Research shows that biofeedback is a helpful way to treat headaches.

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a non-medication way to treat headache, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, neuromuscular dysfunction, and other conditions. With headache, we use biofeedback to prevent and manage headache symptoms, ultimately reducing their frequency and intensity.

Biofeedback trains you to control bodily functions such as heart rate, hand temperature and muscle tension. With daily practice, research shows that biofeedback can be as effective as some medications. It works best when used with the medication your headache specialist prescribes.

In a five-year study, 85 percent of adults and 90 percent of children who regularly engaged in temperature and electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback techniques experienced significant reduction in headache severity, duration and frequency.

How Does Biofeedback Work for Headache?

Two types of biofeedback have proven effective for people with migraines - thermal biofeedback and EMG biofeedback.

To understand how thermal biofeedback is effective, you must understand vascular theory, which states that head pain results from blood vessel constriction that often leaves the hands feeling cold. Through biofeedback, you learn to warm your hands and thus, dilate your blood vessels and ease the pain. A finger thermometer measures hand temperature, providing information about nervous system arousal and blood flow.

EMG biofeedback helps you notice and control muscle tension, using equipment that instantly reports on your body processes as you learn to better control them. Sensors attached to your muscles (on the skin surface) provide information on your tension level.

A behavioral health expert on our team will teach you how to practice both types of biofeedback.


Use these audio clips to help you with your relaxation exercises:

Thermal Biofeedback 
(with background music, 11:26)


Thermal Biofeedback 
(voice only, 11:14)


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