Alexander Technique Eases Back Pain

Study Shows Physical Therapy Method Is Useful for Chronic Back Pain
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 19, 2008 — The Alexander technique, a little-known type of physical therapy designed to reduce chronic pain, is more effective at reducing back pain than exercise alone or massage therapy, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal BMJ, tested different back pain treatments using patients from 64 general practices in England. A total of 579 patients with chronic pain or recurrent low back pain participated; 144 were given “normal care,” 147 had massages, 144 took six Alexander technique lessons, and 144 took 24 Alexander technique lessons. Half of each group was also prescribed an aerobic exercise plan, primarily walking.

The basic idea for the Alexander technique, according to the study, is to “reduce back pain by limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving coordination and flexibility and decompressing the spine.” More…