If you research chronic back pain on the internet, you will find hundreds if not thousands of potential solutions. Everything from heating pads, to pain shots, to 'posture devices', to crystals and sound therapy claim to help relieve or even cure chronic back pain. With all of these potential solutions available, it can be hard to see why back pain is still the leading cause of disability in people under 45 in America (2.4 million Americans are on disability for it total), why it is the number two reason people visit their doctor, or why it effects 8 out of 10 people in their lifetime. Additionally, we spend over 50 billion dollars a year on treatments*. Surely, if all these solutions work, it wouldn't be such a problem.
The blunt truth is that most of these methods don't work consistently for chronic pain--even conventionally accepted medical treatments such as some physical therapy regimens or even surgeries. Additionally, many of these therapies are aimed at treating pain (aka the symptom of a problem) rather than the cause of the issue or preventing future problems. And most of these methods have limited or no scientific support.
The Alexander Technique does, and this the thing that sets it apart from the noise.
This is a small cross section of the body of research that has been conducted on the effectiveness of A.T. for back pain. Systematic peer review rates the evidence that A.T. is effective for back pain as 'Strong'.
What is even more remarkable is how low risk lessons are--many back pain interventions carry significant risk of injury or side effects (consider the epidemic of opoid addiction from prescriptions meant to curb back pain or the risk of surgery). A.T. has no significant risk as a method of handling back injury and is essentially safe.
There is still much research to be done into the process and effects of A.T., but you can enter into sessions with a certified teacher confidently knowing that it is not just mumbo-jumbo: the effectiveness of this method is well documented, and it is time for it to take a more central roll in treatment than unsupported or ineffective alternatives.
*statistics taken from the Mayo Clinic and American Chiropractic Association.
Thoughts on what is going on in the work and the world right now. Many posts to come.