Alexander technique for low back pain

Lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long-term benefits, according to researchers from the UK.

First, the details.

  • 579 patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain were randomly assigned to one of the following groups.
    • Normal care
    • 6 sessions of massage
    • 6 Alexander technique lessons
    • 24 Alexander technique lessons
  • Half of those in each group were randomly given a prescription for exercise consisting of brisk walking for 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week.
  • The Roland Morris disability score (number of activities impaired by pain) and number of days in pain were used to assess response.

And, the results.

  • Exercise and lessons in the Alexander technique remained effective at one year based on the Roland disability scores.
  • Exercise after 6 lessons achieved 72% of the effect of 24 lessons alone.
  • Number of days with back pain in the past 4 weeks was lower in the massage and both Alexander technique groups, and quality of life improved significantly.
  • No significant adverse reactions were reported.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “One to one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic back pain.”

Based on this study, 6 lessons followed by exercise were nearly as effective as 24 lessons.

TimesOnLine reports, “One 45-minute session costs £30 to £40, and about 6 are needed to get lasting benefits.”

8/22/08 20:45 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.