Back Pain: Why is it so common?



A common sense analysis



There is no shortage of theories about why this discomfort is such a common affliction in modern life:


  • Perhaps we were not designed to be upright.

  • Perhaps we are too sedentary.

  • Maybe it's poor 'posture'.

  • It could be structural defects.

  • Of course back injury causes pain.

Naturally, every case is different. However in the vast majority of cases, the origin is either of unknown cause or from multiple abnormality. The Alexander Technique works by helping you learn to stop using inappropriate tension or the wrong muscles in your activities. It is education rather than therapy.

The beauty of this approach is that even if your pain is the result of an identifiable problem with back structure, it is likely you can ease or eliminate pain by learning to make more appropriate use of the complex parts that make up your entire structure.

The human organism is incredibly complex. In fact each part of us is incredibly complex. Not only are we faced with complexity, but 'everything is connected to everything else'. We need to keep this in mind when we make general statements about our functioning.

That said, it turns out we are exquisitely designed for our upright carriage. Our skeleton is not constructed with components stacked like blocks from the ground up. Instead, each component is kept in dynamic balance with the whole. In the back, the interplay of bones, cartilege, tendon, and muscle results in a structure which is able to accomodate a wide variety of demands made on it.

So, why then is pain, especially lower back pain, such a common malady in our time? People complain of all manner and degrees of back pain, from 'my back hurts', to 'I have lower left back pain.' Are there specific exercises for each, or more generally exercises for all areas?

While such detailed questions can be important to each sufferer, the Alexander Technique does not deal directly with such specifics. Rather, we address all these issues indirectly. As suggested earlier, teachers of the Alexander Technique do not offer a cure for any pain. We teach you to regain appropriate use of your mechanisms. I will discuss in some detail how we work with you to accomplish this a bit later.

Lady Child with bag

Is it any wonder we have back pain? Consider the many ways we carry ourselves, putting unnatural strain on the back.

View this short video overview of the British Medical Journal (recently renamed 'BMJ' article reporting on an extensive study of the Alexander Technique and back pain below. (They recently changed their name to 'BMJ').


Return to top: Back Pain


An Alexander Technique Lesson


An excellent introductory video

Several experienced AT teachers discuss the work.




Sandy and Forrest Hawkins,
AmSAT Certified Alexander Technique consultants
Call us with questions or to book an appointment:
(507)6987-0237
We are located near downtown Boquete





"We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains."
F.M. Alexander



AT and back pain relief: Scientific study

From the British Medical Journal study report:

"Lessons in the Alexander technique offer an individualised approach designed to develop lifelong skills for self care that help people recognise, understand, and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination." Link to BMJ report

Click here or scroll down to see a short video summary of the BMJ back study report.