Participating in and delivering the ATEAM trial (Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage) interventions for chronic back pain: A qualitative study of professional perspectives

Complement Ther Med. 2010 Jun-Aug;18(3-4):119-27. Epub 2010 Jul 3.
Beattie A, Shaw A, Yardley L, Little P, Sharp D
 

Department of Social Medicine, Canynge Hall, University of Bristol, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK  Angela.Beattie@bristol.ac.uk

 

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES

To outline professionals' experiences of participation, perceived benefits and acceptability of the interventions delivered in the ATEAM trial (Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage), for patients with chronic or recurrent back pain.

 

DESIGN

Qualitative study using in-depth interviews was conducted with a purposeful sample of twenty professionals (general practitioners (GPs), nurses, Alexander technique teachers, and massage therapists). Data were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically using the constant comparison method.

 

RESULTS

Evidence of effectiveness GPs wanted an evidence base for the interventions, whilst nurses, Alexander technique teachers and massage therapists perceived patient reports of benefit as evidence. Professionals' perception of the acceptability of the intervention: professional perspectives differed, with GPs and nurses viewing the structured nature of exercise prescription and Alexander technique lessons as more beneficial and acceptable than massage in alleviating patients' back pain. Economic cost: the cost to patients pursuing Alexander technique lessons and massage was perceived to be a barrier outside the trial. Inter-professional communication: there was little communication between the professionals groups within the trial.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Valuable insights have been gained into the perceived benefits and acceptability of exercise, Alexander technique lessons and massage as interventions for chronic back pain. Lessons in the Alexander technique with or without exercise, was perceived as more beneficial and acceptable than massage by professionals who participated and delivered the ATEAM trial interventions.

 

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

 

Back problems

I would not say I am a fan of the technique – I am a disciple. For many years I suffered with chronic neck pain following a horse riding accident. When my HR manager recommended the Alexander Technique I was intrigued. Her father, a stroke victim, had experienced an incredible recovery from practising the Technique – to the point where he no longer needed a walking stick. After the first lesson I felt a dramatic difference; my neck felt long and free like a giraffe.

Annette Shaw

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