Migraines are a relatively common problem among the population; it is estimated that around 12% of adults in western countries suffer from it regularly, a disorder slightly more common in women.
Additionally, unfortunately, it is estimated that most people who have developed migraines take more than 2 years to be diagnosed, which further affects their quality of life.
Fortunately, since this type of headache has been studied, Some effective therapeutic proposals have been discovered to manage migraine symptoms, and one of them is neurofeedback., Form of intervention that we will talk about in this article.
What are migraines?
Migraine is a disorder characterized primarily by the onset of a headache of moderate or severe intensity, Which affects about half of the head and can last for several hours. Along with this main symptom, it is common for others to appear, such as nausea and dizziness, sensitivity to light, and a phenomenon known as aura, which is characterized by disturbance of the senses, especially the body. vision.
In contrast, migraines manifest their symptoms in episodes that usually appear several weeks apart, and when they produce very sharp pain, they are able to leave the person unfit for several hours.
However, migraine is a relatively mild illness because it does not cause death directly, although it is true that it is associated with an increased risk of stroke. Anyway, it is a problem damaging enough that many people turn to healthcare professionals to treat this pathology, since in addition to producing pain, it sometimes involves spending many hours in bed.
How is neurofeedback applied to the treatment of migraines?
The causes of migraines are complex and not fully known to science, in part because there is so much variation between people. However, there appears to be a combination of biological and genetic factors, and others that are of environmental origin.
In any case, it is known that in the situations that trigger migraine symptoms, there is various phenomena that can be controlled voluntarily by the person who developed this disorder. The problem is, these people usually don’t know that certain processes going on in their body are part of the cause of their migraine episodes. Neurofeedback is a way to become aware of what these factors are and to learn to control them.
Explained in more detail, neurofeedback is a therapeutic intervention procedure that involves measuring the electrical activity of a person’s brain (applying sensors to their head, without making any incisions in the skin) and providing this information. in real time, so learn to tune your nerve activation patterns.
It is a method which is useful in helping patients to modulate their psychophysiological state according to their goals of well-beingAnd for this reason, it has been shown to be effective in the treatment of various disorders, including migraine.
In migraine, neurofeedback is used to train the person to correct the amplitude of neural activation frequencies in parts of the cortex of the brain, which causes symptoms of loss of strength. Thanks to this strategy, which takes place over several sessions, migraines appear much less frequently, and generally through weaker symptoms. We have also seen that its effects are maintained over time once the cycle of neurofeedback sessions has ended.
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- Global Burden of Disease Survey (2018). Global, regional and national burden of migraine and tension-type headaches, 1990-2016: A systematic review for the Global Burden of Disease 2016 study. The Lancet, 17 (11): pp.
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- Walker, JE (2011). QEEG Guided Neurofeedback for Recurrent Migraine Headaches. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience. 42 (1): PP. 59 – 61.