Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Alexander Technique settles Back Pain

Posted by e-Medical PPT | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Category: |

When you think about it – what is one of the worst kind of pains in the world to deal with?  For me – it is back pain.  I am the type of person that can not stand to have my back in pain and I absolutely can not handle it when my pain is in pain.  Well, did you know that instead of popping a bunch of pills you can actually relieve your back pain quite naturally and easily?

The Alexander Technique is a fantastic way to relieve your back pain and it will actually truly help you in the long run.  For those of you that do not know exactly what the Alexander Technique is, that is what I am going to explore.

Basically, this particular technique is going to help you maintain correct posture by a few different exercises that you can practice.  This particular technique is a great way to get rid of your back pain and balance your body all together!

The technique

The Alexander technique is considered to be primarily an educational process to be practiced by the student, rather than a curative treatment or therapy. Generally, it does not consist of routine exercises, but is meant to be applied in any moment when quality improvements are desired during action. For this reason, F.M. Alexander preferred not to recommend exercises for his students to perform, and most Alexander teachers follow this intent. Alexander's approach was to emphasize the use of freedom to choose beyond conditioning in every action.

Teachers use demonstration, explanation, and repeated re-examination of a student spontaneous reactions. Light hand contact by the teacher is most often used to detect and deal with the student's unnecessary stress. In the context of everyday motions such as using one's hands, sitting, standing, walking, and speaking, the teacher's suggestions are student-specific guidance and not a series of recommended exercises suitable for anyone. Assistance with any activity, such as a hobby, sports or an artistic performance may be requested as further topics of personal interest.

The exceptions are two prescriptive forms or exercises intended to be done in separate but brief practice times. A procedure recommended to all students is lying semi-supine as a means for effective rest, releasing muscular tension and as an opportunity to use the conscious mental "Directions" Alexander devised. The other procedure is termed a "Whispered Ah," used to subtract unnecessary effort from the use of the voice.

Freedom, efficiency and patience are the prescribed values. Proscribed are unnecessary effort, self-limiting habits as well as mistaken assumptions. Students are led to change their previous habitual and largely automatic routines that are interpreted by the teacher to currently or eventually be physically limiting and structurally inefficient. The Alexander teacher provides verbal coaching while monitoring, guiding and preventing unnecessary habits at their source with specialized hands-on assistance to show what is meant. This specialized assistance requires Alexander teachers to demonstrate on themselves the improved physical coordination they are communicating to the student.

Alexander developed his own terminology to talk about his methods, outlined in his four books. These terms were created to describe the sometimes paradoxical experience of learning and substituting new improvements.

Sensory appreciation

F. M. Alexander insisted on the need for strategic reasoning and "Constructive Conscious Control" because kinesthetic sensory awareness is a relative sense, not a truthful indicator of fact. The current postural attitude is sensed internally as a normal state of affairs, however inefficient. Alexander's term, "debauched sensory appreciation" describes how the repetition of a circumstance encourages habit design as a person adapts to circumstances or builds skills. Once trained and forgotten, completed habits may be activated without feedback sensations that these habits are in effect, just by thinking about them.[5] Short-sighted habits that have become harmful over time, such as restriction of breathing or other poor postural attitudes that limit freedom of movement & shorten stature, will stop after learning to perceive and prevent them.


Another example is the term "end-gaining", which means to focus on a goal so as to lose sight of the "means-whereby" the goal could be more appropriately achieved. According to Alexander teachers, "end-gaining" increases the likelihood of selecting older or multiple conflicting coping strategies with the potential for needless cumulative, ongoing self-injury. End-gaining actions are usually carried out because a more imperative priority justifies it, which is usually impatience or frustration.


In the Alexander technique lexicon, the principle of "inhibition" is considered by teachers to be the most prominent. F.M. Alexander's selection of this word pre-dates the modern meaning of the word originated by Sigmund Freud. Inhibition describes a moment of conscious awareness of a choice to interrupt, stop or entirely prevent an unnecessary habitual "misuse." As unnecessary habits are prevented or interrupted, a freer capacity and range of motion resumes, experienced by the student as a state of "non-doing."

Primary control

This innate coordination that emerges is also described more specifically as "Primary Control". This is a key head, neck and spinal relationship. The body's responses are determined by the qualities of head and eye movement at the inception of head motion. What expands the qualities of further response is a very subtle nod forward to counteract backward startle pattern, coupled with an upward movement of the head away from the body that lengthens the spine. Students learn to include their whole body toward their intention of purposeful motion.


To continue to select and reinforce the often less dominant "good use," it is recommended to repeatedly suggest, by thinking to oneself, a tailored series of "orders" (also termed Directions.) "Giving Directions" is the term for thinking and projecting an anatomically corrected map of how one's body is designed to be used effortlessly. "Directing" is suggestively thought, rather than willfully accomplished. This is because when freedom is the objective, the appropriate responses cannot be anticipated but can be observed and chosen in the moment.

Psycho-physical unity

Global concepts such as "Psycho-physical Unity" and "Use" describe how thinking strategies and attention work together during preparation for action. They connote the general sequence of how intention joins together with execution to directly affect the perception of events and the outcome of intended results.


The Alexander technique is used remedially to regain freedom of movement. It is used to undo the establishment of nuisance habits by performers, and it's used as a self awareness discipline and a self-help tool to change specific habits.

These first application areas include alleviating pain and weakness as a result of poor posture or repetitive physical demands, improving pain management for chronic disabilities, and rehabilitation following surgery or injury where compensatory habits that were designed to avoid former pain need to be revised after healing. The Alexander technique has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic or recurrent back pain in a randomized study published Aug. 19, 2008.

As an example among performance art applications, the technique is used and taught by classically trained singers and vocal coaches. Its advocates claim that it allows for the proper alignment of all aspects of the vocal cords and tract through consciously increased air flow. With this increase of breathing capacity, singers are said to be better able to exercise proper vocal technique and tone. Because the technique has allegedly been used to improve breathing and stamina in general, advocates of the technique claim that athletes, people with asthma, tuberculosis, and panic attacks have also found benefits.

Along the application of self-help, proponents of the technique suggest that it can help performers manage stage fright, become more spontaneous, and to increase skill repertoire. It is suggested that A.T. can be an adjunct to psychotherapy for people with disabilities, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, stuttering, and chronic pain because using its principles can improve stress management abilities.

Currently have 2 comments:

  1. All of my life I have had a perfect posture, always been admired and complemented for it YET..... i have lived with a pernicious low back pain, getting worse with age. no skeletal abnormalities were found.

  2. There must be A muscular reason , either hypoxia , or fatigue related, and may be related to duration of work or walking , proper cause can be thought about after careful history and examination

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