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Using the Alexander Technique to Relieve Back or Neck Pain

The Alexander Technique is a process by which people change their way of thinking as it relates to their body and movements. The goal of the system is to help people improve their posture and how they hold their body.
alexander technique for chronic back or neck pain

See Also: Our previous article where we review the background and history of the Alexander Technique.

Can the Alexander Technique Help Relieve My Back or Neck Pain?

Chronic neck or back pain are often exacerbated by our daily habits. The way we sit, the way we stand, how long we sit, how often we stand…each of these can contribute to chronic back or neck pain. Let’s just look at a few examples.

Pain Related to Overuse

If you’ve ever had pain after spending a day raking leaves you know how repetitive motion can lead to pain. In some cases, it can also lead to what’s called an overuse injury.

Looking Down at Our Phones

Researchers are finding that long term use of digital devices like cell phones are having a negative impact on our body. They’ve even coined a new phrase to refer to the phenomenon, “Text Neck Syndrome“. This posture reverses the natural curvature of our spine in our neck. Maintaining this position for long periods of time can lead to compressed nerves, stretched ligaments and chronic neck pain.

Sitting For Long Periods of Time

People are also noticing that sitting for long periods of time at their desk can actually cause chronic pain. Individuals with chronic lower back pain often have pain when standing after long periods of sitting. To combat this many have started using sit-stand desks to alter their position more regularly.

The Alexander Technique for Reducing Pain

Each of the examples above show how our posture and/or movements can increase our chances of pain. The Alexander Technique is based on the theory that the reverse is also true…our posture and/or movements can help reduce our chance of pain. By training our minds to be more aware of our bodies, this technique can help us combat the habits and activities which cause some of our chronic pain.

Lessons Learned from the Alexander Technique

If you’re interested in learning more about the Alexander Technique there are individuals trained to help you through the process.

But, just because you’re not in front of an official trainer doesn’t mean you can’t take action today toward a healthier you. Here are some quick takeaways to keep in mind as you go through your day:

  • breathe
  • make yourself aware of your body and how you’re holding yourself
  • relax your neck and shoulders
  • slow down your thinking – rushing through life leaves less time to be aware of what we’re doing it and how we’re doing it
  • take some time each day to stop and be aware of your body, your breathing and relax your muscles
  • while sitting place both feet on the floor, sit up straight, and use your eyes to look down, not your neck
  • take frequent breaks from sitting by standing up and moving around
  • while walking swing your arms and legs loosely while picture your body upright and your head straight up on top of your neck

Even if you don’t do complete Alexander Technique training, being more aware of your posture, your body and muscle tension can help you combat bad habits that lead to chronic pain. Good luck!



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery