Treating Your Migraines with Biofeedback

Treating Your Migraines with Biofeedback

Migraines are one of the more common conditions that affects the world’s population — 10% report ongoing problems with migraines, which affect women three times more than men. 

What can also be said of migraines is that they develop in people for many different reasons — from the foods they eat to the weather outside.

No matter how the head pain develops, there are certain treatment avenues designed to prevent migraines from taking hold in the first place.

At Pain Medicine Consultants, our team understands the benefits of multi-pronged approaches to solving common, and painful, conditions like migraines. From medications to behavioral training, there are many ways in which we can reduce the severity and frequency of your migraine attacks.

In this month’s blog post, we’re taking a closer look at a highly successful behavioral therapy for migraines called biofeedback. 

When your body is stressed

The relationship between stress and migraines is a close one. Many report that stress can be a trigger for migraines, and even if it isn’t, your body is in a state of stress when a migraine hits. 

No matter the role that your body’s stress response plays in your migraines, it’s an area that’s well worth addressing. Reducing stress can prevent migraines and greatly reduce their severity when they do attack.

When your sympathetic nervous system initiates a stress response, there’s a cascade of physiological changes that the release of stress hormones causes, including muscle tension, body temperature, and a diversion of blood flow, to name just a few. 

Some of these changes make conditions more favorable for head pain, so our goal is to reduce these responses through biofeedback.

Biofeedback measures your body’s response to stress and pain

With biofeedback, we help you better understand and control your body’s responses. Using instruments that measure muscle tension and body temperature, our goal is to help you focus on how your body responds and then learn how to modify or control these responses.

For example, we might measure the tension in the muscles in your forehead or in your jaw. Using a sound or light that indicates increasing tension, you can work toward reducing that sound or changing the light by concentrating on relaxing these muscles.

This ability to modify your body’s unconscious muscular response to stress or pain can not only help during the middle of a migraine attack. You can use it at any time to relieve developing tension that may lead to head pain.

This same concept applies to better regulating your body temperature and circulation. When your body is in a state of stress, certain blood vessels constrict, such as those in your hands, while others expand, such as those to your brain. 

Through biofeedback, we can help you relax the blood vessels in your hands to divert the additional flow of blood to your head, which can exacerbate headaches.

Biofeedback becomes an exercise that you can perform on your own to keep stress responses (and your migraines) at bay.

If you’d like to explore how biofeedback can play a role in your migraine treatment plan, please contact one of our offices in Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, or Corte Madera, California, to schedule an appointment.

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