Is Biofeedback For You?

by John A. Jerome, PhD

Biofeedback is a well researched pain self management technique in which you learn to control bodily functions, such as breathing rate and muscle tension, using your mind.  With biofeedback, you're connected to sensors that help you measure and receive information (feedback) about your body (bio).  The biofeedback sensors teach you how to recognize subtle changes in your body's tension, so that you learn to control muscle tension and respiratory rate to achieve the results you want, such as reducing pain and stress.
 
In essence, biofeedback gives you the power to use your thoughts to control your body, often to help with a health condition and to relax yourself and the tension pain causes.
 
Biofeedback appeals to patients for a variety of reasons: it is non invasive, it is a treatment alternative for those who are tired of taking muscle relaxers and sleep medications or who find themselves needing to take too much pain medicine. It helps people take charge of their health.  
 
You don't need special preparation for biofeedback.  However, you should discuss biofeedback first with your doctor to make sure it is a good option for you. Biofeedback is administered by a licensed psychologist or physical therapist as part of their overall pain management care program for you.  It can be included, for insurance purposes, as part of your physical therapy or pain psychology care.