Does Alexander Technique help back pain?

Back Pain

Alexander Technique can help manage back pain. The great news is that in most cases, the high-quality sensory learning that you complete in an Alexander lesson will give you the skills that you need to overcome back pain. Alexander Technique’s combination of educating postural tone and body schema is unlike any other approach. Here’s what you need to know.

How does Alexander Technique help?

Sometimes back pain can be a sign of a serious disease- cancers, viruses, infections are all very rare but can present as back pain. That’s why we like you to see a medical practitioner for their diagnosis.

In most cases rather than significant disease, back pain can be linked to a functional mis-use of posture and movement. Where discs are damaged, nerves are entrapped, muscles are spasming, where there is degeneration-these are all indicators of mis-use.

A good analysis of your movement and posture will reveal if you are putting pressure onto your injury site.

Although these mis-use symptoms are not trivial, people who are displaying them are often able to manage and reduce chronic pain using an Alexander Technique approach. I recommend that you watch this short video.


To a highly trained eye, the way that you stand, balance and move can provide indicators of conditions that either lead to back pain or exacerbate an already existing issue.

Often, people with back pain can be observed to be bracing their legs, torso, and neck. In an Alexander lesson, your teacher will show you ways to redistribute your weight and circumvent destructive habits that can lead to problem pain.

Alexander Technique is primarily a teaching method, not a treatment. What you learn can resource you to know how to take pressure off your injury site, avoid back pain danger in different situations and relieve pain through simple to follow procedures.

So many people bend at their waist. There’s no bending joint there! It will hurt you if you keep bending at the waist. This is especially so if you add lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling to the mix.  Your Alexander Technique teacher shows you how to bend down to the ground without creating dangerous conditions that contribute to back pain. However, this is not a run-of- the-mill manual handling training. Alexander Technique is practical sensory based learning that demonstrates some of the scope that your body has to move freely and efficiently without pain, strain or danger.

What you need to know about back pain

A large percentage of back pain is caused by destructive movement, poor posture and incorrect body mechanics (ie bending at the wrong spots in your body). It’s classed as chronic pain and can last for a few days, weeks, months or sometimes years.

Get your back pain checked out by a medical practitioner. Sometimes back pain can be an indicator of a serious underlying issue. Imaging will give you a good idea of what’s going on and then you can get on with getting over your back pain.

It’s common for back pain sufferers to be told that there is no visible damage on their x-rays or to be given vague diagnosis such as aging, degeneration, stenosis, calcification. Although this is good news, it’s also frustrating because the options for understanding and overcoming the back pain become muddied.

Back surgery-woah!! Do your research.

Although back surgery can seem like a simple and quick solution to your suffering, please consider that this incredible technology is not always the correct approach. Back surgery does not have the high success rate that one would expect.  Two large new Australian studies reveal these expensive spine surgeries – which can cost more than $50,000 – are having extremely poor outcomes and leaving some previously-healthy people so badly disabled they are unable to work. In fact only 19% of people returned to work after spinal surgery the study found. You can read it here.

Read a Sydney Morning Herald article on huge costs and poor outcomes from back surgery here.


Pain can come from muscles or nerves, it can be localised or shooting It can range from burning, dull ache to very sharp and electric pain. It is hard for people who aren’t experiencing your pain to understand what you are going through and how it is impacting all areas of your life.

Rescue position for immediate relief from pain

Your Alexander Technique teacher can show you a “rescue position” that you can use daily or even a few times a day.  It works quickly to help you regain a significant reduction in pain.

Alexander technique is an educational technique that you learn. It has a strong basis in science and anatomy, but it teaches whole bodymind unity rather than compartmentalising how humans work.

This means that if you have a bad back, your Alexander teacher will look at the entire range of your movement, posture and balance not just at the area that is in pain.

The Alexander teacher shows you things that you can do to change your movement.

The Alexander approach is unique. It teaches you to retrain your movement patterns for better overall functionality. Many studies have shown a more direct link between posture, body schema and cognitive, emotional and physical functioning than had previoujslsy been considered valid by conventional science.


Alexander Technique has been taught for over 120 years with consistent anecdotal evidence of its positive impact for learners.

Over the last 70 or more years there have been numerous studies undertaken on Alexander Technique’s effectiveness in assisting people. Research is ongoing as there is no clearly understood mechanism to explain why AT is so successful. In some areas science is just now able to offer explanations for the efficacy of Alexander Technique learning.

Have a look at these studies for a scientist’s view of Alexander Technique

How does AT work-a new model 2020 paper just published. click here

Effectiveness of Alexander Technique for Chronic back pain sufferers click here