The neurofeedback solution for chronic headaches
Altering brainwave patterns may reduce headaches.
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The March 2004 World Health Organization Fact Sheet states that headaches are the most common nervous system disorder. Tension headaches are reported by 67 percent of adult men and 80 percent of adult women. The report also indicates that 3,000 migraine attacks occur daily for every one million people. Migraine headaches tend to be extremely intense and often debilitating, while tension headaches tend to be a less intense, more constant pain.
In Healing Young Brains: The Neurofeedback Solution (Hill & Castro 2009) the authors state, “The economic impact of migraine headaches in the U.S. economy in 2007 was an estimated 12 billion dollars.” Of course migraines factor as just one component of chronic disease that costs United States employers as much as a trillion dollars annually, according to the Milken Institute.
Many people do not seek treatment for headaches, however, even though at times they can be disabling. If one member of a family suffers from a headache, it affects the entire family. Family members may have to limit noise in the home or have periods of time with an emotionally absent caregiver due to their headache. Headache sufferers are also commonly depressed because of the chronic pain.
There can be serious medical issues that produce headaches
Anyone who suffers from regular or intense unusual headaches should be evaluated by a medical doctor to rule out any serious concerns related to the brain. Once any serious medical issues are ruled out, the headache sufferer often has to resort to suffering in silence or trying a variety of medications in order to experience some relief.
The majority of people experience tension headaches which are often due to stress, lack of sleep, inadequate diet and exercise or a combination of these things.
Research has suggested that migraine brainwave patterns are similar to seizure-type brainwave patterns. It stands to reason, therefore, that altering brainwave patterns may reduce headaches. Once the headache sufferer has done all he or she can to reduce stress, regulate eating patterns, exercise and rule out medical causes, Neurofeedback is a viable next step.
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive form of treatment where the client is rewarded by way of a computer game when calm brain waves are produced. Over the course of treatment, the brain learns to balance itself or regulate its own patterns, therefore reducing the amount and intensity of headaches. Oftentimes the headache can actually be reduced or even eliminated during the treatment session.
With this cutting edge form of treatment, headache sufferers no longer need to suffer in silence. Families can be whole again, with all members able to participate at their highest level of functioning. Imagine a world with minimal headaches! Medical costs would be reduced and the ability to function at places of employment would drastically improve. Quality of life would improve overall, especially family life.
Article contributed by Terri Philips, LMFT.
Sources for this article include:
About the author: Healthy Times Newspaper, founded by Mike and Hope Bundrant in 2004, serves local communities in Southern California.
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