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The University of Southampton
Active Living

Key research projects

Alexander Technique and Supervised Physiotherapy Exercises in back pain (ASPEN) feasibility study

Alexander Technique involves a teacher using both gentle hand contact and verbal instruction to help patients become aware of and avoid harmful habits of muscle use which may cause and maintain pain. This study aims to investigate the mechanisms of Alexander Technique and the mechanism of recovery in back pain.  The Alexander Technique is being compared with conventional exercises, and the combined effects of exercises and Alexander Technique are also being examined. The project is led by Prof Paul Little in the Faulty of Medicine. Co-investigators in the Faculty of Health Sciences are Prof Maria Stokes, overseeing laboratory based measures of function to study mechanisms, and Dr Lisa Roberts who is overseeing the exercise programmes.

Movement dysfunction in academy footballers with femoroacetabular impingement

Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis

Investigators: Nadine Botha,  Dr Martin Warner, Prof Markus Heller, Prof Maria Stokes in collaboration with Mo Gimpel, Matthew Radcliffe (physiotherapists at Southampton Football Club) and Sarah Mottram, Mark Comerford (Movement Performance Solutions. Prof Kim Bennell (University of Melbourne).

Abnormal hip shape is common in professional footballers and can give rise to ‘femoroacetabular impingement' (FAI), which can cause groin pain and increases the risk of osteoarthritis. We do not know how to predict who will develop hip problems, or know when or why this hip shape develops but it is likely to take place during adolescence when the growing portion of bone is susceptible to injury.  We aim to find out more about what causes FAI and what abnormalities in movement are associated with it, to help us find ways of preventing the development of osteoarthritis.

Movement dysfunction is being charactersied for the first time in academy footballers aged 9-18 years, using clinical and functional tests, and biomechanical and neurophysiological techniques to validate measures and understand mechanisms of dysfunction. This work will underpin development of effective exercise programmes to prevent the development of FAI in elite and recreational footballers.

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