Biofeedback: Your Solution for Pain
Physicians can attest that one of the most difficult complaints to manage that they often encounter is treating chronic pain. It is no surprise that NSAIDS may not be effective for chronic pain while opiod treatments can be dangerous. Using opiods in treating chronic pains poses risks of side effects, as well as addiction. This is why treating patients suffering from fibromyalgia and other chronic pain is a great challenge for physicians.
Managing Patient Pain: The Difficulties and Challenges
Pain is a sign that there is something wrong. However, in the case of chronic pain, it is harder to figure out what the real problem is.
Arthritis and back pain are some of the most common types of chronic pain with back pain that occurs more frequently in younger patients (while arthritis affects older patients.) Since chronic pain is prevalent, it is a problem that the majority of general practitioners encounter periodically.
For musculoskeletal pain, anti-inflammatory medications can provide relief but this comes with a cost. In the case of older patients however, the risk can substantially increase. For those who are using NSAIDS for a long time, gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers may be uncommon. For older patients who may be on medication for cardiac problems, NSAIDs may have dangerous interactions with those medications. The impairment to kidney function is particularly troubling in older patients, and all of these risks in elderly patients has caused the American Geriatrics Society to declare that NSAIDs are no longer recommended for older adults with chronic pain.
For all users, opiods carry added risk. The risk of addiction indicates that doctors must be extra cautious when prescribing opiods, and strict governmental control provides an additional layer of analysis for opiod prescriptions. The high rate of side effects (most prominently, constipation and nausea) and the fear of addiction can lead some patients and physicians to under-prescribe these medications and to under-use these medications.
For chronic pain patients whose pain is not musculoskeletal, the challenge of treatment increases. As one study reports, “Chronic pain syndromes, such as FMS, are defined by subjective symptoms and lack unique pathophysiological characteristics. Questions often arise regarding the nature and existence of illnesses like FMS. Indeed, no discrete boundary separates syndromes such as FMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic muscular headaches.
Chronic Pain and Biofeedback
Studies have proved what most doctors have known for years: that a patient’s perception of pain is influenced by that patient’s emotional situation. By looking at the correlation between the body and the mind, many analysts have been studying mind-body alternatives to pain treatment, such as hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness training, and biofeedback.
For chronic musculoskeletal pain, a study in 1993 compared the performance of three types of treatment: biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and conservative medical treatment. Initially, all three groups showed improvement in their pain symptoms. By 6 months and 24 months after treatment, only the biofeedback group had maintained their improvements. The biofeedback group significantly reduced their pain severity, interference, pain-related health care visits, and stress-related reactivity of the affected muscles, and these positive effects continued for two years after the treatment in a significant portion of these treated patients.
For fibromyalgia, biofeedback is often questioned. Some studies have indicated its efficacy as a treatment option for fibromyalgia. Some studies have pointed out that biofeedback is useful, but not more or less effective than exercise. Perhaps it’s most certain to say that biofeedback may be effective in facilitating to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, compared to other treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, exercise, SAM-e, etc., Biofeedback and Bioresonance Therapy for Chronic Pain Management is universally regarded as safe for most patients.