By Karen Krueger and Witold Fitz-Simon Just this week, Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times reported on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on back pain and Physical Therapy. The goal was to determine whether or not treatment with Physical Therapy in the form of manipulation and exercises was effective in treating the back pain of recently-diagnosed individuals. Participants were between the ages of 18 and 60, had no lower back pain treatments of any kind in the past six months, and had symptoms for no more than 16 days. All the participants received education about lower back pain, while one group received four Physical Therapy sessions over four weeks. The results in relief of pain for those who received the physical therapy was reported as "modest," but in the long run not distinguishable from the care received by the control group.
Some back pain is caused by poor posture and movement habits. Physical Therapy, yoga, Pilates, and other approaches can help strengthen muscles, add needed flexibility, etc. But too often they do not change a person's habits: when the person gets busy, they go right back to the habits that got them into trouble in the first place. It makes sense to us that people would not show significant improvement after three months.
The only approach that actually provides a systematic way to change habits that really "sticks" in real life is the Alexander Technique—a set of skills that you learn—rather than a therapy. Sadly, lessons in the Technique are not covered by insurance in the United States (though they are in the United Kingdom). But the skills you can learn can last a lifetime. It worked for Karen's chronic neck pain and headaches, and we know many people who found it solved their problems with back pain.
If you experience back pain and would like to learn an effective alternative way to care for yourself, find a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique here.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/karen-headshot-67.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]KAREN G. KRUEGER became a teacher of the Alexander Technique after 25 years of practicing law at two major New York law firms, receiving her teaching certificate from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in December 2010. Her students include lawyers, business executives, IT professionals and others interested in living with greater ease and skill. Find her at her website: http://kgk-llc.com. [/author_info] [/author]
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/After-crop1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]WITOLD FITZ-SIMON has been a student of the Alexander Technique since 2007. He is certified to teach the Technique as a graduate of the American Center for the Alexander Technique’s 1,600-hour, three year training program. A student of yoga since 1993 and a teacher of yoga since 2000, Witold combines his extensive knowledge of the body and its use into intelligent and practical instruction designed to help his students free themselves of ineffective and damaging habits of body, mind and being. www.mindbodyandbeing.com[/author_info] [/author]