Two newer forms of biofeedback, used in conjunction with migraine medications, are more effective in reducing the frequency of attacks than medication alone, according to a study performed by biofeedback specialists in Virginia.
The two forms—EEG biofeedback and hemoencephalography biofeedback—are classified as neurobiofeedback. These forms use an EEG (a graphical record of electrical activity of the brain produced by an electroencephalograph) to teach individuals how to alter their brainwave activity. Unlike peripheral biofeedback (for example, thermal biofeedback, which teaches people to warm their hands), neurobiofeedback monitors activity in the central nervous system.
The 37 participants enrolled in the study had an average of three sessions a week over approximately six months with neurobiofeedback. They also learned thermal handwarming biofeedback. Seventy percent had at least a 50% reduction in the frequency of their headaches when they were interviewed 14.5 months after they had completed their treatments. The effect was significantly greater than with medication alone or when just thermal biofeedback was taught.
“These non-invasive interventions may show promise for treating treatment-refractory migraine and for preventing the progression from episodic to chronic migraine,” the authors wrote in the journal /Behavioral and Brain Functions/.