Try Biofeedback

Consider Biofeedback

Biofeedback may help you reduce stress, manage pain, and relax. Take some time to learn about biofeedback, who practices it, where to find a practitioner, what it's like, and how it may help you ease pain.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, insomnia, muscle spasms

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

Duration

7

What Is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback can help you learn to control bodily functions that are usually involuntary, such as your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. When you're stressed, your heart rate and breathing speed up, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, and you sweat.

By practicing biofeedback, you learn to slow your heart rate and breathing, relax muscles, and lower blood pressure. The result? You feel more relaxed -- and that may help ease pain.

Prompt: Bio what?

CTA:  Learn how biofeedback works.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, muscle spasms, insomnia

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

A Biofeedback Appt.

During a typical biofeedback session, sensors attached to your body send signals to a screen. On it, a sound, light, or image match a body function, such as your heart or breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweating, or muscle activity.

While you're attached, a biofeedback therapist helps you practice relaxation exercises. The screen shows instant feedback on how much effect your relaxation efforts are having.

Prompt: Mind control.

CTA: Strip the mystery from biofeedback.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, insomnia, muscle spasms

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

Biofeedback Uses

Biofeedback may help someone who has chronic pain by soothing tension and reducing anxiety. There is good evidence that biofeedback therapy can relax muscles and ease stress to reduce both the frequency and severity of headaches. Biofeedback may also help ease discomfort from conditions such as low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, abdominal pain, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), and fibromyalgia.

Prompt: Biofeedback for you?

CTA: Find out some uses for biofeedback.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, insomnia, muscle spasms

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

Biofeedback Skills

Biofeedback experts may guide you through any of these relaxation exercises:

* Deep breathing: Expanding the abdomen, not the chest

* Progressive muscle relaxation: Alternately tightening and relaxing different muscles

* Guided imagery: Focusing your mind on an image (such as the color and texture of an orange)

* Mindfulness meditation: Focusing thoughts and letting go of negative emotions

The goal is to learn to control body functions on your own, without the biofeedback device.

Prompt:  Countdown to mind control.

CTA: How is it done?

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, insomnia, muscle spasms

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

Finding Biofeedback

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other licensed health care professionals may offer biofeedback therapy. To find a qualified provider, contact an organization like the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.

Some insurance plans cover biofeedback, but coverage varies widely.

The number and frequency of sessions depends on your situation, but it's often about 8 to 12 sessions, with each lasting about 30 min.

There are also biofeedback devices that you can use at home, such as on a computer.

Prompt: Become a mind whisperer.

CTA: Who gives biofeedback?  

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, back pain, headache, pain all over, joint pain, menstrual cramps, migraines, TMJ, anxiety, abdominal pain, insomnia, muscle spasms

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension

Treatments: Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

Help for Migraines

Using biofeedback training, you may be able to reduce stress and better manage a headache. Thermal biofeedback is commonly used to help prevent and treat migraines. It teaches you how to increase the blood flow to your fingers while calming your nervous system. Most studies on biofeedback and migraines indicate that it can reduce the frequency and duration of headaches and is comparable to medications.

Prompt: Tackle migraines.

CTA: Try biofeedback training.

Conditions: Migraine

Symptoms:  Headache, migraine, confusion, speech problems, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, exhaustion, depression, aching, burning, pain, pain with movement, throbbing pain, aura, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, vision changes, back of head headache, forehead headache, left side headache, right side headache, whole head headache, pain around eyes, back of head pain, both sides of head pain, forehead pain, left side of head pain, neck pain, right side of head pain, scalp pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, blurred vision, seeing lights

Triggers: Anger, anxiety, stress, strong emotions, tension, not sleeping enough, sleeping too much, menstruation, fumes, strong smells, fatigue, weather changes, alcohol, being hungry, foods

Treatments:  Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, relaxation, relaxation therapy, stress reduction, visualization

Categories: Treatment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 14, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Buse, D. Neurologic Clinics, May 2009.

Young, W. Migraines and Other Headaches, Demos Medical publishing, June 2004.

Sheftell, F. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, August 2005.

Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback Inc.: "Frequently Asked Questions."

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS): Orthoinfo: "Complementary Therapies: Biofeedback."

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Biofeedback."

American Headache Society: "Biofeedback and Relaxation Training for Headaches."

Nicholson, R.A. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, November 2010.

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