What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Biofeedback Treatment for Migraines

How Does Biofeedback Work?

Biofeedback is a technique that enables individuals to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that are normally involuntary. These processes include blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, brain waves and skin temperature. A trained therapist using electrodes that are attached to the skin measures each of the processes and the readouts are displayed on a monitor. The therapist then leads the individual in mental exercises and, through a process of trial and error to determine which processes work best, the individual learns how to control the involuntary functions to bring healing to themselves.

The Best Methods for Migraines

There are three commonly used methods of biofeedback therapy that include electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle tension; thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature; and neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain wave activity. Biofeedback is a type of complementary and alternative medicine that falls under the heading of mind-body therapy. Biofeedback for migraines may be used alongside relaxation therapy that teaches relaxation techniques and strategies for reducing tension and stress through the body - something that is important for migraine sufferers.

Two of the three treatments have been effective with migraines. Thermal biofeedback works by consciously controlling the warming of a person's hands, raising the temperature so that individual is able to control the symptoms of their migraine. Since it is a non-invasive, non-drug treatment, it is great for pregnant women and children as well. EMG measures muscle tension, so an individual using this technique learns to control muscle tension in the face, neck, and shoulders. EMG has been shown to reduce headache activity by approximately 55 percent.

Effectiveness of Biofeedback

Coupled with standard treatments, biofeedback can be a very effective method of treating migraine headaches. Some types of biofeedback have been used successfully in treating teenagers who suffer with migraine headaches. While the use of migraine medications such as triptan drugs works well for adults as well as teenagers, teaching younger people to use biofeedback techniques not only gives them equally effective treatment, it does so without the use of drugs. When considering the wide-spread use of drugs among teens, a solution that is non-drug is attractive.

Non-Drug, Non-Invasive Treatment

There are a variety of options available for the treatment of migraine headaches. Some, such as migraine medications are considered mainstream and standard care methods. However, by using non-drug therapies, like biofeedback, people who desire drug-free treatment can be helped effectively as well. As mentioned earlier, biofeedback can be used as a complementary method to standard treatment, and together both methods are very effective.