Engaging in daily life activities with physical pain can be difficult. A form of therapy, which has been seen to be helpful in reducing physical pain, is biofeedback. To help understand what biofeedback is and how biofeedback can help manage pain, I have interviewed psychologist Melanie K. Stone, Ph.D.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I have a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and I am a member of the American Psychological Association. I am licensed in the state of Indiana and I am an Indiana State Psychology Board Certified Health Service Provider (H.S.P.P.). I completed a rotation in Behavioral Health and Wellness, with special training in biofeedback, while on my doctoral internship.”
What type of impact can physical pain have on someone’s overall life?
“Chronic pain can be debilitating. Not only can it limit the daily functioning of a person’s life, but often depression or anxiety may result due to the chronic nature of the pain. A combination of counseling and biofeedback can be very effective in helping a person better deal with and manage his or her pain.”
What is Biofeedback?
“Biofeedback is a technique in which people are trained to improve their health by learning to control certain internal bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature. These activities can be measured with electrodes and thermistors and displayed on a monitor that both the participant and his or her practitioner can see. The monitor provides feedback to the participant about the internal workings of his or her body. This person can then be taught to use this information to gain control over these “involuntary” activities. Biofeedback is an effective therapy for many conditions, but it is primarily used to treat stress-related conditions such as tension and migraine headaches, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and insomnia.”
How can Biofeedback help manage physical pain?
“In a typical biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to the skin, or a thermistor that monitors hand temperature is placed on the index finger. These devices then feed information to a small monitoring box that translates the physiologic responses into a tone that varies in pitch and a visual meter that varies in brightness. The person is then led in a variety of relaxation techniques. The feedback received by the machine helps the person to recognize effective relaxation strategies, and these are practiced at home and whenever the person is experiencing pain. After the instrumentation has helped the person to develop the ability to read tension in various body systems, and effectively ease some of the experienced pain, he or she can continue without biofeedback equipment.”
Where can someone go if they want more information on Biofeedback?
“For more information on biofeedback you can go to my website, www.StonePhD.com.”
Thank you Dr. Stone for doing the interview on how biofeedback can help manage physical pain.
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) www.aapb.org
Managing Pain Before It Manages You, Third Edition (2008) Margaret A. Caudill MD PhD
How Guided Imagery Can Help Alleviate Pain
How to Adjust to Chronic Illness
How to Treat Chronic Heel Pain