Whilst many physical causes of pain can not be changed (e.g. arthritis, damage to the tissues, etc) our pain response to them can be affected by good self management.
Usually when we are in pain we have an associated muscular tightening of both the area and the rest of our whole structure. With the Alexander Technique we address this unhelpful response to chronic pain. Pain is our bodies signal to us that we are in danger (e.g. take your hand off the hot stove!) and so when we can lower our unconsciously perceived danger levels then we can often affect our pain. This can mean a decrease in actual pain felt or a lowering of the stress levels brought on by the pain so that the perceived pain becomes less significant.
Research on the therapeutic effects of AT:
There have been various rigorous studies made over the last 80 years that have shown that AT is effective for the management of chronic pain conditions. These include but are not exclusive to back pain, neck pain, general pain, improving balance and coordination, RSI and Parkinson’s disease.
These studies can be found on the Society for Teacher of Alexander Technique website (STAT)
I have outlined a couple of these studies below:
The Medical Research Council & NHS funded trial (BMJ 19 Aug 2008) showed the Alexander Technique provides long term benefit for back pain sufferers.
24 AT lessons led to a reduction from 21 days a month in pain to 3 days a month and to an improvement in functioning and quality of life.
Alexander Technique is included in the May 2009 NICE guidelines for low back pain.
The ATLAS trial (2015 Annals of Internal Medicine) on 517 people with non-specific chronic neck pain found that Alexander Technique significantly reduced neck pain and associated disability by 31% following 20 lessons. The pain relief was long term with the improvement lasting at least a year to the end of the trial.
Human Movement Science 2011 Feb;30(1):74-89. Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, Cordo PJ, Ames KE. Neurological Sciences Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Beaverton, OR, USA.
Study to show that AT changes muscular tone in response to gravity causing a more efficient muscular support. It also shows that AT increases dynamic tone, that is appropriate tone in response to requirements particularly in respect of rotation of the hips, neck and torso, rather than being fixed and stiff.
British Medical Journal 2008;337:a884. Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, et al.
Pain Is Volatile: Clear article includes a couple of well known links to a video and a TED talk which are worth watching.
I have also found Pain Reframed Facebook Group interesting.