Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alexander Technique Offers Long-term Relief For Back Pain

Date:
August 20, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Alexander technique lessons in combination with an exercise program offer long-term effective treatment for chronic back pain, according to a new study.

Alexander technique lessons in combination with an exercise programme offer long-term effective treatment for chronic back pain, according to a study published on the British Medical Journal website. Back pain causes more disability than almost any other condition in Western societies, but very few effective long-term treatments are available to patients.

Related Articles


Previous research shows that the Alexander technique* and massage may help relieve back pain in the short-term, but little is known about the long-term outcomes.

A team of researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Bristol compared the effectiveness of massage, exercise and the Alexander technique for the relief of back pain over one year.

Professor Little and colleagues recruited 579 patients with chronic or recurrent back pain from 64 general practices in the south and west of England. Patients were randomised to receive normal care, massage, six Alexander technique lessons, or 24 Alexander technique lessons. Half of the patients from each of the groups were also prescribed an exercise programme (brisk walking for 30 minutes per day five times a week).

Patients were sent disability questionnaires at three months and one year to record which activities were limited by their back pain. For example, walking more slowly than usual or getting out of the house often.

The authors found that after one year, exercise combined with lessons in the Alexander technique significantly reduced pain and improved functioning whereas massage offered little benefit after three months.

After one year of Alexander technique lessons, patients reported fewer days with back pain over the past four weeks. Patients receiving normal care reported 21 days of back pain, compared to those who received 24 lessons of Alexander technique who experienced 18 fewer days of pain. Those who had six lessons reported 10 fewer days of pain and those having massage said they had seven fewer days of pain.

In addition, patients receiving Alexander technique lessons reported improved quality of life.

Interestingly, six one-to-one lessons in the Alexander technique followed by exercise had nearly as much benefit (72%) as 24 lessons in the Alexander technique alone.

The researchers conclude that: "Massage is helpful in the short term…[but] the Alexander technique retained effectiveness at one year…the results should apply to most patients with chronic or recurrent back pain."

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Maurits van Tulder from VU University in the Netherlands, says that exercise therapy has also been shown to be effective for chronic lower back pain and calls for further research to compare the Alexander technique with different types of exercise.

*The Alexander technique involves a personalised approach to help patients develop lifelong skills for self care to improve postural tone and muscular coordination. It is an educational technique taught to be practiced by patients on their own and is not a form of exercise.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Alexander Technique Offers Long-term Relief For Back Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213029.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, August 20). Alexander Technique Offers Long-term Relief For Back Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213029.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Alexander Technique Offers Long-term Relief For Back Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213029.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins