What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain in the lower-back, buttocks that often extends down in the legs. It can also include numbness or weakness in the leg and foot. Usually it occurs on one side of the body only and sometimes may go down below the knee. It is caused by irritation of the large sciatic nerve that runs through the buttock and down the leg. The sciatic nerve originates from spinal nerves that come out between the vertebra of the lower spine which can be compressed by a bulging disc or other cause.

As Sciatica may be caused by a range of physical problems, a medical check must be made before starting Alexander lessons.


What about other kinds of back-pain?

Low back pain may be caused by different problems with the back. It is very often a muscle or joint pain due to strain or pressure which is not specifically identified. This kind of pain is called ‘non-specific’ low back pain and may resolve itself within a few weeks. There can be more serious causes however and ongoing occurences or chronic pain must be medically investigated before starting Alexander lessons. Causes could include such things as scoliosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degeneration of the discs, a vertebral fracture (such as from osteoporosis), or rarely, an infection or tumor.

Pregnancy often leads to low back pain associated with changes in posture and support causing muscle and ligament strains. Alexander lessons are very helpful for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. See The Alexander Technique Birth Book.


How can Alexander Techique help?

The Alexander Technique helps by teaching good movement and thereby removing sources of pressure on the structures of the lower back. It is different from physiotherapy, massage and exercise because it is an education in good posture and movement rather than a direct treatment.

See more about our approach to pain management and rehabilitation here.

In general the Technique is thought to reduce back pain by limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving coordination and flexibility, and decompressing the spine. The effectiveness of the technique in helping with back-pain has been confirmed by a large study of back-pain sufferers held in the U.K. in 2008.

“One to one lessons in the Alexander Technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic back pain”

BMJ_Cover2Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain. British Medical Journal, Published 19 August 2008.





What to do now?

Contact us to arrange an assessment  lesson. If you are not in Sydney we can also provide a referral to teachers closer to you.

Contact Options

Call Director Greg Holdaway on 0408 257 174

Fill in our online enquiry form.

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