The study, one of the first of its kind, is being published online today by the BMJ at BMJ.com.
It shows that lessons in the Alexander Technique provide an individualised approach to reducing back pain through the teaching of life-long self-care skills that help people recognise, understand and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular co-ordination.
Up until now there has been no good evidence of the long-term effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons.
But the latest research by Professor Paul Little of the University of Southampton, in conjunction with Professor Debbie Sharp, of Bristol University, shows that the technique can help long-term back pain.
The multi-centre clinical trial involved 579 patients and compared 24 Alexander Technique lessons, six Alexander Technique lessons, six sessions of classical massage and normal GP care.
Half of the patients allocated to each of these groups also received a GP prescription for aerobic exercise (30 minutes of brisk walking or the equivalent each day), followed by behavioural counselling from a practice nurse.
The study showed that 24 Alexander Technique lessons led to important improvements in function, quality of life and a reduction in the number of days the patients suffered pain.
One year after the trial started, the average number of activities limited by back pain had fallen by 42 per cent, and the number of days in pain was only three a month compared with 21 days in the control group.
Massage also helped over the three months but the effect on activities was no longer significant after one year.
Exercise prescription alone had significant but modest effects on activities at both three and 12 months. However, a series of six Alexander Technique lessons followed by GP-prescribed exercise was about 70 per cent as beneficial as 24 Alexander Technique lessons at one year.
Professor Little said: "This is a significant step forward in the long-term management of low back pain.
"The results of this study revealed that the Alexander Technique can help back pain; it probably does this by limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving co-ordination and flexibility and decompressing the spine.
"This means that patients can have fewer activities or functions limited by back pain."
The trial was funded by the Medical Research Council and the NHS Research and Development fund.
Sarah Watts | alfa
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering