Approximately 20 percent of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8 percent had high-impact chronic pain—meaning pain that limited at least one major life activity—in 2016. Chronic pain has been linked to restricted mobility, opioid dependency, anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life, and it contributes to an estimated $560 billion annually in direct medical costs, lost productivity, and disability programs in the United States alone.1
Chronic pain is associated with a shorter life span, as well as co-morbidity with heart and respiratory disease. People with chronic pain tend to have higher rates of depression 2, as well as anxiety and insomnia 3.
Treatments for chronic pain include medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and opioids. Chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, and like many complex disorders is best handled by a team of health care practitioners. Neurofeedback, as well as physical therapy and acupuncture can be effective stand- alone treatments, as well as being synergistic with other modalities. Psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy also have been shown to be helpful.
With alternative therapies such as neurofeedback, acupuncture, and physical therapy, pain can be managed without side effects. This decreases the need for medication, decreasing co-morbidity with other illnesses, and improving the patient’s overall quality of life.
Treating Pain with Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback can address the pain directly, through regulation of brain waves in the pain receptor areas of the brain. Progress can be monitored objectively, over time, through the use of EEG brain mapping. Neurofeedback can also be used to address other issues that a typical chronic pain patient may be experiencing- such as depression, anxiety, insomnia. The brain also processes pain in the emotional centers of the brain- neurofeedback works to regulate these emotional traumas in the area of the brain from which they originate.
Data from literature confirm the high efficacy of neurofeedback in pain syndromes treatment, chronic and acute as well.” 4 If you are in the Fort Collins or Northern Colorado area, contact us to set up an appointment for EEG brain mapping and neurofeedback treatment for chronic pain.
Neurofeedback and Chronic Pain Management: Watch a Case Study
Further scientific reading:
2- Currie SR, Wang J: More data on major depression as an antecedent risk factor for first onset of chronic back pain. Psychol Med 2005; 35:1275–82
3- Banks SM, Kerns RD: Explaining high rates of depression in chronic pain: A doiathesis-stress framework. Psychol Bull 1996; 119:95–110
4- Kubik A, Biedroń A. Neurofeedback therapy in patients with acute and chronic pain syndromes–literature review and own experience. Przegl Lek. 2013;70(7):440-2. Review. PubMed PMID: 24167944
Updated September 2020