August 18, 2014

Posture and Pain - Musicians and the Alexander Technique

A musician is in pain and recently wrote to me for a lesson time. However, he's working so many hours he doesn't have time to come in. Catch 22...

Sound familiar?

I wrote to him, offering some times and suggested that it's a matter of priorities.

I told him this story (true!):

Last month, I taught a series of five workshops for Music at Menlo. I had a group of 44 young chamber musicians, ages 11 – 27.

Many of them had tension problems or pain, in fact...

Even the 11 year old had pain...

I worked with them as much as possible in the time allotted, and many of them noticed a difference very quickly. Young people recover quickly when they unwind tension and undo poor posture.

I left them with this message.

If there is ONE thing you take away from this workshop it’s that:

It’s not supposed to hurt!
Apply what we’ve learned here.
But if you are in pain, Please Get Help.


Not only isn’t it supposed to hurt, it doesn’t HAVE to hurt.

Many times, pain in playing is connected with posture. Alexander Technique has helped many musicians improve their posture and play without pain. Did you know, it is required study at Juilliard, in fact, you'll see FIVE Alexander teachers listed on their site.

Make the time...please...

If you're in the Peninsula/South Bay, call me. If you're me! I'll connect you with someone in your local area.



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August 21, 2012

British Medical Journal: Introduction to the Alexander Technique

Hello friends,

Who comes for Alexander Technique lessons?

The British Medical Journal gives an overview:

If you have back or neck pain, or if you are a dancer or musician and would like to improve your performance, I encourage you to take a look at this video.

To your health!


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July 11, 2012

Alexander Technique - Workshop for Dancers

Hello my friends,

Come to an Alexander Technique workshop at Dance Vita Ballroom Studio this Saturday, July 14, 3:30-4:30 pm, in San Mateo: Alexander Technique - Alleviate Pain and Improve Line and Flow

This will be the second workshop in a series, however I’ll refresh the basics, so everyone is welcome.

Note from last week: some people found relief from pain just in that one hour. I tell you, this is helpful and if you have back pain or you dance, I hope you come!

* Alleviate pain
* Release more freely into length
* Improve body awareness

Continue reading "Alexander Technique - Workshop for Dancers" »

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July 11, 2012

Scientist's Experience with the Alexander Technique and Back Pain

Hello my friends!

Do you have back pain? This is a brief video with one scientist's view of the Alexander Technique. Sharon Gourdji came for lessons because of low back pain that had persisted over a number of years. Half a dozen lessons later, she is feeling better.

She is also a dancer and has some insights on unexpected benefits that she found:

Come and dance! Come gain freedom from back pain. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a large scale study on low back pain and Alexander Technique. Results showed dramatic reduction in pain with long-lasting results and zero - Zero - serious adverse effects. Patients went from 21 days of pain a month, down to 3 days of pain a month, with 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique, alone.

Come out of pain and into life again.



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July 5, 2012

Taking a Break from Pain!

Hello my friends,

So nice that you stopped by to stay in touch. I've been thinking about taking a day off, in a different way.

I'm taking today off from noticing any aches and pains.

Just for today, I'm going to focus on what feels good and what does work in my body.

We always notice what hurts...sometimes we even notice what used to hurt and focus backwards.

Today, I’m paying attention to what doesn’t hurt.

I’m counting my blessings, muscle by muscle, bone by bone...

Let's notice what feels good and practice THAT.

We’re always training ourselves, consciously or otherwise. Sometimes pain becomes the focus of our lives because we are also training our selves to notice it all the time. Take a mental break...for a moment...

Come, play with me today...take a moment to notice the good things.

How do you feel when you take a moment to smell the blossoms on a lemon tree? I notice how sweet they smell and that there is nothing else in my mind at that moment but pleasure.

LemonBlossoms.jpg Coming back to my senses and out of my head for a moment.



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January 26, 2012

Alexander Technique/ A New Year

Hello my friends,

Thanks so much for stopping by again. It's always nice to take a moment to say hi. If you are on a personal quest for health and fitness, I'm glad to talk with you. I am very thankful for my own health and do not take it for granted!

Here are some quick highlights of the past year:

- SJSU Dance Dept – Guest instructor

- Journal for California Dental Hygienists Assn (CDHA) I was requested to write an article for this reviewed Journal. The issue was later picked up and republished by the American Dental Hygienists’ Assn. (ADHA.) .) Click on this link to download the article.

- East West Bookstore – a lively talk/demo of Alexander Technique

- Radio interview with Bonnie Coleen on KEST radio. I share some stories about the Technique and the essence of its power for transformation. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Do you know someone who may benefit from Alexander Technique? I am grateful for your referrals. For anyone who's curious to find out if this may help them, I'm offering a free, 20 minute telephone consultation.

with appreciation,


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December 2, 2011

ABC News: Freedom from Back Pain without Drugs/Alexander Technique

Hello my friends,

Did you drop in because you saw the news on ABC television, about how to be free from back pain without drugs?

Or are you an old friend who visits now and again?

Charlotte Keenan, a researcher for ABC Action News was looking for a way out of back pain. She came across a report about a method that promises to be drug free and free her from pain. It's called the Alexander Technique. It is moving into the mainstream. Come find out...

She investigated with a reporter's inquisitive mind and she found that it is connected with awareness and retraining how we move.

Easy, right?

Not so simple if you've ever tried to do it on your own. Have you ever tried to change your golf swing? Or maintain good posture while you sit and text from your phone? It's not so easy to do on your own. After all, if it were that easy, we'd all be doing it. Get some input from a pro and your progress will be faster.

Here's a video from ABC Action News
Ali Gorman, R. N., reports that a method is becoming mainstream and appears to be effective:

I am an Alexander Teacher. I help people out of pain. Are you a little bit curious?

Give me a call! I'll give you a free, 20 minute telephone consultation.

Here's to a life in Joy and out of pain!



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October 11, 2011

International Alexander Awareness Week

Hello my friends!

The American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) Gains National Visibility

Over 600 teachers nationwide, and 3,500 teachers internationally, are reaching out to help people understand how this work helps relieve back pain by 85%, help balance, reduce tension and help people relieve stress, both mind and body. This is the 8th annual International Alexander Awareness Week!

Find an event near you!

I will be speaking at Jenny Craig in Mountain View. The way you carry yourself impacts how you feel inside. Walk Tall! Be Light!

Carry yourself well and feel a sense of your spine in every meaning of the word. When you are centered in yourself, it is easier to make better choices.

Come look 5-10 pounds thinner instantly by improving your posture.

See you at Jenny Craig!


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September 12, 2011

Dental Hygienists (CDHA) - Learning to Work Pain Free - the Alexander Technique

Hello friends!

I am very happy to share an article in the current Journal for the California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA).

Click on this link to download the article: Working Pain-Free: The Alexander Technique

Dental hygienists often crouch over people, work under time pressure and are often in pain. This article is about a way of working pain free. Please feel free to read - and share!

Cathy Draper, RDH, MS, and editor of the CDHA Journal, also writes:

"The focus of this issue of the CHDA Journal is pain. Whether you are a clinician, educator or a student, you will find timely information on anesthetic options, techniques and ergonomics to incorporate into your daily practice. Our ability to provide effective pain control can improve the outcomes in the care we deliver and ultimately change the public’s perceptions about oral health and dental treatment. "

Download the full issue of the current (Summer 2011) CDHA Journal. For your convenience: the article on Alexander technique is on pages 22-23.

With appreciation to my dental hygienist who always provides me with compassionate care, and to all dental hygienists everywhere.

In health,


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September 2, 2011

Alexander Technique: A Balm For Back Pain? on NPR

Hello my friends!

It is morning and I'm sitting here with my coffee, listening to NPR. Sitting here reminds me that too much sitting leaves many of us aching at the end of the day. Sitting is literally a pain.

Musicians have double trouble; some of them sit to play and all of them use their hands and arms in repetitive motions. There must be something wrong with the way we sit, the way we use our arms, or it wouldn't hurt. It's not supposed to; really, it's not.

Basically, we need to figure out what it is that we are doing that is connected with our pain. Are we slumping? Tensing up and hunching over? Obviously, if we could tell, we wouldn't do it! What are some ways out of this endless loop? Keep reading...for one of them...

Continue reading "Alexander Technique: A Balm For Back Pain? on NPR" »

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May 10, 2011

Huffington Post - on Back Pain and Alexander Technique

Hello my friends,

Today's Huffington Post has an article by blogger, *Dr. Loren Fishman: The Ten Commandments of Back Pain.

Amongst her recommendations, Dr. Fishman recommends Alexander Technique. She said that her patients say that it "works wonders for back pain."

Take a look...give me a call. Living pain free is a worthwhile goal.




*Dr. Fishman is the Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City.

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May 25, 2010

One Man's Quest to Cure his Back Pain: Alexander Technique and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Hello friends!

Today in the Wall St. Journal, "What's Your Workout? Sharpening Mind and Body with Martial Arts," by Jen Murphy, tells the story of one man's quest to cure his back pain.

Mr. Mark Fromm practiced martial arts and boxing in his teens and early 20's. He was forced to stop and suffered from back pain for years after a car crash in his college years, and tried many things to cure his pain.

What worked for him: the Alexander Technique, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and yiquan .

Mr. Fromm emphasizes need for mindfulness in all activities. Yes! Whether you're trying to solve a software problem or a body problem the first step is awareness. All of his practices bring one into the present moment.

Here’s the video of Mr. Fromm and his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


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March 28, 2009

Forgive for Good, Let Go of Pain

Hello friends,

Lately, I am reading a new book: Forgive for Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin, and enjoying it very much.

It's all about forgiveness, and that necessarily includes looking at grievances that we can learn to forgive.

Dr. Luskin talks about how much mindspace we give to grievances in our lives. He uses the example of a flight controller's screen that shows planes flying around as dark spots on the screen. They are an analogy for the dark feelings we get when we harbor grievances. Dr. Luskin goes on to say that dwelling on wrongs that have been done to us is like making those planes stay in the air forever, circling round and round. They are a corollary to how much mindspace we give our grievances. He suggests letting the planes land...

I tried it and what I noticed when my planes of dark feelings landed, is that what I was left looking at was the sky. Clear, blue sky (and my imagination added just a few, small puffy white clouds.) The sky was wide open and all things were possible. I felt sunny inside.

Reading this book is causing an attitudinal shift in me. It is making me wake up and look for the sky instead of the dark planes in my life. I'm learning to let the planes settle and focus on the sky. 1165224_blue_sky.jpg

I started thinking about applying the principle of dark planes to pain. Pain is like dark planes that become the focus of our attention, to the exclusion of the sky. Often times when various places hurt, we ignore everything else and our entire awareness may become focused on pain.

I think that this is one of the ways Alexander Technique helps with pain. In the practice, we stop focusing on the dark planes that are our aches and pains and let ourselves notice the whole and flow with it. So, my friends, let your mind wander a bit. Let it wander up and down your back and out your shoulders, and on to the world beyond. Try a lesson if you're curious; it is easier to learn this skill with a teacher.

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March 17, 2009

O, the Oprah Magazine, Back Pain and the Alexander Technique

Good morning, my friends!


Here's some news!

The April, 2009 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine is available today, March 17th.

It has a very nice article about back pain and the Alexander Technique, titled A Dramatic Cure for Back Pain. I am very happy to have been interviewed during the writing process even though not quoted, and I hope you enjoy the article!

The article discusses the study on back pain and Alexander Technique that was published in the British Medical Journal on August 19, 2008.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please share this with everyone!

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March 9, 2009

Twin Cities Live: Back Pain and the Alexander Technique

Hi there!

It's so nice to see you again!

The Applied Alexander® blog is all the Alexander Technique (AT, for short), life musings and interesting tidbits, and an exploration of how AT is relevant to the entire mind-body continuum.

Today's post is about the Technique, from a different point of view.

Dr. Craig Bowron only had one lesson from my colleague, Lauren Hill. He did the best one-lesson job I have ever heard of communicating clearly about the way it feels.

He was interviewed on Twin Cities Live, KSTP Channel 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Here's what he had to say:

Thanks so much for stopping by; come back again soon.

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February 9, 2009

Bottom Line's Daily Health News Reports on Alexander Technique for Back Pain

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.


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" »

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February 7, 2009

MRI scans and Low Back Pain

Hello friends,

Here's news about MRI scans and low back pain.

Tara Parker-Pope reported on interesting information about low back pain, X-rays and MRIs. In her article, she reports that many people who have back pain undergo diagnostic tests that are not helpful. Sometimes, as a result of these tests, people undergo treatment that may not be necessary. It can be expensive as well as painful.

Ms. Parker-Pope cites a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. This study showed that 2 out of 3 people scanned with MRI showed evidence of disk problems. It concluded: Given the high prevalence of these findings and of back pain, the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrusions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental. Indeed; the people scanned were not in pain.

Ms. Parker-Pope also writes about another study, this one, published in The Lancet.

The report states in part: “Analysis of results from the 6 included studies shows that lumbar imaging for low back pain without features suggestive of a serious underlying condition does not, on average, improve clinical outcomes. This finding particularly applies to patients with acute or subacute, non-specific low back pain evaluated in primary care settings.”

At the same time, most people suffer with back pain at some point in time. According to Tara Parker-Pope’s article, that number is roughly two-thirds of us.

What is a person to do?

A study published in the British Medical Journal on Aug. 19, 2008, shows 86% reduction in number of days in pain per month following 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique. Patients went from 21 days of pain per month down to 3 days of pain.

Check it out:

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January 27, 2009

A rose is a rose is a rose....

Hello again...this is a nice habit we are creating. We stop and have a chat and stop to breathe for a moment or two.

I often meditate on the mental image of a rose, but even better, is to put a real rose in a glass of water and study it.

Look at it closely, till you can see the texture of the petals. Breathe in deeply; does the fragrance smell sweet? Spicy? Look at the gradations of color in the rose. How open is it?

Look at the stem and notice the leaves. Are the edges spiky or smooth? How big are the thorns? Does it have teeny-tiny little hairs that are thin thorns, or smooth skin and big, bold, honest thorns that are large enough to see before you impale yourself upon them?

Breathe in the fragrance of your rose for a minute or two. Even if you do it in your imagination, tell me, now how do you feel?

The same thing can happen with pure thought in the body. The Alexander Technique is a good way to learn this skill and apply it to benefit your well-being.

What fascinates me is where this skill may be applied in life. How can we use it to improve our relationships? How may it enhance the quality of our lives?

See you again tomorrow....let's see where this may go.....1093449_flower_macro.jpg

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December 17, 2008

A way out of Back Pain without Surgery

An open letter to the NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams.

re: NBC Nightly News: Back Story

October 6, 2008, "Back Pain Epidemic Outpaces Treatment Options."

and October 7, 2008, "Cutting Down on Back Pain without Surgery."

The videos from NBC's broadcast are at the end of this post.

In October, the NBC Nightly News published two videos and two broadcasts about back pain. In response to this story, I’d like to bring to your attention as well as the attention of Brian Williams and Robert Bazell, two articles recently published in the British Medical Journal that answer the questions raised on the Nightly News.

1) “Back Pain Epidemic Outpaces Treatment Options”
Brian Williams aired this story on back pain and treatment options. The numbers quoted were beyond belief: we spend $90 billion a year in the US on back pain treatments; $60,000 per surgery.

2) The following night, Mr. Williams showed the video, “Cutting Down on Back Pain Without Surgery.” He began by saying that they double-checked the numbers from Monday's broadcast because they were so unbelievable; it turns out that they’re real. Robert Bazell, NBC News Chief science correspondent, ends the video saying, "...but experts say most people should try a non-surgical treatment first."

In answer:
3) A recent study shows 85% reduction in back pain without surgery and with zero serious adverse effects, through 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique. The study results were published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on August 19, 2008; it is known as the ATEAM Trial. See:

4) On December 11, 2008, the BMJ published another article as well as an online video: "ATEAM Trial; the Economic Evaluation,” about the cost-effectiveness of the Alexander Technique as shown by the study. See:

The American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) provides the following results from the study:

579 patients were involved in this multi-center clinical trial, which is one of the few major studies to show significant long-term benefits for patients with chronic non-specific low-back pain. BMJ, 2008;337:a884

One year after the trial started and following 24 Alexander Technique lessons the number of days in pain fell by 85% compared with the control group. The average number of activities limited by back pain had fallen by 42%.

In real numbers:
Control Group = 21 days of pain per month
After 6 lessons plus exercise = 11 days of pain per month
After 24 lessons = 3 days in pain per month

I am reaching out on behalf of the millions of people who have or will suffer with back pain. Surely this method offers sufficient potential to be investigated and reported on by the NBC Nightly News. If the results are as published in the British Medical Journal, then this is indeed an idea whose time has come. The Alexander Technique: a non-invasive, gentle, educational method for self-empowered care. The Technique is recognized in Israel, England, Australia, and many other countries from Switzerland to Brazil. It has been in continuous practice for over 100 years and is offered at over 50 Universities and Conservatories across the United States.

It is time to save money and save backs.

Please let me know how I may be helpful in providing information or pointing you to sources to investigate this further.

Respectfully yours,

Dana Ben-Yehuda
Certified Alexander Technique Teacher, M.AmSAT

Contact me at: dbenyehuda(at)comcast(dot)net


Continue reading "A way out of Back Pain without Surgery" »

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October 8, 2008

NBC Nightly News: Back Story

Back Pain Epidemic Outpaces Treatment Options

This is the first of a series aired the week of October 6, 2008, by the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, on back pain and treatment options. The numbers are beyond belief: we spend $90 billion a year in the US on back pain treatments; $60,000 per surgery.

The following night they showed this video, Cutting Down on Back Pain Without Surgery. Brian Williams began by saying that they double-checked the numbers from Monday's broadcast because they were so unbelievable.

They're real. Check it out:

Robert Bazell ends the video saying, "...but experts say most people should try a non-surgical treatment first."

A recent study shows 85% reduction in back pain without surgery and with zero serious adverse effects, through 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique. It was published on August 19, 2008 in the British Medical Journal.

Contact me at: dbenyehuda(at)comcast(dot)net

Dana Ben-Yehuda, M. AmSAT
Media Spokesperson American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT)
and Certified Alexander Teacher

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September 13, 2008

Study Results Show 85% Reduction in Back Pain

The American Society for the Alexander Technique announced:

A clinical trial published in the British Medical Journal show Alexander Technique lessons are effective and provide long-term benefit.

As reported by the British Medical Journal on August 19, 2008, back pain sufferers who took 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique had 85% less back pain, one year after the study began. The number of days in pain fell to only three per month, vs. 21 days in pain in the control group. The average number of activities limited by back pain had fallen by 42%. Six lessons followed by exercise were about 70% as effective as 24 lessons.

There were zero adverse effects by any of the participants who received Alexander Technique lessons.

Click here to download a copy of the press release in PDF format.

Or read it here, online.

Continue reading "Study Results Show 85% Reduction in Back Pain" »

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March 1, 2008

Chronic Pain: Breaking the Cycle

A very dear friend recently brought my attention to an article about chronic pain, and a possible connection with the Alexander Technique.

Here’s the article:

Chronic Pain Harms Brain's Wiring Friday, Feb. 8, 2008 (HealthDay News)

The article discusses a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, February 6, 2008 issue. The idea is that being in chronic pain causes the neurons in your brain to fire continuously, and that in turn could cause permanent changes that are damaging to your brain. The researchers’ theory is that chronic pain causes changes in the brain. Those changes could be the connection between pain, depression and other difficulties.

Pain can be increased dramatically by our own response to it. The biological pain level can be multiplied by a factor of ten due to our own reaction, fear and tightening up. Most of us tighten up in response to pain, but that can make pain ten times worse. Therefore, by learning to loosen up we may reduce or eliminate the effect of the multiple.

If the study is basically correct and chronic pain harms the brain’s wiring, then techniques that interrupt the chronic pain cycle may help your brain as well as unhooking you from the pain cycle.


Continue reading "Chronic Pain: Breaking the Cycle" »

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January 31, 2008

Pain Management

What happens when people are in pain?

The first thing you do is hold your breath. If you stub your toe, the first thing you do is gasp! And hold your breath.

And when we’re in pain the next thing we do is tighten up. Sometimes that’s a good thing; the body is protecting the injured part. But when pain itself is the problem, tightening up only makes it worse; one physician told me that it makes pain ten times worse when you tighten up.

Being in chronic pain is a problem in and of itself; whatever the underlying cause, the pain itself needs to be managed.


If you tighten up and hold your breath, the pain is likely to hurt worse. And that creates a vicious cycle; pain hurts, tighten up, that makes it hurt more, tighten up some more.

When you want to break the cycle, medication is often the first place we look. But medicine has side effects and it can also lose its effectiveness, over time. The body becomes used to it and needs more and more to do the same job.

People often turn to alternative methods.

One way that has helped many people is the Alexander Technique. The Technique is a hands-on, educational method for neuro-muscular re-education.

OK, you ask, what does that mean in English? And since it’s an educational method, how does it help with pain management, anyway?

Continue reading "Pain Management" »

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