back-painThe UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has decided to limit prescription drugs and to encourage a combination of exercise and mind-body options incorporating a “cognitive behavioural approach” for low back pain. General practitioners in the UK are being told not to use pharmacological interventions for treatment of low back pain because evidence shows that drugs are not effective. The new guidance also rejects acupuncture and ultrasound, and recommends that doctors consider massage only as part of a package including exercise and a psychological therapy. The institute, which sets standards for health and social care in the UK, urges doctors in the new clinical guidelines to consider a range of options to treat back pain, including advice and information for patients to self-manage their pain. (

NICE recommendations include the Alexander Technique for back pain, and many pain clinics offer Alexander Technique lessons.

The Alexander Technique has been shown to lead to a significant reduction in chronic low back pain (British Medical Journal, 2008: “Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain”).

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