Managing Your Pain

The experience of pain or discomfort from time to time is common to most of us. However, some people become so uncomfortable with pain that it prevents them from working, enjoying family and friends, or maintaining an active physical lifestyle. The Biofeedback & Family Therapy Center, may work in conjunction with other professionals, may help those suffering from pain begin to lesson the severity and frequency of pain, decrease medication dependence, cope with pain and return to  realistic social and work functioning. Commen pain disorders seen in biofeedback therapy are back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, headache and temporal mandibular joint disorder.

Some Facts About Pain from the National Center for Health Statistics Report, 2006

More than one-quarter of Americans (26%) age 20 years and over – or, an estimated 76.5 million Americans – report that they have had a problem with pain of any sort that persisted for more than 24 hours in duration. Adults age 45-64 years were the most likely to report pain lasting more than 24 hours (30%). Twenty-five percent (25%) of young adults age 20-44 reported pain, and adults age 65 and over were the least likely to report pain (21%). The annual cost of chronic pain in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity, is estimated to be $100 billion. An estimated 20% of American adults (42 million people) report that pain or physical discomfort disrupts their sleep a few nights a week or more. When asked about four common types of pain, respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that low back pain was the most common (27%), followed by severe headache or migraine pain (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial ache or pain (4%). (6)

But What is Pain?

“Pain is an unpleasant experience that we primarily associate with tissue damage or disease, as described in terms of tissue damage or both (Int. Assoc. for the Study of Pain)” Also, “…pain is defined as a complex personal, subjective, unpleasant experience involving sensations and perceptions that may or may not be related in any way to injury, illness, or other body trauma… influenced by psychosocial, ethnocultural, motivational, as well as biological, physiological, chemical and other factors… (Aronoff, McAlery.)

Acute pain is usually less than thirty days and usually comes to some resolvement, while chronic pain lasts for more than 6 months and tends to dominate one’s life with feelings of depression and anxiety and can lead to great interpersonal problems and financial disaster.

Pain is mediated by the brain and nervous system and one’s concept and belief about pain may influence one’s perception, tolerance and experience of pain. Gaining control of nervous system arousal mechanisms and self-regulating muscle tension are goals of biofeedback therapy, while changing one’s relationship to their pain is the goal of psychotherapy.

About Our Treatment Team

The treatment of chronic pain requires the coordinated efforts of a broadly based treatment team which can bring a number of physical and psychological strategies together. “Chronic Pain patients demand more effort and resources than a single, well meaning practitioner can provide (Cole, 1990)” The Biofeedback and Family Therapy Center focuses on 2 aspects of treatment. Biofeedback is used both in evaluation and treatment of pain disorders and counseling is used to help clients better cope with the pain they experience. Through counseling one can better understand the symptoms of pain and reduce its effects on family and work situations. We work closely with physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and other health care professionals working in other offices to better treat the patient.

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a treatment technique whereby physiological information is measured and presented back to the client moment-by -moment through a computer monitor and audio signal. Clients can learn to control muscle tension activity, heart-rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweat gland activity, gastric motility and brainwaves. In cases of most pain disorders, the focus is on muscle activity, both at rest and in action.

Stress Testing

A Psychophysiological Evaluation is made to determine which physiological systems are most reactive to distress and to relaxation. IT is with this kind of testing that one can monitor dysregulation which occurs as a result of emotional conflict. Through biofeedback training one can learn self regulation skills leading to a healthier physical and emotional disposition.

Dynamic Muscle Scanning

Through a comparison of symmetrical sets of muscles, clients can learn to reduce or eliminate:

  • Hypertonicity or Spasm
  • Splinting and bracing
  • Poor body mechanics
  • Poor recovery from extension to relaxation

When looking at muscle behavior of right and left muscles such as those on both sides of the neck, and studying those muscles while in static and dynamic postures, we can better understand how to treat a particular condition. Dynamic muscle scanning presents information on soft tissue injury which does not show up on X-ray , CAT-Scan or M.R.I.

Benefits

At The Biofeedback & Family Therapy Center, the patient with pain can benefit from:

  • General relaxation skills
  • Specific muscle relaxation and reeducation skills
  • Individual psychotherapy to deal with emotions
  • Family or couple therapy
  • Talk to others with similar problems in group counseling

Biofeedback and Psychotherapy are reimbursable by most 3rd party payers. It is recommended that you find out your specific health care coverage before you begin treatment.