The Alexander Technique for Back Pain

The Alexander technique refers to a self-improvement process that takes place over the course of lessons and practice with the goal being to teach you how to become increasingly aware and make gradual changes to the movement and postural habits of your body.

The core focus is on developing and learning awareness of your mind and body, as well as identifying and understanding the muscle tensions during common activities such as lying down, sitting, standing up, walking.

The good thing is that it doesn’t make any hyped claim about medical benefits (even though there’s a number of people who got pain relief from their back pain from using this technique).

The main theory behind Alexander technique for back pain is that if there is less tension and demands on the muscles and structures of the spine, that will decrease the amount of damage and wear and tear.

History of the Alexander Technique

The founder’s name is called Frederick Matthias Alexander and he’s originally an Australian actor who interestingly suffered from hoarseness only when he performed.

Over years and a period of self study in 1887, he developed the principles and discipline of the Alexander Technique when he realized that the increased stresses and tensions may have originated “from his head” but it led to muscle strain throughout his body too.

He also thought that faulty movements lowered kinesthetic perception, so he developed a hands-on system with specific verbal cues to help clients (and patients) stop limiting physical habits, resulting in a more smooth and efficient movements.

Is the Alexander Technique effective with back pain?

  1. 2008: British Medical Journal study followed 579 patients over the course of one year found that Alexander Technique lessons provided benefit to back pain sufferers by giving them relief and reducing recurrent back pains.
  2. A recent Alexander Technique research found that a series of six lessons in combination with a walking exercise program seems to be the most cost efficient and effective treatment option for back pain.
  3. A case study of a patient with 25 years experience in low back pain was found to have significant improvement after treatment using the Alexander technique. What happened was that the symmetry between her balance responses and the intensity and frequency of her lower back pain significantly.

Alexander Technique Approach

The Alexander Technique is a very good way to learn how your body moves, and to make your movements even more effective and efficient.

This technique includes one-on-one lessons with qualified instructors who can teach you about topics such as:

  1. How to comfortably sit up straight
  2. How to reduce overuse of superficial musculature in posture
  3. How to increase proprioceptive awareness
  4. How to become more attuned to the body’s warning signs of tension and compression.

It’s been around since 1887, so it’s more than 100 years old (135 at this point in writing), and still going on strong.

The only downside with this technique is that it’s “not” a medical technique so it’s not going to be covered under insurance (yet) because it’s seen as alternative or investigational and not a treatment.

Where To Next?

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