How Biofeedback May Help Chronic Pain
What is your body telling you? The body has many ways of signaling problems. Signals such as high blood pressure and rapid pulse rate are commonly encountered when under stress. Muscles will tense up when under duress too. Being aware of these signals from your body, you can potentially use feedback to evoke change. This type of mindfulness is termed biofeedback and it is used to treat people with chronic pain.
Imagine being able to control your heart rate. Through meditation, you could substantially lower their pulse because of the relaxation response. But unlike meditation, biofeedback would actually allow you to see your pulse on a monitor via electrodes that record the signals from the heart. By seeing your heart rate, you can train your mind to control it. Monitoring the signals from your body can also help you visualize your muscle activity. Certain muscles groups in your neck or your low back might be particularly tense. A trained biofeedback practitioner can help you learn to relax those muscles and control the measurements as seen on a screen.
The benefits of being able to control your body with your mind can be substantial because it helps you reverse the effects of chronic stress and pain. Not only can you change how you feel in the moment, you can also change how you respond to stress and pain in the future. As a result of this control, you may need fewer medications, you may have less pain, and you may feel better overall.
Other conditions besides chronic pain might respond to biofeedback like constipation, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, and headaches.
You can find a practitioner by looking at the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (www.aapd.org). If you want to conduct your own biofeedback program in the comfort of your own home, check out the Wild Devine Relaxing Rhythms. One reviewer wrote:
“This is not a quick fix, not a gimmick, it takes practice and patience…If you are serious about managing unhealthy stress, are willing to do your part and take the time to pay close attention to your body and teach yourself natural approaches, Healing Rhythms will do its part to take you on that journey as far as you want to go”
Biofeedback can take you into the depths of your mind as you use it to control your body. The mind is a powerful tool against the effects of chronic pain and stress. Consider unleashing that power with biofeedback. You might find Devine relief beyond your imagination.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.