Physiotherapy Newsletter

Physio’s Newsletter by James Crow
Below are the newsletter contents published by Wilmslow Physio in 2009…
Alexander Instructor James Crow
James trained in the Lake District and has a degree in Cognitive Science – the study of the human mind and the workings of thinking, including psychology and philosophy. His training in the Alexander Technique grew out of a personal interest in the root causes of pain, in particular those personal habits and traits that cause the physical problems and pain that so many of us experience. As a long-term pain sufferer he found great benefit in using Alexander Technique, and trained as a teacher to help others benefit. James runs clinics at Wilmslow Physio on Fridays.
Focus on: Alexander Technique and Back Pain, from: James Crow, Alexander Instructor
What Happens?
Alexander Technique aims to correct postural habits that cause pain. The teacher firstly finds out what the person is doing that may be causing the problem, then teaches them to use Alexander Technique to overcome it.
In Back Pain?
One of the factors thought to influence back pain is abnormal back and trunk muscle activity. Uncoordinated muscle tone and tension in the muscles around the spine is thought to compress the vertebrae and discs, leading to pain. In dealing with this, your Alexander teacher uses gentle hands-on contact and verbal explanation to help you attend to head position, poise, and therefore a lengthening of the spine. This attention to position and movement helps facilitate normal posture tone and coordination and eradicates the poor habits that adversely affect the back. Constructive feedback helps you prevent the intrusion of unwanted self-damaging habits so that you can make better use of your muscles.
Lessons are tailored to your individual needs and capabilities and extended into daily activities, such as moving from sitting to standing, walking, bending and lifting. The aim is that you continue to apply the Alexander Technique in everyday life, so reducing episodes of back pain and ultimately avoiding them.
The evidence?
A recent multi-centre trial has proven the benefits of Alexander Technique. The trial, published in the British Medical Journal, studied 579 patients with chronic/recurrent non-specific low back pain. The patients were randomly allocated to four treatment groups that received:
1. Normal GP care
2. Six sessions of classical massage
3. Six sessions of Alexander Technique lessons and
4. Twenty four sessions of Alexander Technique lessons.
The study showed clearly the benefit of Alexander Technique, and the benefits were still present at a one-year follow-up (so were not simply due to placebo). The group that received 24 sessions of Alexander Technique showed and maintained a significant improvement in function and quality of life, and a significant reduction of days each month in pain, from 21 to only 3 days. This was a much better result than that achieved in the other treatment groups.
Alexander Technique BMJ results
For You?
After Alexander lessons people find they can sit. Stand and move with less effort and strain, and experience less pain. They frequently feel taller, freer and more securely balanced. It is not only for back pain. It is for all spinal conditions that have a postural component.
STAT qualified teachers of the Alexander Technique undergo a three year training course. They carry professional indemnity insurance and abide by the organisation’s code of professional conduct. If you would like more information, look at my website or call me at the clinic.

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