Recommended, 2022

Editor'S Choice

Biofeedback: Migraine therapy without any side effects

This relaxation method is gentle on the body, but tough on migraines: it is balm for soul and nervousness! Our body is strong - when we listen to it!

In biofeedback treatment, the patient learns to listen in and prevent a migraine attack
Photo: gajatz, fotolia

This is particularly important in the fight against headaches and migraines: every third woman and every fifth man have a headache regularly, with migraines suffering around ten percent. Despite all research, the violent head attacks are not curable so far. A study from Atlanta (USA) found that hormones and stress are the most common triggers for migraine.

Where stress plays a role, biofeedback can effectively combat migraine. Here, patients learn to understand the feedback (feedback) of their body and to influence it. In this way, migraine patients can train to squeeze the aching artery in the temple like a sponge and narrow or widen it so that the pain disappears. Studies have proven that this works!

Stress releases tension

Unconsciously perceived by those affected, stress and overwork often trigger symptoms such as muscle tension, heart problems or changes in the blood circulation. The method of biofeedback makes these problems visible and thus changeable for the patient. Through the use of biofeedback in the treatment of pain, the patient receives feedback about physical reactions in stressful situations and insight into the close interplay of mental and physical processes.

Consciously controlling the circulation

Through biofeedback treatment, the patient learns to listen to himself. This allows him to activate processes in his body that help prevent a migraine attack and reduce pain. However, the method only succeeds if the person involved cooperates. In the biofeedback session, electrodes are applied to the patient, for example on the head. These measure blood pressure, skin conductance and brain waves. On the screen, therapist and patient can then easily read the reactions of the body.

Effective without side effects

Biofeedback is considered completely harmless and absolutely free of side effects. The use of biofeedback for pain control and pain control can hardly be thought away from the treatment of patients with chronic tension-type headaches. The German Headache and Migraine Society even cites biofeedback as the most effective non-drug headache treatment. Even recent studies show that biofeedback can prevent migraine attacks as effectively as relaxation techniques and drug therapies!

Eliminate the stress

The basis of this effectiveness is the observation that stress and the development of migraine are directly related. It is certain that migraine attacks can be triggered by specific trigger factors such as alcohol, certain foods, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, pronounced emotions or stress. Particularly psychological factors seem to play an important role in the triggering of the migraine attack, as has been proven in a number of studies beyond doubt.

In the treatment of migraine, the so-called temperature biofeedback (hand warming training) and vasoconstriction training (VKT, conscious change in the blood flow of the vessels) a. In temperature biofeedback, the patient learns to specifically increase his finger temperature and thus his peripheral circulation. It is very easy to perform and at the same time a very good training of general relaxation ability.

Through vasoconstriction training, the patient can stretch or narrow his blood vessels with the power of his imagination alone. An infrared blood flow meter (photoplethysmograph) helps to observe the temporal artery. These two therapeutic approaches are now considered to be extremely effective psychological treatments for migraine and are often used in combination with other relaxation techniques such as autogenic training, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation.

Although biofeedback is mainly used for stress headaches and tension, positive effects of this method have also been found in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Biofeedback is also effective for circulatory disorders and stress incontinence.