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Chronic pain is pain that has persisted for at least 6 months. This often includes conditions such as Headache and Temporomandibular disorders. Fortunately, Biofeedback can help these conditions.Biofeedback uses body monitors to mirror your body’s performance and help you gain increased awareness and self-control. EEG biofeedback is also called neurofeedback or neurotherapy. Biofeedback training methods have been scientifically-validated for the treatment of adult headache and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Biofeedback instructions can teach you to manage chronic pain by providing you with immediate information about your brain’s electrical activity (EEG), skeletal muscle activity (EMG), and skin temperature (TEMP) from biofeedback electrodes using biofeedback equipment.
The major types of adult headache that are effectively treated by biofeedback devices include migraine, tension-type headache, and mixed headache.
Migraine symptoms include:
Tension-type headache symptoms include:
Migraine is diagnosed in 6% of men and 15-18% of women in the United States and Europe. Tension-type headache is diagnosed in 30-80% of adults and is more common in women than men.
After a medical evaluation to determine the cause of your headache, a biofeedback practitioner may monitor your shoulder, neck, and facial muscles, finger temperature, and EEG with biofeedback instruments during the resting, mild stressor, and recovery conditions of a psychophysiological profile.
The resulting profile will enable your biofeedback provider to develop a training program to help you correct abnormal resting or stress-evoked physiological responses that may be associated with headache activity. Common findings from biofeedback stress tests include:
Biofeedback providers may use multiple types of personal biofeedback techniques to treat headache symptoms, including
Biofeedback clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of pain management biofeedback for adult headache. In one study, temperature biofeedback combined with relaxation training produced improvement in 52% of patient diagnosed with migraine or mixed headache.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback’s (AAPB) Evidence-Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, authored by Carolyn Yucha, PhD, and Christopher Gilbert, PhD, awarded biofeedback therapy for adult headache the second-highest rating of efficacious.
Biofeedback practitioners who are experienced in treating headache and certified by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) in General Biofeedback or EEG Biofeedback are qualified to treat adult headache using biofeedback.
Temporomandibular disorders are the second most common cause of orofacial pain after toothache. TMD, which is also called TMJ and bruxism, is a family of disorders characterized by:
More than 10 million Americans may suffer from TMD. The highest incidence is found among young adults, especially women between 20 and 40. The male-to-female ratio is 1 to 4.
A dental professional should first evaluate you to determine whether excessive activity in your facial and/or jaw muscles contributes to your TMD.
A biofeedback specialist may perform a psychophysiological profile and monitor skeletal muscles in your neck, shoulders, face, and jaw during resting, mild stressor, and recovery conditions to identify abnormal patterns of muscle use. This profile will enable your clinician to develop an individualized training program reduce excessive muscle contraction and restore left/right symmetry in muscle tone.
Biofeedback training may combine stress management training with EMG biofeedback to retrain the affected muscle groups.
In a recent review of 13 studies that evaluated the effectiveness of EMG biofeedback and stress management training, 69% of patients receiving EMG biofeedback were either symptom-free or significantly improved. Follow-ups from 3-24 months showed that these patients did not relapse. Evidence-Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback awarded biofeedback therapy for temporomandibular disorders the second-highest rating of efficacious.
Biofeedback professionals who are experienced in treating TMD and certified by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) in General Biofeedback are qualified to treat this disorder using biofeedback.
Reimbursement for biofeedback services varies across insurance providers and geographic locations. Psychologists may code biofeedback services as psychotherapy to increase your likelihood of reimbursement.
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