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October/November 2008 (vol. 05/3)

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Research Plus

Alexander technique for low back pain

A randomised controlled trial on patients with chronic back pain suggests that exercise in combination with lessons in Alexander technique offer effective relief from back pain, with the improvements sustainable after one year. Massage was beneficial in the short term, but the effects were not maintained after three months. The trial involved 579 patients with chronic or recurrent back pain recruited from 64 general practices in England. Patients received either normal care (control), six sessions of therapeutic massage, or six or 24 lessons in Alexander technique; each group subdivided into those with or without exercise prescription. Impact was measured using disability and quality-of-life questionnaire scores. Six one-to-one lessons in Alexander technique followed by exercise was almost as beneficial as 24 lessons in Alexander technique alone.

British Medical Journal 2008; 337;a884, doi: 10.1136/bmj.a884.  http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a884.full

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2008 (vol. 05/3) pp40