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Why GPs should be prescribing the Alexander Technique

Dr Miriam Wohl (pictured), in an article in the British Association of Sports & Exercise Medicine magazine, looks at this very issue:

"Question - Why is the Alexander Technique in the NICE guidelines? Answer - Because, unlike physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Pilates, yoga and supervised exercise, only the Alexander Technique has been shown in a large randomised controlled trial, published in a peer-reviewed journal, to provide substantial long-term benefit in chronic low back pain. The findings:

- 590 people were studied and had on average 21 days per month in pain

Dr Miriam Wohl

- One group had normal GP care (painkillers, physiotherapy, etc) and at the end of the year they still had 21 days in pain

- One group had six sessions of therapeutic massage; at the end of the year they had an average of 19 days in pain

- Another group was advised to take exercise (half an hour of brisk walking or swimming daily) and at the end of the year they had 14 days in pain (this is consistent with other Randomised Controlled Trials of supervised exercise in chronic low back pain).

- Another group was prescribed the exercise after attending 6 Alexander Technique lessons, and at the end of a year they had 10 days in pain.

- The last group attended a full course of 24 individual Alexander Technique lessons (and half of them were prescribed the exercise), at the end of a year they had 3 days in pain and those prescribed exercise too gained no advantage." Interesting reading, perhaps GPs and other health professionals need to sit up and take notice.....

The full article including references can be found here.

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