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Minimally Invasive Pain Institute

Alternative Pain Management


Biofeedback therapy is a form of alternative pain management in which the patient learns to associate physiological responses to painful symptoms and make proactive physical changes to gain control over the pain and find relief. Some methods of biofeedback therapy treatment include electromyography (EMG); neurofeedback, which employs an electroencephalogram (EEG); galvanic skin response training, which measures perspiration; thermal biofeedback to measure skin temperatures; forced oscillation method to assess pressure and flow of the breath during respiration. Individual biofeedback results may vary. Some patients find it to be a lifelong solution for chronic pain relief.

Before Biofeedback Therapy
Biofeedback therapies can be performed on an outpatient basis in a variety of facilities. For most biofeedback therapies, no preparation is needed to conduct the procedure. However, for neurofeedback to be employed, a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) brain map is sometimes generated before biofeedback can be initiated. A QEEG can be used to evaluate the patient’s brain function and determine whether the patient is a good candidate for neurofeedback training.

During Biofeedback Therapy
A typical biofeedback session can last 30 to 60 minutes depending on the procedure and the patient’s response to therapy. During the session, electrical sensors (electrodes) are placed on various parts of the body. These electrodes are connected to monitors that give feedback in the form of auditory or visual cues. While a patient is experiencing pain in a session, they learn how their body is responding to pain (i.e. tense muscles) and how to make positive physical changes (i.e. relax muscles) to regain control. Alternative biofeedback pain management therapies can involve as few as 10 or as many as 50 sessions over the course of several weeks.

After Biofeedback Therapy
After patients learn to regulate their pain (without the help of a therapist or biofeedback equipment), they may continue biofeedback therapy on their own and may only need an occasional refresher session to stay on track. Although our therapists keep accurate records of patient responses to therapy, many patients find it useful to assess the effectiveness of biofeedback on their own by keeping a diary or journal to monitor their use of the treatment. By recording how they feel before, during, and after, they can gauge how well biofeedback is working and continue down a path to better chronic pain relief.