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Chronic pain can be relieved with Alexander Technique, study shows

Researchers conducting an 11-month study found that half of chronic pain patients stopped or reduced their medication after learning the Alexander technique.

The Alexander technique is a form of therapy that addresses posture and aims to make patients more aware of how they use and move their bodies during day-to-day activities.

We often develop bad habits – such as slouching, slumping, using one side of the body more than the other etc. – and, over time, these small habits impact the development and function of our muscles, bones and joints.

The experiment took place in Bristol’s St Michael’s Hospital Pain Clinic and involved 43 chronic or recurrent pain patients who were given six one-to-one Alexander Technique sessions.

The sessions were run by an experienced STAT registered Alexander Technique teacher who assessed patients individually before teaching them ways to self-manage their pain.

Research leader Dr Stuart  said: “We have seen from a previous randomised controlled trial that Alexander Technique lessons were found to be both clinically and cost effective for the management of low back pain in primary care.”

50% of the volunteers found they could reduce or even stop their medication after learning self-help techniques which, if implemented nation-wide, could end up saving the NHS a significant amount of money on drug prescriptions.

Alongside conventional treatment, the Alexander Technique can be an effective way of managing chronic pain on a daily basis.

10 million people are thought to suffer recurrent pain in the UK, costing the NHS around £18 billion a year.

Pain requires a great deal of self-management, and doing so can make a huge difference. Although exercise is difficult for most chronic pain sufferers, it is not impossible. Recommended forms of low-impact exercise include swimming, Pilates, yoga and gentle cycling. Always consult your GP before undertaking a new exercise regime.

To find out more, please visit our Alexander Technique page.

View and comment on the original Nursing Times article.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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