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Should it ever be painful?

edited February 2010 in Please read
hi. i am completely new to the alexander technique. i have had bad posture all my life and have as a consequence i have been suffering with chronic muscle spams and neck pain for the last 9 months. i've had physiotherapy, which hasn't worked and finally seem to be making some slow progress with acupuncture but i recognise that without fundamentally changing my bad postural habits things won't change. i've always been told that the alexander technique will be the only thing to really change everything. i recently bought a book on it and started applying the techniques. however within less than 24 hours my pain was worse than ever! going back to slumping provided such relief but i'm ever more aware of how bad this is for me now. do you think this is because i am getting it wrong or because there will be a transitional period where i am using new muscles and retraining my body? i know i should get AT lessons but i really don't have very much money and i was hoping i could self teach. i'd be really grateful for any advice.


  • Dear Harriet,
    definitely go for some lessons, or at least some introductory workshops, before you try to apply anything you read. The technique might sound simple, but that does not mean it is easy. You can find a teacher in your area by going on the website of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), at

    You can also find information on workshops on that site.

    And don't despair - the AT will definitely be of benefit to you!

    All best wishes,
  • thank you! that's really encouraging. i will definitely do that then.
    warmest wishes,
  • edited February 2010
    learning from a book? probably pretty impossible really unfortunately
    what did you do to hurt yourself?

    to answer your question 'no' it should never be painful. unlike alot of 'no pain, no gain' activities/exercies, AT is more 'pain? no gain!'
    ive never walked away from a lesson in any pain. (unlike when i did pilates and things like that)

    nothing is more important than your health so it is worth paying for uneven if it means scrimping and scraping for (in my opinion).
  • edited February 2010
  • thanks matty, that is really helpful and confirms that i just can't teach myself. i have decided to hold off with the acupuncture and have some lessons instead. i am quite excited as it seems amazing and there is definitely a lot of work to be done: i really slump and naturally push my face forawrd and up. plus i had whiplash several years ago.
    i really appreciate all the advice from everyone. i'll let you know what progress i make!
  • edited February 2010
    I've had some minor aches, as well as some slight pain from muscles that aren't used to being lengthened quite that much (specifically my shoulders) - but I describe this pain as significant.

    I definitely support the decision to have lessons. I initially tried to learn a bit from books, but the lessons were far more valuable. I see the books as supporting the lessons. Have at least a few (5-6) lessons, even if you can't have a long course of them (20-30).

    Since I've had AT lessons, I've had no problems with back pain or rsi. The only time my back has hurt, has been when I've very specifically injured it doing something stupid, and even then it has come right within about a week.
  • thanks david, that's really encouraging. i've got my first lesson booked for next tuesday!
    i really appreciate everyone going to the trouble to give me advice.
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