Sameena's story – using the Alexander technique for neck pain
Dr Sameena Akbar, a clinical psychologist, had been suffering with chronic neck pain since the late 90s. Despite consulting her GP, trying massage, osteotherapy and physiotherapy she couldn’t find any lasting relief because, as she now understands, they never tackled the root of the problem. So she learned to push through the pain and became resigned to the fact that this was just how it was going to be.
Things really started to come to a head in 2009 when the pain in her neck and shoulder left her constantly physically exhausted and was so debilitating that she couldn’t function properly. She was also becoming very low. She and her partner were planning to have a baby but she began to worry that it would be difficult to actually pick up a child in her current state.
It was at this point a friend, who had been introduced to the Alexander technique as a teenager and swore by it, suggested that she had nothing to lose by giving it a go. Dr Akbar was initially very sceptical and considered it ‘a bit alternative’. However, she researched the science behind the technique, studied the randomised clinical trials available at the time and decided to commit to learning it for six months."This is how I’m supposed to feel."
She's never looked back and says the Alexander technique changed her life completely, citing one defining moment when she left a lesson, stepped out onto the street and, for the first time in years, thought ‘this is what it feels like to be pain free, this is how I’m supposed to feel’. The clarity of the moment spurred her on to learn more, make further changes and correct poor postural habits and movements.
Dr Akbar says she now thinks very differently and the pain no longer controls her, she controls it. Neck pain is now a rarity, she no longer feels very low and is a happy, healthy mother of one.