Neurofeedback is a novel neuromodulatory therapy where individuals are given real-time feedback regarding their brain neurophysiological signals in order to increase volitional control over their brain activity. Such biofeedback platform can be used to increase an individual’s resilience to pain as chronic pain has been associated with abnormal central processing of ascending pain signals. Neurofeedback can be provided based on electroencephalogram (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) recordings of an individual. Target brain rhythms commonly used in EEG neurofeedback for chronic pain include theta, alpha, beta and sensorimotor rhythms. Such training has not only been shown to improve pain in a variety of pain conditions such as central neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injury and chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, but has also been shown to improve pain associated symptoms such as sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Adverse events associated with neurofeedback training are often self-limited and resolve with decreased frequency of training. Provision of such training has also been explored in the home setting whereby individuals have been encouraged to practice this as and when required with promising results. Therefore, neurofeedback has the potential to provide low-cost yet holistic approach to the management of chronic pain.
Part of the book: Smart Biofeedback