Treating Headaches with Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a valuable therapy that can help you control headache episodes and teaches you how to balance medication and other alternative therapies. This technique allows you to change specific physical responses that were once considered out of people’s control to reduce or avoid headaches all together.
Biofeedback treatment is extremely effective at treating various disorders, including anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, sleep disorders and headaches. Today, this type of treatment is considered to be an accepted and scientifically proven modality that teaches patients to control headache symptoms. If you are willing to commit to this type of therapy and engage in daily practice, the results can be compelling. In general, the treatment has a very high rate of success – similar to the efficacy of certain drugs used for headache problems, such as tricyclic antidepressants for tension headache and beta blockers for migraine.
At Adkins Headache Center, you can learn this technique with the help of a biofeedback machine. This machine provides you with instant feedback and gives you the opportunity to make changes to reduce pain, lower stress levels, and improve health conditions such as headaches. For instance, paying attention to muscular tension allows you to apply certain techniques, such as biofeedback relaxation, to eliminate tension in the head and neck. This reduces blood flow to the head and helps to prevents headaches.
Techniques such as biofeedback meditation and relaxation include slow abdominal breathing, focusing on or visualizing positive images and concentrating on feelings of warmth in different parts of the body.
Biofeedback treatment methods include:
- Breathing: Breathing patterns and respiration rates are monitored with bands placed around the abdomen and chest.
- Heart rate: Heart rate and heart rate variability are tracked with finger or earlobe sensors.
- Muscle tension: Electromyography (also called EMG) sensors monitor the electrical activity of muscles that contract and create tension.
- Sweat glands: Sensors attached around the fingers, palm or wrist with an electrodermograph measure the activity of sweat glands and the amount of perspiration to alert a user of anxiety.
Biofeedback Treatment at Adkins Headache Center
Biofeedback treatment enables you to play an active role in improving your health. This therapy is usually incorporated with other types of therapies, including medication, lifestyle modifications and alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Trained clinicians will take you step by step through the therapeutic process by using cutting-edge medical equipment. Real-time results and data, such as temperature and EMG, will help you realize when and how you are influencing your physiological responses with relaxation and meditation techniques. Additionally, you will be taught how to incorporate this therapy at home by monitoring your skin temperature, which can effectively decrease or prevent the occurrence of headaches.
Most importantly, patients at Adkins Headache Center learn to pay close attention to muscle tension and stress, with or without the help of a biofeedback machine. Since physical and emotional tension are both tied to the occurrence of headaches, modifying your responses on demand can greatly boost the results of your headache treatment plan.
Over time, patients gain a sense of self-efficacy and seem to exert some control over their physiological symptoms. These patients learn a wide variety of coping techniques and reduce headache occurrences. Throughout training, a physician periodically evaluates the reoccurrence, severity and duration of headaches so that with time, medication can be reduced or eliminated.
With the help of qualified professionals at Adkins Headache Center, and with adequate practice and effort, you will learn to recognize physical sensations without wearing any type of machine. Once the instruments are removed, you are free to practice the biofeedback methods you have learned anytime and anywhere.