and overtime. My back pain has improved and even that nagging tightness and fatigue I used to feel in my back most of the time or every time I bent over to start and IV or put on a blood pressure cuff has been relieved significantly with back exercises. The virtual program he uses is easy to use and sends you reminders of your appointments. It’s been a good experience since I can’t go in person. He even coached me through exercises virtually which was no problem at all.
Brian has supported me getting a small treadmill for home. He has also tried to make this experience as cost effective as possible for me. If you’re hesitant about it because of the cost I highly recommend using the pay in 4 payments on PayPal. You can’t put a price on your back health and Brian’s coaching is the support I needed because I am busy with a kid just like the rest of the world. I get tired and slack sometimes but he’s there being encouraging and motivating me to get back on track without being demeaning. I think that’s the best part of this experience. Brian just seems like kind, good person and he is eager to see people improve their back health and be pain free.

~ Gloria

I have been working with Brian for about a year now. I’ve had daily back pain with two herniated disc‘s for several years and about 3 to 4 times a year I would pull my back out and be down for three or four days. I started working with Brian and I read his book gift of injury. Within a couple weeks of following Brian’s instructions on daily movements and doing the exercises that he instructed me to do I was pretty much almost pain-free and after a couple months I was pain free with just a little pain in the mornings. Working with Brian has completely changed my outlook pertaining to my back. I pretty much just convinced myself that I would not be able to function or do things I used to be able to do anymore because of my back issues. Now I am confident that as long as I continue to follow Brian‘s instructions and training I will not be hindered from doing certain things because of my back. My wife and I have also been using Brian‘s CBD balm and Roll on. My wife has issues with her feet from prior surgeries and I have had shoulder problems for many years. Once I apply the balm or roll-on within a matter of minutes the pain is diminished. Brian is a life saver! I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with him. I would highly recommend working with him or using any of his CBD products! You will not be disappointed!

~ Shane Chaddock

I have been coached by Brian for the past six years and have known Brian for the past 14 years. First, and foremost, Brian is a tremendous person and a wonderful Brother in Christ. Second, Brian is a fantastic coach. I didn’t start powerlifting until 50 years old after collegiate sports, then high-level rugby, and then coaching high-level rugby. I had always lifted to play sports and not vice-versa. Brian has had two challenges with me and mastered them both brilliantly. I’m a Type A driven personality, and I’m now 64 years old. Being a goal-oriented Type A and a much older lifter doesn’t always make a good mix. Brian knows his audience and how to address them for the best results. Every solution doesn’t require a hammer. Brian has enabled me to continue to achieve significant numbers and results, including State and American Records, while taking into account my business life, my family life (ten grandkids), my ministry, my age, and injuries as they occur. Even though Brian has achieved world records and is recognized as one of the greatest lifters of all time, he has the ability and patience to listen to mere mortals and give them priceless guidance that not only will have them achieve, but Brian will also help you to avoid destroying or wrecking your body. And, he genuinely cares. I recommend Brian to anyone for coaching and/or for advice and protocols to help repair your body, your injuries, and your lifting mindset. I’m looking forward to Brian coaching me to continue competing until I hit 70 years old. At that one, Brian and I will assess what another ten years might look like. A tremendous professional and human being.

~ Larry Grant

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