Migraines and Neurofeedback Therapy
What is a Migraine and How Can Neurofeedback Help?
Have you ever had a headache that is extremely painful, and is accompanied by blind spots, tingling in the arms or legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound? Sometimes you feel like the pain in your head is throbbing or pulsing. This is a migraine. Sometimes these symptoms can last hours, or even days.
These types of headaches are caused by blood vessels enlarging, and a release of chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. These blood vessels are located on each side of your head, to the outside of your eyes, also known as the temple (temporal artery). The pain causes your sympathetic nervous system to respond by making you feel nauseous, and sometimes causing you to vomit. This then causes your stomach to stop emptying into the small intestine, which decreases blood circulation (the tingling in the arms and legs), and increases sensitivity to light and sound.
Using Neurofeedback Therapy for Migraines
Migraines can be a result of instability in the brain that often affects the blood vessels. We can use Neurofeedback, which is a painless training system which trains the brain to perform more efficiently with the individual’s active participation. Neurofeedback has been found to significantly reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. Some studies have found abnormalities in brain wave activity in migraine patients. In order to find these abnormalities, we first measure the client’s brain waves by recording these activities while they wear a cap which has 19 different sensors on it. This process is called EEG. Once we have analyzed the EEG, which is called qEEG, we will know which areas of the brain we want to train.
Once we identify the area of the brain to exercise, we place a sensor on this location of the head. Where the sensors are placed is specific to the individual, and the issue we are trying to address. We train these areas by having the client watch a movie, and if their brain waves are not in the parameters we have set, their movie will pause. Our brains want the movie to continue to play, so this reinforces the brain to perform within the parameters which have been set. As we continue to train these different areas of the brain, the neurons (cells in the brain) change. Once we have trained the neurons to perform the way we want them to, the brain will learn to match these parameters without being reinforced by Neurofeedback, and the migraines will stop.