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Treating RSI with the Alexander Technique

Author: Stella Bradbrook Published: 27th May 2010 01:20

The Alexander Technique can combat RSIRepetitive Strain Injury (also known as Repetitive Stress Injury or RSI) is:

  • a term covering a number of different medical conditions mostly affecting the hand, wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder or neck.
  • always painful, and sometimes disabling.
  • a common cause of workplace absenteeism.
  • often difficult to treat.
  • in most cases, preventable.

All RSIs are caused by repeatedly carrying out the same movements of the hands and arms for long periods of time, usually as part of a person's occupation or hobby. Using a computer keyboard, driving, playing a musical instrument or doing the same manual task on a production line can all lead to an RSI.

 

revention is, of course, the best option and ergonomically designed furniture and equipment, education and training can all help to reduce RSIs in the workplace. But the main problem with trying to prevent RSI's is that the human body is very resilient and adaptable. An office worker can type all day with her wrists bent at an awkward angle. A mechanic doesn't notice that he is gripping a spanner too tightly or using more force than is necessary to undo a nut if that's the way he's always done it.

Most people give little thought to exactly how they perform routine actions and don't realize they are putting undue strain on a joint unless it causes pain. Because of this, poor postural habits can develop gradually over many months, or even years, until they seem normal and comfortable.

Teaching people to become more consciously aware of how they are using their bodies is the main aim of The Alexander Technique, which is why it is so useful in treating all types of RSI's. It is not a therapy, and doesn't involve any manipulation or exercises, but it helps people to rediscover their own natural posture.

Guided by an experienced teacher, an Alexander Technique student explores his or her own movements and learns to move more efficiently without putting harmful pressure on muscles, joints or tendons. When performing a physical task the emphasis is shifted from what is being done to how it is being done. In this way, any undue stresses or strains can be recognised and corrected before they cause any damage or pain.   

Learning how to use the body you have taken for granted all your life might seem strange at first, but almost everyone who tries the Alexander Technique benefits from it in some way. As well as helping to prevent and manage RSI's it can be useful in treating many other conditions including all types of joint and muscle pain, headaches, breathing problems, recovery after injury or surgery, and impaired balance or co-ordination. Many people also report that it boosts their self-confidence and ability to deal with stress.

If you think you are at risk of developing a Repetitive Strain Injury, or you have already suffered from the condition and want help to recover and prevent a reoccurrence, seek advice from a fully qualified Alexander Technique practitioner who is a member of STAT (the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique).

 Carla Radford is a Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique qualified Alexander Technique teacher with vast experience in teaching people to identify and prevent harmful physical and mental habits and release unwanted muscular tension that can cause ill-health. Anyone in Hornchurch, Elm Park, Upminster or Cranham suffering from back, neck or joint pain or any form of posture, tension or stress related problems should visit http://www.alexanderforhornchurch.co.uk/ for more information.

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