Back Ache Getting You Down?

Posted on: 29 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Banish back ache with this simple Alexander Technique exercise.

The Alexander Technique works through re-establishing the natural relationship between the head, the neck and the back - the 'core' of the body that supports the strength of the limbs and which provides the structural environment for breathing and for the internal organs.

Trials have shown that it is very successful at healing back pain and other injuries, and here teacher Kamal Thapen explains how you can very quickly and simply banish back ache.

What To Do

You need to lie down on a firm surface; a carpeted floor or a rug will do, but not a bed because it is too soft. It needs to be a firm surface to give your body adequate support and feedback about where it is in space.

Place several paperback books underneath your head, hands on the belly and the knees bent, feet on the floor, hip width apart.

The Alexander TechniqueThere should be enough books so that your head is tilted slightly forward rather than backwards, and keep the eyes open. Use books or a firm pad, again you are looking for firm support. The books need to be under the bony bit of the skull rather than the neck, as in the photograph. 

Once in position think and allow the muscles of the neck to release so that the weight of the head is taken by the books. You want to release all the weight of the body and allow it to be fully supported by the floor.

This will enable the back to open out, lengthening and widening, without you having to make any effort. This release in tension usually eases backpain and allows the body to regain its natural alignment, and improves posture.

Try and work up to lying down in semi-supine for fiftenn to twenty minutes at a time, twice a day if possible.

Alexander Technique sessions can help to ease back pain and enhance posture, balance and body alignment.  For further information or to find a certified teacher from the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) visit

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