A good number of us know how disabling back pain can be, especially when it has no serious pathological cause, yet there are few interventions that have been proven to substantially…
Dr Anu Arasu
A good number of us know how disabling back pain can be, especially when it has no serious pathological cause, yet there are few interventions that have been proven to substantially help. Therapies such as physiotherapy and manipulation techniques have been shown to help functioning but, if you have not had the positive results you were hoping for and are looking around for an alternative to try, the alexander technique may be the answer for you.
The technique differs from physiotherapy or manipulation because it provides a strong educational component. The client is called a student, which highlights that they are not a passive recipient of an experience but rather an active partaker, there to learn how to train intelligently and get their minds in harmony with their bodies. The technique does not include stretches, postures or exercises; instead the teacher observes the student’s posture and movements then helps move them into a better position. Students learn to correct bad habits, being mindful of each movement, thereby removing unwanted muscle tension and eliminating the root cause of pain. So what about the evidence? We’ve already seen evidence that it helps in the short term but more recently long term benefits have been shown too. One study by a randomised controlled trial of alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage showed that 24 lessons gave 42 per cent of patients a reduction in disability and 86 per cent a reduction in pain.
Each lesson may cost around somewhere between £25 and £45, a full course may cost around £600 to £1,000. If that’s too much, its good to know that the study also found just six lessons followed by an exercise prescription from the GP can be almost as effective as 24 lessons. No excuses for slouching now!
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