My Experience with Biofeedback
I am a chronic migraineur, but that is not what defines me. I have been suffering with migraine disease since my teens. I was episodic at first and over time I’ve transformed into a chronic migraineur. I’ve been on dozens ofmedications as well as trying to find relief in non- pharmacological therapies.
I was reluctant about going to my first appointment. I didn’t really know what to expect, but my mind was open to the possibility of having another tool in my toolbox to help me fight this disease.
The doctor was very nice and soft-spoken. Just the type of person I thought should be providing a therapy like biofeedback. Her main objective was to make sure I was comfortable.
Sharing my routine
The next part was getting a detailed history of my daily routine. This included my sleep habits as well as my diet and what my daily time table looked like during a typical day. What I also liked was that she would be communicating with my neurologist. This was meant to create a more complete picture of who I was a patient.
I feel a big component of biofeedback is mindfulness. It means having to slow down your body, mind, and spirit and relax with a purpose. I was never one for sitting still and I surely never meditated but I was going to get the most I could out of this new tool.
I practiced relaxing during my appointment. It seems silly that you had to even practice relaxing, but when I did it with a purpose it worked and worked quickly. In a matter of minutes, I was learning how to get my body into a relaxed state.
Second appointment - with sensors
The next appointment I was hooked up to sensors that measured my muscle activity in my face and shoulders. I was very surprised to find out that there was so much activity while I sat there in my comfy recliner. My facial muscles were very tense. The doctor explained to me that when we are in pain our muscles tend to tense up even if we don’t seem to notice they are.
Next came the guided meditation and relaxation. The doctor used an app on her phone which lead me through a series of simple exercises which helped me relax more completely. It’s not that my mind was blank because I had a million thoughts running through my head, but having to focus on the relaxation techniques kept me focused on relaxing.
After the course of meditation and relaxation had completed the doctor had me open my eyes and look at the tv screen which was showing the sensor details. Much to my surprise, I was relaxed and deeply relaxed at that! My homework was to use the app, Rest and Relax, every day until my next appointment. The object of doing this was to help my brain to relax and turn off the constant pain messages I was getting from chronic migraine.
My migraine toolbox
I have found biofeedback to be a valuable tool in my migraine elimination toolbox. I would recommend you try using the app just for your own benefit and see if it may give you another tool against migraine and its symptoms.
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?