In this recent New York Times column, a journalist compares different research on the efficacy of injections to help with back pain. An astounding statistic is revealed: 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain at some point. Use of injections to deal with back pain is escalating and yet scientific findings on its effectiveness are mixed.
From our perspective in the Alexander Technique, the lower back is particularly susceptible to disruption because of what’s happening higher up with the head and neck. If a person starts to chronically tighten and shorten their neck muscles, the head tends to get pulled back (like illustration below). Since the head alone weighs 12 to 15 pounds, the rest of the body is thrown off balance and unexpected muscle groups get recruited to keep us from falling over when her head is out of position. What usually happens is that the hips get pitched forward and the lower back gets compressed and hollowed out, so that weight is more likely to be pressing down on nerves rather than traveling with equal distribution down all points of the spinal column.