Alexander Technique?

Hi

Has anyone tried the Alexander Technique for pain? I'm fed up of awaiting hospital appointments and having tablets thrown at me and want to try some alternatives.

I have chronic back pain and am in constant agony and have nerve pain in my legs.. although the doctors seem convinced my 4 bulging disks in the lower back are not the cause and that there seems to be no nerve impairment.. God knows how I can get nerve pain such as burning and an electric current down my feet without nerve compression..

Anyway, I need to try and alleviate the pain as much as possible..

If anyone has tried the Alexander Technique could i have your views please.

Thanks

Rocky

15 Replies

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  • Hi, I was interested in you saying burning and electric current down your feet? I've something similar and like you tonnes of painkillers which do not alleviate the pain, panadol does more.

    Tried the Alexander Technique years and years ago. Cant remember why but I'm talking 25+ years. Can't recall the outcome either :(

    Tried acupuncture, that actually made me nauseous and I fainted :(

  • Hello rocky

    There are two different techniques, the Alexander, and Maxwell technique, they are both very much the same athough the latter allows you to do it in a busy places with noise It is very difficult to explain Here goes,you would need a relaxation tape to help pain control will give you one.

    Sit in chair or floor etc, push down with your body and make the body limp

    relax shoulders, arms imagine going down to tips of fingers, also close eyes.

    push bottom down, relax and feel the chair, flex fingers ,relax joints in hand by shaking fingers. now push buttoks down into seat, slacken muscles in hips and thighs, streatch out legs and rotate the ankles one by one to feel some slack in your muscles and toes. relaxing all parts of the body. Now rotate the neck left and right lossening your neck muscles, now keeping the neck in a straight position push the chin into the front of the neck, It is easyier to show you difficult to explain now straigten your neck taking the pressure away and support the head in comfortable position, now fully relax the body by moving the extremeties, keeping your eyes closed, imagine that you are looking from the centre of the brow.KEEP ATTENTION THERE

    Now breath slowly your breathing needs to slow and relaxed, feel the joints and extremities of your body and keep the tension off them close your thoughts and that is it

    You need a practicioner to goo through this with you as it is the devil to explain on the web

    After you have got used to this you will be able to lower the pulse and heart rate. The Maxwell technique was taught to me in a mental health hospital, they take you down further than the Alexander technique and your eyes seem to open, although you only see shadows

    When you are shown these relaxation exercises you will feel very self concience and many do not manage to fully embrace the exercises. although it is well worth the time involved.

    Some patients push their heads into a pillow on their knee, the whole exercise is done the way you feel comfortable as it is a personal thing

    In Newcastle RVI the staffused to come into the exercise room for relaxation techniques. they used to go home at night and go through the exercises when the kids had gone to bed

    All the best

    BOB

    A tens may help more while you wait to go to the clinic and learn above

  • Brilliant Bon thanks an explanation which shows the road to try ! Gentle relaxation. Many year ago used Alexander to increase power with voice at drama school but this is definately one to try xgins

  • Hi all,

    Bob, I hope what you wrote helps people, though the things you suggest are most definitely not related to the Alexander Technique. Especially this: "keeping the neck in a straight position push the chin into the front of the neck". This is pretty much the opposite of the Alexander Technique. However, thanks for taking the time and trouble to help people. I was in severe neck pain at one time, and it is no fun!

  • I'm really ,really interested in anything that stop's or alleviate the pains , but it's the friction on the "something" that starts up with movement, I think it must be solid on solid, because there are two different sensations from the pain's one is like a wrist burn, we all must have played with your mates and twisted each others wrist, well that's what happens when I move my head and neck , and then there is the solid when you place weight onto the foot and there is a pressure that seems to push upwards into the area where neck meets skull.

    But the yoga type breathing and concentration does help when in a certain frame of mind especially before the pains begin, and that really should be done lying down, (I think ?) best Alex

  • If you have no nerve damage your pain might be caused by tense muscles as they try to protect your back. Sometimes they go into spasm and further anxiety about your condition makes things worse. Read Dr John Sarno's books about this. A real eye opener.

  • Bob, Thank you for your detailed reply.. I appreciate it. You have a lot of knowledge! I will look into this and my options. I hope things are okay with you.

  • Hi Calceolaria

    Initilly I thought tense muscles could be contributory to this but it's been almost a year with no le up so not sure that muscles could be in spasm for so long...I'll enquire about the book! Thanks

  • Hello, Rocky

    If you have tense muscles the relaxation will help. If that is not any good try a Tens, that may help, set on low settings they act as EMS that sports people use when they have sprained themselves, as this will tone muscles and help reduce the same and tone them up

    All the best

    BOB

  • The muscles will spasm forever as oxygen is unable to get into them. Many of us with structural back problems experienced worsening pain simply on hearing a diagnosis from a scan. The tensing up and fear of more pain or the prospect of surgery or a restricted lifestyle contributes and on and on we go. Do read Dr Sarno, changed me. There are also some practitioners now in UK but usually the info in the book is enough. As long as you have no injury like a fracture or a tumour, it should work. It's a way of thinking about your pain, accepting it is muscle tension, not about exercises etc.

  • I have been doing Alexanader Technique for 35 years plus. I use it as a good means of helping me to deal with my pain. It helps by enabling you to understand how you contribute to your pain. It helps by enabling you to start what you doing which makes your pain worse.

    It is not a technique that can be learnt from a book. It needs to be learnt from a practising teacher. Preferably one who has ten years or more experience.

    The Kingston Pain Clinic has an Alexander Teacher as part of their pain treatment team.

    The Alexander Teachnique will take time to learn because you have to unlearn old habits first and replace them with more beneficial ones

  • Hi Rocky, I used Alexander Technique to overcome months of RSI pain without pills. Full disclosure - I teach it now. But there was a study in the British Medical Journal that showed for chronic back pain 6 lessons halved days with back pain, and the result was still there a year later. 24 lessons dropped it 86%. There weren't any negative side effects. Also a study at Bristol Uni and a pain clinic last summer showed over half the people who tried it stopped or reduced their medication so it should be worth a shot if you don't want a drug solution.

    Here's me: alexanderplus.com

    Also more alexander teachers are at stat.org.uk

  • Thanks James

    I will probably give it a go as I am in so much pain it's unbearable..

  • Good luck Rocky, I hope it goes well for you.

  • Hi Rocky,

    I can really vouch for comment above, I have been using the Alexander Technique for years! I had back pain for 3 years prior to using the technique, tried everything from Acupuncture to Physio and nothing seemed to work. (They just gave me short-term relief but the pain would always return)

    After looking up a STAT teacher on their website I found a teacher in my area and haven't looked back. My first lesson I learnt how to hold myself and avoid bad habits that I never knew I had, after my third lesson I had learnt how I could use the technique into everyday life and would recommend to anyone who suffers chronic pain. I have completely stopped taking any medication for my back and everyday life is no longer tainted by back pain.

    Each teacher has a website but I found mine on the STAT website which I found was a good starting point. stat.org.uk/

    Hope this helps!

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