Can the Alexander Technique help with low back pain?

According to the British Medical Journal YES.

The results of a randomised controlled test funded by the Medical Research Council and the NHS concluded that lessons in the Alexander Technique give long term benefit to chronic low back pain sufferers significantly decreasing days in pain and improving functioning and quality of life of patients.

The skilled diagnosis and treatment of the medical profession may do a wonderful job of removing your pain. Unfortunately the effects may be short lived if you continue to use your body incorrectly.

If your problem is caused by habits of unconscious muscular tension then your pain will probably return. Every time you sit, stand or bend in your habitual way you risk re-injuring your back and preventing it from healing.

Lessons in the Alexander Technique offer an individualised approach to develop skills that help people to recognise, understand and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination. The practice and theory of the Technique, in conjunction with preliminary findings of changes in postural tone and its dynamic adaptability to changes in load and position, support the hypothesis that it could potentially reduce back pain by limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving coordination and flexibility and decompressing the spine
BMJ Aug ’08.

Alexander students  are taught how to influence the quality of their muscle tone and the length of their muscles by becoming aware in a very sensitive way, that how they think and  react to what is happening to them has an important and direct effect on their muscle tone.

Thinking affects movement. Or how we think affects the way we move.

One of the factors in simple postural, mechanical, functional, chronic back pain is thought to be abnormal muscle tone with consequential shortening of the vertical and diagonal muscles along the spine and elsewhere. By learning to release unduly tightened muscles a person can take the pressure off the compressed vertebrae, discs and spinal nerves and so relieve pain.

First find out if something the person is doing is causing the problem and teach them to stop doing it!
FM Alexander

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