Pain in the neck

Ongoing (chronic) neck pain is difficult to treat – with many single treatments generally not providing long term benefits. Whether the cause is tension and stress, too many hours sitting at a desk, or manual labour, sufferers will be pleased to hear that new research has found that both acupuncture and the Alexander technique are successful ways to reduce pain and the associated disability of chronic neck pain.

The study of over 500 patients with ongoing neck pain found that those who received either acupuncture or sessions in the Alexander Technique for four or five months still reported less pain and disability when followed up over 6 months later.

Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.

The Alexander Technique is a method created by an Australian actor F.M Alexander. It works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination.

Both acupuncture and the Alexander Technique can help to reduce not only chronic neck pain, but also other forms of muscle and joint pain. If you’re interested in finding a local practitioner, try the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association of Australia or for more information on the Alexander Technique visit

Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)

MacPherson, H et al. Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 11/3/2015; 163(9): 653-662