Recent surveys report that 90 percent of people suffer from headaches during a given year. Of the ones seen in the hospital ER, only about 1% have a serious underlying problem. The most common types of headache are tension headaches and migraines.
Tension headaches are the most frequent. The pain can radiate from the lower back of the head, the neck, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body. Tension headache pain is often described as a constant pressure, as if the head were being squeezed in a vice. The pain is frequently present on both sides of the head at once. Tension headache pain is typically mild to moderate, but may be severe.
Migraine headaches tend to be pulsating in character, associated with nausea and disabling in severity. A migraine headache may begin as a dull ache and then turn into a constant, throbbing pain, often felt on only one side of the head, associated with nausea and disabling in severity. When you have a migraine, you may be sensitive to light and sound and experience nausea and/or vomiting. A migraine headache can last between 4 and 72 hours and cause you to avoid routine physical activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.
Stress can both cause and exacerbate tension and migraine headaches. Stress management and tension reduction are well recognized tools for learning to control or decrease headache activity. Various relaxation therapies are available to facilitate lowering tension in the body such as Progressive Relaxation and Visualization.
Both Neurofeedback and Biofeedback of muscle tension and skin temperature are helpful for headaches. Tension headaches are helped by Biofeedback of the muscle tension in the shoulders, neck and scalp. Muscle sensors are placed on tense muscles and the readings are in microvolts of electrical activity produced by the muscles. Resting muscle tension should be low (less than 5uV). When the muscle is tensed to produce more than 100uV and then released, the level of activity should return to the baseline of less than 5uV within one second. If there is a delay in returning to the baseline, there is underlying chronic tension in the muscle that may be eliminated using muscle tension Biofeedback.
Migraine headaches look like low-level seizure activity in the brain waves. When this pattern is seen during the brain wave evaluation, Neurofeedback is recommended according to a seizure-reducing protocol. Migraine headaches also respond to Biofeedback training of skin temperature.
At New Hope For The Brain, we provide both Neurofeedback and Biofeedback to eliminate symptoms of tension and migraine headaches.