Headache disorders are a “worldwide problem,” affecting about half of the global population. It’s the kind of health condition that the medical world does not yet fully understand, leaving many patients feeling helpless.
In recent years, technology has created more treatments for headache disorders than ever before. One of these treatments is biofeedback for headaches. The best part about this method is that it requires no medication.
To find out exactly what biofeedback is and if it may help you or a loved one, check out the guide below.
What is Biofeedback for Headaches?
The beginnings of biofeedback can be traced back to the early 1900s. Edmund Jacobson dedicated his life to holistic medicine. He researched the connection between muscle tension and medical disorders.
There are several different types of biofeedback. They all involve monitoring different bodily responses. An EEG may be used to monitor brain waves, while abdomen and chest bands monitor the respiratory system. Other sensors and devices can measure heart rate, muscle contraction, sweat gland activity, and temperature.
A licensed biofeedback therapist monitors the data output of these devices. Then, they teach the patient techniques for producing better results. It’s like a life hack for personal health.
Another great aspect of this therapy is that no preparation is required. During a biofeedback session, the therapist will attach the necessary devices to different parts of the patient’s body.
For headaches, biofeedback can identify the exact muscles that are triggering headaches. This helps better inform what can be done to address those specific muscles.
The therapist then teaches the patient techniques for relaxing the specific muscles. These are the muscles that are causing headaches or other medical ailments.
Advantages and Limitations
Headache disorders are all too common, and medications for headaches have far too many nasty side effects. Like dinnerdude.com mentions, those suffering from menopause headaches may find a natural remedy in biofeedback. One of the best advantages of this method is that it is non-invasive and is generally safe for everyone.
This method is designed to help patients learn to manage the stress and tension that can lead to medical ailments. However, there are some limitations. Some people with heart or skin conditions may not be suited for this treatment. Make sure to consult your primary care physician before starting biofeedback therapy.
Additionally, this treatment can be time-consuming and is often not covered by insurance.
Many biofeedback techniques are simple relaxation techniques. They can be performed without a biofeedback therapist. Two common ones include Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and breathing techniques.
For PMR, practice breathing in and tensing specific muscle groups for 4 to 10 seconds, then breathing out and relaxing those muscles. Give your body 10 to 20 seconds between sets.
Breathing techniques may include the 4-6-2 method or vipassana. For example, 4-6-2 involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding it for 2, and breathing out for 6.
Finding a Biofeedback Therapist
Considering that biofeedback for headaches has no known side effects, it doesn’t hurt to try it out. When searching for a biofeedback therapist, make sure that they are licensed in some related area. It may be something like psychology, physical therapy, or nursing. Don’t forget to ask about the extent of their experience in biofeedback therapy.
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