Neurofeedback and Pain
How can Neurofeedback help pain?
Pain is actually sensed in the brain. It is not “out there” in the body where it is felt. The brain is ultimately in charge of how severely the pain is perceived and where it is localized in the body. The brain also registers pain emotionally, and feeling of fear, trauma, or helplessness may increase pain sensitivity.
One way to deal with the self-reinforcing cycle of chronic pain is to redefine the way the brain interprets nerve impulses and allow its sensitivity to return to normal levels. Clinical outcome studies indicate that Neurofeedback or EEG (brain wave) biofeedback can be used to break the cycle and lead to a decrease or in, some cases, total elimination of chronic pain.
EEG biofeedback uses sophisticated computer technology to allow the therapist to monitor the brain waves. Visual and auditory cues are given to the patient to coach him/her to alter the brain waves toward more normal patterns of activity.
In the case of chronic pain, the brain is paying too much attention and has become over-sensitized. By learning to control the brain waves with the aid of EEG biofeedback, one can affect the underlying structure of one’s attention and return the brain’s pain sensitivity to normal levels.
Neuofeedback is a non-invasive process which uses state of the art digital technology to monitor and train the brain in ways which were previously not thought possible. Yet the key to its remarkable effectiveness in dealing with chronic pain is not the hardware or software, but rather the brain’s ability to learn to reorganize and maintain its own functional state. Brain plasticity allows us to alter how we function in life.
Comprehensive Pain Management Programs
Los Angeles area:
Joshua Prager MD
California Pain Medicine Centers
A few suggested readings about pain
Free Yourself From Pain David E Bresler Awareness Press, 1979
Managing PAIN before It Manages You Margaret A Caudill, M.D., PhD The Guilford Press, New York, 2000 - Revised edition
Living with RSDS, Linda Lang and Peter Moskovitz, M.D. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. 2003 (Very specific reading about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)