In Australia, chronic back pain is so widespread that up to 80 per cent of us are likely to have it at some time in our lives. After headache and the common cold, back pain is one of the most common conditions seen by GPs and the most common cause of time off work. But the good news is that through The Alexander Technique back pain can be conquered.

A recent study published by The British Medical Journal and run by researchers at the Universities of Southampton and Bristol, found that people who were well-motivated and trained in The Alexander Technique reported less pain.

The 579 patients involved in the trial were either given 24 Alexander Technique lessons, 6 lessons, massage or normal GP care. Fifty per cent of patients in each group were also given an exercise program of brisk walking for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Massage relieved the pain for the first three months, but the benefit was not long-lasting. However the 24 Alexander Technique lessons led to a significant improvement in quality of life and a reduction of days in pain. One year on patients had the ability to do things which had previously had been difficult, such as walking and household jobs. Similarly for those who combined the six lessons with an exercise routine they also saw significant improvement.

For most of us, back problems can be prevented by proper use of the spine and keeping it in good shape. Learning The Alexander Technique enables people to recognise, understand and avoid poor habits affecting posture and muscular coordination.

Offering an individualised approach, The Alexander Technique develops skills which decompress the spine, limit muscle spasm, strengthen posture, and improve coordination and flexibility.

The Alexander Technique, developed in the 1890s by Australian actor Frederick Alexander, focuses on aligning the head, neck and back muscles which form the core of the body. As well as reducing pain, The Technique eases tension and stress, and when combined with exercise further enhances a person’s wellbeing.

Read the original article British Medical Journal Article