How does biofeedback work?
Most illnesses are associated with physiological changes. Scientists know that our bodies respond physically to stress. Furthermore, the body responds in a similar way whether that stress is physical, emotional or environmental. It can even react in a similar way whether that stress is life threatening or a temporary annoyance.In biofeedback training, patients are taught to change several physiological processes in a way that may improve their health. These changes were once thought to be beyond our voluntary control. Biofeedback has shown that people can learn to make these changes.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is actually a tool that will allow you to see yourself making those changes. Chances are you have used biofeedback if you’ve ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale. Both of these devices give you information about your body’s condition so that you can make changes. The biofeedback instruments will monitor your body’s physiological activity of breathing, blood flow, heart rate, skin conductance and muscle tension. You receive immediate feedback while making changes. Thus, you will quickly learn what adjustments may be beneficial for your body in order to decrease pain and distress.
Who might benefit from biofeedback?
People benefit from biofeedback for a variety of physical and emotional disorders. Some types of conditions which can be helped with biofeedback include:
High blood pressure
Anxiety and panic
Repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome
Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
Neck, shoulder and back pain
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Other types of chronic pain
How long does biofeedback therapy take?
This varies for each individual and their special pain concern. Most people find that they can learn what they need in 8-10 sessions. The good news is that your effort is essential in determining the success of your treatment. You have control over your progress by practicing the techniques and completing assignments between sessions. What you can expect to achieve will depend on your effort and goals. Some people want to get more relief from their health problems than they’ve had with other treatments. Others simply want to rely less on medications. Whatever your goal is, you will undergo an initial evaluation in order to help us design an individualized treatment program in consultation with our multidisciplinary team. The biofeedback program at the Shepherd Spine and Pain Institute is under the direction of a clinical psychologist who specializes in using dynamic biofeedback training geared toward the management of pain.