Stephen Lewis, of Castle Hill, suffered from back pain for 20 years, and falling from the top of his house didn’t exactly help the problem. The accident happened shortly before Stephen and his wife Jackie were due to go on holiday to South Africa, and he was hoping to play golf while he was there, so he was more determined than ever to ease his pain.
“I couldn’t pull the club back properly because my body was so stiff” he said.
“Over the past 20 years, i have suffered from time to time with chronic back pain caused by a disc slipping and bulging. This condition is not only very painful but gives me back muscle spasms and restrictions in movement, especially walking.
Jackie had been undergoing the Alexander Technique for some months, to relieve her back tension and pain and improve her posture and control for horse riding.
I was sceptical of the technique but it certainly worked for her”
Stephen visited Sonia Richards, a teacher of the technique for several years who has taught two member of the Olympic rowing squad.
“Instantly Sonia was able to help me relax by back and shoulder muscles – the absolute relief was unbelievable and movement was restored, enabling me to go away on holiday.
I subsequently returned for more sessions to learn how to adopt the technique so that I can prevent further disc problems, relieve tension in my back and improve my movement to help me play better golf.
Having experienced the benefits of the technique, which doesn’t use painful invasive or physical treatment, I am now a real convert”.
Good posture is something we think we know all about, even if we don’t always do what we think we should – stand up straight, pull our shoulders back and hold our stomachs in, don’t slouch, bend our knees when picking up a heavy object.
The number of people who suffer from back pain, tense shoulders and stiff necks bears this out.
But these practices won’t really solve the problem, according to Sonia, who feels most of us have many bad posture habits to unlearn.
If you want to know the correct way to hold yourself, look at the movements of a toddler, she suggests. Up to the age of about four years old our movements are natural and just right for a healthy back, but from then onwards to adulthood we are learning our parents bad posture habits, sitting cross-legged on school floors, slouching infrot of the television and computer and exercising in the wrong way.
Relearning the correct way of bending, sitting down, standing up and walking is a difficult and slow proceedure, over many sessions.
The patient is taught to move the head, neck and back in one straight line, which is really hard to do because we automatically bend out head in order to see where we are going.
“The technique builds upon the relationship between the body, the mind and emotions. It doesn’t use physiotherapy or the physical movement of bones or muscles. It is based upon the teacher guiding the individual to ‘think’ about their posture and movement so their muscles can relax and re-adopt the natural shape they had as a child which was always free and unconditioned by modern furniture design and the stresses of everyday living.”
“As a teacher we work with our hands, but we don’t manipulate. Rather, we move the body. The technique is a very gentle way of re-educating muscles. Its very much common sense, and is preventative as well as curative.”
- Article taken from ‘The Advertiser’ January 2004