Hello my friends,
A recent article in the New York Times (6/24/11) makes the connection between posture and pain. Low back pain is all too common in the United States, affecting some 80% of Americans at one time or another in their lifetime. Mary Ann Wilmarth, chief of physical therapy at Harvard University Health Services, says “Posture is the key.”
For better posture, the Times recommends the Alexander Technique, a method that not only improves posture, but also reduces tension and pain.
“The majority of back pain is the result of muscle and ligament strain or weakness, and can often be prevented by developing core strength and proper posture,” said Dr. Daniel Mazanec, associate director of the Center for Spine Health at the Cleveland Clinic. A study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2008; 337:a884) showed 86% reduction in pain through 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique alone. Study results were measured a year after the study began, showing lasting results six months after the lessons ended.
The Times mentions several other methods to correct your posture: try it on your own, use good ergonomics, and exercise/physical therapy. However, as the Times noted, back pain is notoriously difficult to treat.
Alexander Technique is a skill for self-care that has been proven to work and had zero serious adverse effects. In addition, it gives better balance and tall, graceful posture and poise. Students of the Technique say it’s amazing how standing tall gives confidence. Posture and confidence are very sexy ways to help prevent back pain and feel better. Per the Times: Try a lesson to see if it’s for you.
Dana Ben-Yehuda is a Certified Alexander teacher in her 10th year of practice in Mt. View, CA. Contact her at 650-964-4308 for more information.