If you have a specific injury to your spine—acute pain from a herniated disk, severe spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spine) or a vertebral fracture, for instance—your doctor will need to refer you to a physical or rehabilitation therapist for treatment.

Individuals who had undergone back surgery and those with more acute or serious spinal conditions were excluded from the comprehensive Alexander technique study published in BMJ, so it's not clear if the technique is safe or effective in those instances.

The Bottom Line

Think of the technique as another potential tool along with exercise to proactively manage your pain, but not as a cure-all or substitute for any other treatments your doctor may have recommended.

To find a certified instructor of the Alexander technique in your area, contact the American Society for the Alexander Technique at www.amsatonline.org.

Expert Viewpoint

Brian Murray,Jr., M.PT, D.PT Physical Therapist, Johns Hopkins Hospital

The Alexander technique is an alternative educational approach to back pain as opposed to a manual treatment technique. The Alexander technique is not employed by physical therapists at Johns Hopkins. However, the Alexander technique's use of postural habits and postural exercises are logically sound approaches for managing back pain.

Further research may be warranted to determine the effectiveness of the Alexander technique for patients with back pain from a variety of causes.

Source: Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 06 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015