Why Back or Neck Pain? Look at the cause.

pillsThis is a question we seldom ask ourselves, we just treat the symptom. We get manipulated, stretched, massaged, done to, if you like or take a pill.

So ask yourself WHY BACK PAIN?

Now there may be many and varied answers to this question.

Are we out of balance and tense in our movements, ie: poor posture? Are our joints out of alignment? Are we attempting to stand and sit up straight? (what people believe to be good posture, can cause tension and pain). Could we be reacting to stress in a negative way? Have we reacted or over compensated after an illness or accident? Many times an injury in the foot can lead to back pain as we over compensate. Are we bending from the wrong place? Many adults bend from the waist rather than the hip joints which are lower down. How are we responding to gravity? Are we allowing it to pull us down or are we trying to hold ourselves up? Neither is necessary. We could also have a real physical problem, scoliosis or degeneration of the spine. How come some people never get back or neck pain? What are they doing or rather NOT doing that is different to how I use myself?

slouchingIn all the above cases the Alexander Technique may be able to help.

“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 neurosurgeon

The Research:

Significant long-term benefit from Alexander Technique lessons for low back pain has been demonstrated by a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008. (This was partly NHS funded).

This study has not surprised me at all as back pain was the main reason I came to the technique. I tried many other therapies but the pain kept coming back. I found the Alexander Technique to be more powerful as it was less like something being done to me and more about taking conscious control, a really unique way to help myself.

It can be a revelation that we can have a huge influence on our body’s workings just by changing our postural habits and being more bodily aware as we go about our daily lives.

slouch-deskSo what are we up to? Some common things we tend to do in simple activities is over activate our legs putting undue strain on the back, we may also be tensing our necks. We could be bending from the wrong place and end up sitting slumped in effect on our back rather than being supported over our sitting bones. Some of us may try and sit bolt upright but find we end up pulling in our backs and cannot maintain this for long without pain. The problem is that we may not really know what we are doing to ourselves and this is where the Technique can really help.

How it works. In lessons we will teach you how to be more supported from your feet which will have the effect of releasing tension in the legs, right up through the joints, the back , shoulders and especially we encourage freedom in the neck. In effect getting you into better balance and freeing the whole system to work more efficiently without excessive tension.

Back pain is the biggest cause of sickness absence in the UK and lower back pain affects 7 in 10 people at some time in their lives.

BMJ-LogoResearch findings. The study published online by the British Medical Journal, referring to a trial with over 500 patients, offers some hope.

Professor Paul Little of Southampton’s faculty of medicine and his colleagues recruited 579 patients from 64 GP practices. They were either given normal care, massage, 6 lessons, or 24 lessons of Alexander technique (AT). Half the patients in each group were also given an exercise programme involving walking.

Little said “This is a good, large, trial. It is good enough evidence for people to take it seriously.” Of the approaches tested, lessons in the Alexander Technique provided the most benefit. The research reveals that following 24 AT lessons, the average number of activities limited by low back pain had fallen by 42%, and the number of days in pain had decreased from 21 to 3 days per month one year after the trial started. Also a series of 6 lessons followed by GP-prescribed general exercise was about 70% as beneficial as 24 AT lessons alone.

Thousands of people get relief from back pain with the help of The Alexander Technique each year, here are a few of their comments:

“The Alexander Technique works….I recommend it enthusiastically to anyone who has neck pains or back pain” Roald Dahl, writer

“Since my adolescence, I have suffered from a degenerative wear and tear arthritic disease in my spine, which has given me constant lower back pain for more than 20 years. Although I had heard of the Alexander Technique, I hadn’t taken it seriously and thought of it as just another ‘alternative’ therapy. However I have now learnt that this was the therapy I had needed for all those years.

The transformation from having constant lower back pain to being almost free from this burden was remarkable in just a short space of time. It is quite incredible how moving in my old habitual way I feel pain and now moving in an Alexander Technique way I do not. I hope to continue learning more about this life changing therapy and would strongly recommend anyone who is experiencing similar back pain to mine to book a course of lessons ” Hassan Khabbazeh

“The chronic pain diminished dramatically and I learned to sit effortlessly, without having to hold myself upright on the piano stool” Taylor (Musician)

“I no longer have to take painkillers for lower back pain” David (Lecturer)

“Not only has my back pain gone but I feel much more confident and I don’t get so stressed out at work” Vanessa

“I had constant upper back and shoulder pain. I knew the problem was postural – born from sitting at a computer all day – but I didn’t know quite how to alleviate it. I tried the gym, osteopaths and pain killers but nothing provided long term relief. After a few weeks of lessons my pain lessened immensely and I generally felt freer and less tense. Alexander is a whole mind-body technique and the benefits from it have been immeasurable – way beyond alleviating my back pain!” Louisa Cadman

Is this the year you are going to retake control of your body? If so get an Alexander Technique teacher to show you how.

Book online here