Change your posture and you may never look back
Many back-sufferers spend years in pain when, in many cases, all they need to do is change their posture
“But the Alexander Technique [which was developed by Australian actor Frederick Matthias Alexander in the 1890s] involves becoming aware and changing postural habits that are at the root of a multitude of health issues such as back pain, neck problems, breathing problems, depression and anxiety, to name just a few.”
He says the technique improves posture and performance, which makes it suitable for perfectly healthy people looking to improve all sports, particularly running, swimming, golf and horse riding.
“I have been teaching the technique now since 1989, and have great sympathy for people with back pain – I know that most of the routes people go down give little more than short-term relief and sometimes make it worse.
“In my new book I wanted to bring a message of hope to all those in pain. There is a technique that really does work and anyone can learn it simply and in a short period of time.
“Nearly everyone I have helped has far too much tension in their back muscles – but they are completely unaware that they are tensing these muscles. They do it unconsciously. Once they realise this is the case they can release the tension and their back starts to improve. The results are often very dramatic.
“I also wanted to expose one of the causes of back pain which 49 per cent of the population suffer from; namely the very common sloping-back school chair which is used in nearly all schools in Ireland.
“I am very active in trying to improve their design which often causes children to tilt their chair forward as they don’t like the feeling of being pulled backwards.
“Over 21 per cent of children under 16 have back problems and I have in fact managed to change a proposed EU directive which was opening the way for school furniture to be allowed to slope back even further.”
Brennan’s book details all the bad habits which often result in a lifetime of back problems – I have found it easy to read and the tips are straightforward , so I am very hopeful for a miracle cure. Watch this space.
Back in Balance by Richard Brennan, published by Duncan Baird and costing €15, will be launched on Thursday, October 3rd, at 6.30pm at Charlie Byrnes Bookshop in Galway city.
Basic tips to improve your posture
When sitting, make sure the chair you are sitting on is not sloping back.
When standing, try to put equal weight on each foot. People often favour one leg and then sink into one hip.
Don’t stand up straight as you were told as a child – this only tenses the back muscles even more.
Realise that life is NOT an emergency. Lie down on the floor for 20 minutes each day with the head supported by books or a pillow and the feet on the ground and the knees pointing to the ceiling. This is a fantastic way of relieving pain in the back.