I had heard about the Alexander Technique from my doctor, having had chronic muscular back pain from a young age and been unable to find relief from physio or chiropractors. I borrowed a couple of books on the technique from the library and found them to be interesting with useful hints, but not really being able to see how that was directly going to benefit me. I bought this book on a whim because I read some good reviews, and what a difference!
This book by Deborah Caplan is something that I would (and have) highly recommended to everyone I know, back pain sufferers or not. I found myself reading through and realising that so much of it applied to me, and so far I don't know anyone who hasn't found something relevant in there for themselves.
I have always had a very active lifestyle, playing physical sports, caring for large animals, carrying heavy bags around and working at a copmuter desk 9-5. What this book has taught me is that I can still do these activities, and often better than I was previously able, by slightly modifying my posture and mentality around how I use my body. But even more so, it's the changes in seemingly insignificant, every day activities that has really amazed me and, I think, made the most difference to my pain. Every time I get the chance I tell people about relaxing back and neck muscles when you clean your teeth! This seems such a small, mundane thing but I honestly think it's realising this sort of incorrect learned behaviour that has made such a difference to me. I use the semi-supine position daily and find it immensely therapeutic and both physically and mentally rewarding. Even if I've overused my back, I know I can look forwards to straightening things out with this brief daily exercise.
I would recommend anyone who has anything from mild muscular back pain occasionally to those with sciatica, slipped discs and other much more chronic and acute conditions to take a look at this book. I would really like to have a few sessions with an Alexander teacher, but until I can I will keep referring to this text. I have subsequently had some experience with Tai Chi and found the two to be extremely well suited. And I've never been the type to be persuaded by such seemingly touchy feely science - I am a researcher so generally more at home in a lab or computer programme!