-- Question: What Is Biofeedback And When Is It Used To Relieve Pain?
Answer: In the chronic pain patient, we often need many different tools to treat the patient. Biofeedback is one of these tools that helps the patient to modulate their pain or tune it down.
Pain is often associated with anxiety, and anxiety can certainly be managed with biofeedback. There are various forms of biofeedback. Biofeedback can be measuring muscle tension; it can measure skin temperature; it can measure sweating; or the most sophisticated forms of biofeedback now measure brainwaves that are associated with the pain. This type of biofeedback is called brainwave biofeedback or EEG biofeedback, for electro-encephalography or EEG.
Brainwave biofeedback has the advantage of actually allowing the technologist to look at what's going on in the patient's brain in terms of the impact pain has. By teaching the patient through brainwave biofeedback to minimize the brainwaves that are associated with their pain, the patient can learn to tune down their pain. The patient can also learn when a situation is likely to provoke the pain without physically provoking it, but by emotionally provoking it. And when the patient, through biofeedback, learns when pain is emotionally provoked, they can actually use the tool that they learned in biofeedback to tune down the situation and tune down the pain.