Alexander Technique and Pain Relief

Many people come to the Alexander Technique for pain relief. It’s how I 1st came to the technique.

Anyone who spends long hours at a computer can benefit from the AT, including office workers with repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome, a backache, back-pain, a stiff neck or shoulders.

People suffering from arthritis, sciatica and Parkinson’s disease have been helped by the technique. Sufferers from Migraine headaches, TMJ syndrome, tic douloureux, teeth-grinding and other neuropathic disorder have gotten relief.

But even in these cases, the client is not a patient. A patient is someone who is depending upon a physician or therapist for her cure. The AT is re-education, not relaxation or therapy. That sounds harsh, but you need to be in the right frame of mind in order for the AT to really help you. My own case is an example:

For several years I suffered from severe neck pain, originally caused by a scuba-diving accident and further exacerbated by poor €œposture.€ Despite seeking a cure from physical therapy, chiropractors, yoga and other therapies, the pain steadily grew worse until finally I was taking a lot of painkillers and wearing a neck-brace. It was at this low point that I turned to the Alexander Technique. Through the help of good teachers, I realized that though the accident may have triggered the neck pain, I alone was responsible for the recurrent pain: By not knowing how to efficiently use my self (my mind-body), I was continually hurting myself. This realization began the healing process and soon I was able to get rid of the neck-brace and the painkillers.

British Medical Journal on the AT and back-pain:

– 24 AT lessons proved to be most beneficial.    
– Six lessons followed by exercise were about 70% as effective as 24 lessons.
– Long-term benefits unlikely to be due to placebo effect  
– Lessons were one-to-one, provided by experienced AT teachers. 
– This was a scientific randomized controlled trial. 
– 579 patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain.  
– 144 were randomized to normal care, 147 to massage, 144 to six AT lessons, and 144 to 24 AT lessons. 
– Half of each of these groups were randomized to exercise prescription.