I’m guessing your back pain has been around for some time?

Dr Brian Goodall's Alexander Technique Testimonial

I think I am very fortunate to have found James Crow to instruct me in the Alexander Technique. I went for help with my chronic headaches and low back pain, which have improved significantly. However I have also found a great insight into my body and my mind and into the relationship between them. This was very unexpected.
After just a few sessions I have learned how to look after myself better and for this I will always be grateful. Thank you James. Dr Brian Goodall, GP, Mottram.

You’ve probably tried a few things, and had some short term success, but still have the problem?

The problem is that many therapies for back pain are short term manipulations like massage, or crick and crack you around to give you some short term relief.

“At last the cure for back pain?” – The Guardian.

Where Alexander Technique differs is that it teaches you to carry yourself well, and be aware of how you move, how you stand, how you sit. At the same time an Alexander Technique teacher teaches you how to remember not to slump, or sit badly, or drive badly, or crane your neck over a computer.

“The great news is my back is amazingly good which is due, in no small part, to the lessons I had with you.  I am even running now, with no pain!” Sue R, Cheshire.

By learning to use your body in this new and better way, you’re giving yourself a chance to heal , so you can be sure the results last. It’s my job to easse your pain, and show you how to stay in control of your own body, so the benefits last and last.

“James has undoubtedly saved my spinal health and that of hundreds like me. During my working day I regularly reflect the time I spent learning from James. I regularly conclude that it was the best financial investment I ever made; I value my spinal and mental health highly! Thanks, James – I look forward to returning for a refresher session soon.” Sam, teacher, Stockport.

Here’s what The Telegraph has to say about Alexander Technique:

Alexander posture technique ‘most effective at reducing back pain’
An alternative therapy used to improve posture is more effective at treating back problems than conventional treatments, research has found. The first major scientific trial of the Alexander technique discovered that after a year’s treatment, it could dramatically reduce symptoms. Massage, by contrast, offered little benefit after three months. The technique teaches people to move and hold their bodies correctly by using frequently forgotten muscles to aid balance, and avoiding poor posture. Professor Paul Little, a primary care specialist who led the study, said: “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.”

It helps people overcome problems, such as hunching over at the desk or while climbing stairs, by making them aware of overusing some muscles and neglecting others. By bringing greater balance in muscle use it allows the neglected muscles to strengthen without the need for exercise.

Just look at the facts, published in the British Medical Journal after a £750,000 NHS randomised control trial (the gold benchmark in studies):

  • 6 lessons roughly halved average days per month with chronic back pain from 21 to 11 – even one year later!
  • 24 lessons will leave you with only 3 days in pain per month (compared with 21 days per month for the control group who received usual GP care alone) – an 86% reduction one year after the trial started. That’s right, a full year after the trial started, the results still held.
  • Significant improvements in function and quality of life, with a 42% increase in the number of everyday activities that could be carried out without being limited by back pain, compared with the control group.
  • Of the approaches tested (AT lessons, massage and usual GP care), lessons in the Alexander Technique provided the most benefit.
  • Since the effect of massage on ability to carry out everyday activities was no longer significant by one year, but the effect of AT lessons was maintained, the trial authors concluded that the long-term benefits of taking AT lessons are unlikely to be due to placebo effects of attention and touch and more likely to be due to active learning and application of the AT in daily life.
  • There were no adverse effects recorded in the trial by any of the 288 participants in the AT groups who together received a total of over 2,400 AT lessons.
  • 6 AT lessons followed by an exercise prescription (mostly walking for 30 minutes 5 days per week, building up gradually, applying the AT while exercising) resulted in 11 days per month in pain at 1 year (compared with 3 days per month for the 24-lesson group) and 72% of the improvement in number of daily activities that could be carried out after 24 lessons.

Here’s what the Daily Mail has to say about it:

A study of almost 600 patients suffering chronic or recurrent back pain found significant improvements after a year among those having lessons in the Alexander Technique.
They spent just three days in pain each month, compared with 21 days for those getting normal NHS care. Participants were taught on a one-to-one basis. They learned to sit, stand and move correctly, and they also worked on their posture. After a year, the researchers found that exercise combined with AT lessons significantly reduced pain and improved functioning, while massage offered little benefit after three months. Patients getting normal care (such as painkillers, physiotherapy or GP referral) had 21 days of back pain, compared with four among those having a full 24-lesson course of the Alexander Technique. Co-author Professor Paul Little of the University of Southampton said: ‘This is a significant step forward in the long-term management of low back pain. The results of this study revealed that the Alexander Technique can help back pain. It probably does this by limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving coordination and flexibility and decompressing the spine.’

“I saw James at a time when I was suffering severe back pain and he was enormously helpful. His guidance and advice was invaluable in my recovery and I would highly recommend him. Thank you James.” Pam T, mum and singer, Wilmslow.

Find out here about how I can help your back pain.