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Clin Rehabil. 2016 Mar;30(3):247-58. doi: 10.1177/0269215515578699. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Efficacy of the Alexander Technique in treating chronic non-specific neck pain: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia r.lauche@kliniken-essen-mitte.de.
2
Department of Anesthesiology, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Herdecke, Germany.
3
Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany Migräne- und Kopfschmerzklinik Königstein, Königstein im Taunus, Germany.
4
Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation, Essen, Germany.
5
The National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Science, Uit The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsö Norway.
6
Immanuel Hospital Berlin, Department of Internal and Complementary Medicine, Berlin, Germany.
7
Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the efficacy of the Alexander Technique, local heat and guided imagery on pain and quality of life in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain.

DESIGN:

A randomized controlled trial with 3 parallel groups was conducted.

SETTING:

Outpatient clinic, Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 72 patients (65 females, 40.7±7.9 years) with chronic non-specific neck pain.

INTERVENTIONS:

Patients received 5 sessions of the Alexander Technique--an educational method which aims to modify dysfunctional posture, movement and thinking patterns associated with musculoskeletal disorders. Control groups were treated with local heat application or guided imagery. All interventions were conducted once a week for 45 minutes each.

MAIN MEASURES:

The primary outcome measure at week 5 was neck pain intensity on a 100-mm visual analogue scale; secondary outcomes included neck disability, quality of life, satisfaction and safety.

STATISTICS:

Analyses of covariance were applied; testing ordered hypotheses.

RESULTS:

No group difference was found for pain intensity for the Alexander Technique compared to local heat (difference 4.5mm; 95% CI:-8.1;17.1; p=0.48), but exploratory analysis revealed the superiority of the Alexander Technique over guided imagery (difference -12.9 mm; 95% CI:-22.6;-3.1, p=0.01). Significant group differences in favor of the Alexander Technique were also found for physical quality of life (P<0.05). Adverse events mainly included slightly increased pain and muscle soreness.

CONCLUSION:

The Alexander Technique was not superior to local heat application in treating chronic non-specific neck pain. It cannot be recommended as routine intervention at this time. Further trials are warranted for conclusive judgment.

KEYWORDS:

Alexander Technique; Neck pain; chronic pain; clinical trial; guided imagery; kinesthetic control; local heat; randomized controlled trial; sensory awareness

PMID:
25834276
DOI:
10.1177/0269215515578699
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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