Have you ever considered trying the Alexander Technique for back pain relief? Me either, until now. It seems to keep being mentioned or incorporated one way or another into the books I’m reviewing for this site or when I’m gathering research for posts. And I’m certain that some of the various back care doctors I’ve seen over the years have guided me through certain principles of the technique here and there.
The technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, an actor, in the late 1800’s in an effort to cure himself from chronic hoarseness that appeared when he performed. Alexander discovered that the root cause was related to tension in his head and neck which also created muscular strain throughout his body. He contributed his issue to the development of poor habits related to movement and posture which led to the technique as a program to re-train the mind and body to move more freely.
All About The Alexander Technique
• The technique focuses on a mind-body approach to relief tension in your body by re-training you to properly move through everyday activities.
• Teachings incorporate balance, coordination and posture in both a gentle hands-on approach as well as patient education to support the free movement principles.
• The practice has been used and supported by many actors, musicians and other performers to improve the quality of their crafts.
• The possible benefits for back (and neck) pain is that the technique may (studies support) relieve tension in your body and teach you how to properly do all your usual activities which can prevent further suffering.
• Since it’s an educational program rather than exercises or treatments per se, anyone regardless of age or lifestyle should be able to participate (always check with your doctor).
• Although many self-learning options are available, the general recommendation is to take instruction from a Alexander Technique teacher who has completed 3 years training and may also be certified.
• The “classes” which may be individual or group in some cases are generally 30-45 minutes in length, recommended 2-3 times per week and not considered strenuous in any way.
• Although some complained about the amount of time it takes to learn the technique, each individual’s needs will determine the overall length of time needed to achieve results.
• Each session cost will likely vary by location but seems to be comparable to getting a massage and would probably not be covered by insurance.
• Some people report that the “new” movements interfere with habits they created as coping mechanisms and therefore had to address those as well.
Obviously, we have to look at this as a new way of doing our normal activities including walking, sitting, standing and everything else. And I do understand why that may take some time to achieve. But I figure, I’ve spent more than a couple of decades fooling around with back pain so what the heck!
The only instructor even remotely in my area seemed to focus on better performances for musicians so I figure I’ll delve into some of the self-learning selections noted below and see what concepts I can mix into my healing. Please check out the sources for this post for more information and to search for teachers in your neck of the woods.
Looking forward to your comments,
Sources: http://www.alexandertechnique.com/; http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/alternative-care/alexander-technique-back-pain; http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20080819/alexander-technique-eases-back-pain; http://www.amsatonline.org/