A Balanced Approach to Back Care

“97% of people with back pain could benefit by learning the Alexander Technique–it is only a very small minority of back pain sufferers that require medical intervention such as surgery.”—Jack Stern, spinal neurosugeon

Constance has synthesized 15 years of student success in reducing or eliminating back pain into a lesson learning experience expressly geared for people with back pain or people who want to prevent a future flare-up.

Back pain usually stems from something we do—either in our posture or movement. If it comes from an injury, we can heal better and faster by learning how to balance our bodies as we heal. If the pain comes from the ongoing way we do our everyday movements, we can learn to re-balance ourselves in those movements. Sitting, standing and walking are often done out of balance. Even the instruction “Stand up straight and pull your shoulders back” trains us to be out of balance. Many people have tried to hold this posture since they were children, but it is unsustainable. Our bodies were designed to function in an ideal balance that is not compressed or rigid, but easily upright and mobile.

_D3_1001.1 copyEvery student who has come to me with back pain has been helped through Alexander lessons. Training yourself to pay attention to how you use your body and learning the basic skills of balanced posture changes the cycle of tightness, compression and pain.

In 2008, the British Medical Journal reported on a randomized controlled trial involving 579 back pain patients that compared the effects of Alexander Technique, massage, exercise and no treatment for chronic back pain.

 

Measurements taken one year after the study showed:

  • After 24 Alexander Technique lessons patients averaged only 3 days of back pain per month
  • After just six Alexander Technique lessons and a program of daily walking patients averaged 11 days of back pain per month.

By contrast, the study showed that:

  • With no treatment, patients averaged 21 days of back pain per month
  • After 24 sessions of massage, patients still averaged 14 days of back pain per month

Conclusion

The researchers concluded that a prescription of six Alexander Technique lessons was both effective and a good value for the cost.

See the study (with a short video) here.