Here's what came into my Inbox this morning. It's from the e-newsletter, Bottom Line Health. "100-Year-Old Solution to Back Pain -- Alexander Technique Body Movement Method Works Better than Other Therapies for Back Pain, Even a Year Later "
Media/journalists: Dana Ben-Yehuda is the Media Spokesperson for the American Society for the Alexander Technique. Contact her at dbenyehuda(at)comcast(dot)net
Wishing you a happy day!
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
February 8, 2009
In This Issue...
100-Year-Old Solution to Back Pain
Alexander Technique Body Movement Method Works Better than Other Therapies for Back Pain, Even a Year Later
Special from Bottom Line's Daily Health News
February 9, 2009
If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may want to consider a century-old, non-invasive, drug-free treatment method called the Alexander technique, which reeducates people on how to support and move their bodies. Recently an English study involving 579 patients with back pain put the Alexander technique to the test and demonstrated that it was effective and provided sustainable relief.
Researchers established four groups of patients -- one took six Alexander technique lessons... another took 24 lessons... a third group had massage therapy only... and the fourth group had what the study team called "normal care." (Normal care was defined as care that would be offered by a general practitioner, and could include pain medications, non-mandatory referral to physiotherapy, etc.) All four groups were further divided in half, with one half walking briskly for 30 minutes a day and the others not exercising at all. Participants answered questionnaires about pain and function improvement at three months and one year. Results: The two Alexander technique groups reported significantly reduced back pain and improved functioning, including after 12 months, while there was little change in the massage and normal care groups. Among those who took just six lessons but who also did brisk walking, improvement was almost as great as those who took 24 lessons but did not exercise.
To find out more about the Alexander technique, I called Hope Gillerman, who has taught classes at physical rehabilitation centers and had a private practice in New York City for more than 25 years. Methods like acupuncture can offer immediate pain relief, notes Gillerman, but people with back pain also need a long-term, self-healing regimen -- and that is what the Alexander technique is. Most back pain comes from incorrect posture, poor body mechanics and excessive muscle tension, which increases when people are fatigued, angry, upset or in one position for a long time. Under duress, tension automatically builds in the back of the neck and the shoulders, pulling the heavy head downward into the spine, which causes compression. The fact that the pain becomes chronic further exacerbates all of these problems, Gillerman points out... since pain is upsetting and stops people from doing things and moving as they normally would, people develop more harmful habits. The Alexander technique can be effective because it addresses and helps to correct not only the cause of the injury, but also those harmful habits brought on by the pain.
HOW IT WORKS
At the heart of the Alexander technique is learning to keep the spine erect and properly supported. Gillerman explains that most people are unstable and "collapsed" through their torso, and hold and move their limbs in a rigid and stiff pattern. Without proper muscular support, the spine compresses, harming joints and tissues.
Here are three ways Gillerman helps her students envision what to do...
Continue reading "
Bottom Line's Daily Health News Reports on Alexander Technique for Back Pain