I have helped many people to successfully manage their chronic pain. In many cases the pain has been long standing over a number of years prior to learning good management. This has included lower back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, leg and joint pain. I am very hopeful that the skills that I can teach you will significantly help to reduce your pain and possibly even eliminate it altogether.
Whilst many causes of pain can not be changed (e.g. arthritis, bulging discs, 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. This is very helpful in an injury situation - it restricts movement of the area that allows healing to take place. However, in a chronic pain situation this is not a helpful process. The initial trauma has usually healed after a number of weeks but you may still have residual pain. In this situation the tightening and holding of muscular tension around the issue can actually start to be unhelpful. Rather than protecting the situation the tension is now itself a contributing factor to the pain. It can cause muscular fatigue, excessive co-contraction (where opposing muscle groups pull against each other) and generally cause a poor muscular balance and coordination throughout your whole system. Luckily we don't have to be stuck with this pattern. We can learn to address this unhelpful response to chronic pain.
Pain also has a reciprocal relationship with perceived neurological danger. In other words if our brain (not our conscious mind but our nervous system) thinks we are under threat then it asks for more information about the area of concern (the painful bit). Our system obliges by offering more nervous system information - the nerves send more signals, often this is then perceived by the brain as pain. This pain then in turn triggers a request for more information which then returns again as a pain signal and so the cycle continues. We can interrupt this by lowering our nervous systems perception of danger. It is why meditation and other mindfulness practises are so useful in pain management. By calming and soothing our selves in general we can reduce specific pain.
Research on the therapeutic effects of AT:
There have been various rigorous studies made over the last 80 years that have shown that Alexander Technique 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 Alexander Technique 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.