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Migraine Headaches HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

Biofeedback

Biofeedback has been found to reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It is one of the few natural therapies that is a viable option to prescription drugs. In fact, biofeedback often is used to steer patients away from their dependence on drugs.

Biofeedback training can instruct headache sufferers on how to control certain involuntary functions of the body, such as heart rate or body temperature, which can ward off headaches.

In the case of migraines, the blood vessels in the head narrow and then expand, causing pain. The objective of the biofeedback training is to stabilize or alter these blood vessel or muscle functions.

For example, a migraine sufferer could learn to raise the temperature of a part of the body, say the hands. This change in temperature would redirect the flow of blood from the painful vessels in the head to the hands. Thus the primary objective in a biofeedback session for the treatment of migraine is to increase the blood flow to the hands. When blood is directed to the hands, it reduces the rush of blood that has strained the vessels in and around the head area. As these blood vessels become less swollen, the head pain subsides.

You'll need professional help to learn the skill of biofeedback. But once you've learned how to control your response to your tension and migraines, you'll be able to practice this relaxation technique at home.

This is how it would work.

A practitioner might use electrodes attached to the head and fingers hooked up to a biofeedback monitor, which reveals the current temperature of the hands and any tension in the head.

The patient concentrates on the idea of submerging the hands in a tub of hot water.

Meanwhile, the practitioner gives instructions on how to relax.

The monitor shows the progress of the hand's actual temperature and the tension in the head.

After several training sessions, the hands do change temperature. Eventually the patient can raise the temperature of the hands without the aid of the monitor.

Biofeedabck for control of migraine is often aumented by techniques for relaxation such as progressive relaxation. Here is a simple relaxation exercise you can do at home.
bulletLie down or sit in a comfortable chair. Wear loose clothing.
bulletClose your eyes and imagine tightening the muscles in your feet. Then release these muscles.
bulletNext, direct your attention to your calves, tensing and then easing these muscles in the same fashion.
bulletContinue up the body, including your arms, until you end with your scalp.

For more details of relxation techniques and stress management, visit our stress management section.

You can learn more on biofeedback here.

Also See: Neurofeedback

Next Topic:Chiropractic

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