Significant long-term benefit from Alexander Technique lessons for low back pain has been demonstrated by a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008 at www.bmj.com.
Back pain is the biggest cause of sickness absence in the UK and lower back pain affects 7 in 10 people at some time in their lives.
A study published online by the British Medical Journal, referring to a trial with over 500 patients, offers some hope.
Professor Paul Little of Southampton's faculty of medicine and his colleagues recruited 579 patients from 64 GP practices. They were either given normal care, massage, 6 lessons, or 24 lessons of Alexander technique (AT). Half the patients in each group were also given an exercise programme involving walking.
Little said "This is a good, large, trial. It is good enough evidence for people to take it seriously." Of the approaches tested, lessons in the Alexander Technique provided the most benefit. The research reveals that following 24 AT lessons, the average number of activities limited by low back pain had fallen by 42%, and the number of days in pain had decreased from 21 to 3 days per month one year after the trial started. Also a series of 6 lessons followed by GP-prescibed general exercise was about 70% as beneficial as 24 AT lessons alone.