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Alexander technique 'preferred to exercise' for back pain

By Nigel Praities

Patients find fewer barriers to using the Alexander Technique for self-management of back pain compared with exercise, finds a UK study.

The researchers from the University of Southampton assigned 360 patients to either lessons in the Alexander technique or exercise prescription and then carried out semi-structured interviews with them about their thoughts on the two techniques.

The study - published in the latest edition of Family Practice - found initially around 40% of both groups had a favourable attitude to the interventions, but after three months 66% of patients had a positive attitude to the Alexander technique and this compared with 44% of the patients receiving an exercise prescription.

They also found fewer patients reported barriers to learning the Alexander Technique as it ‘made sense' and could be practiced while carrying out everyday activities or relaxing.

Professor Lucy Yardley, professor of health psychology at the University of Southampton, said: ‘Using the Alexander Technique was viewed as effective by most patients.

‘Acceptability may have been superior to exercise because of a convincing rationale and social support and a better perceived fit with the patient's particular symptoms and lifestyle.'

Fam Prac 2009; 0: 1-7

Most patients with back pain have a positive view of the Alexander technique

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