Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

[sahy-koh-fiz-ee-ol-uh-jee] noun
  1. The branch of physiology that deals with the interrelation of mental and physical phenomena.
  2. Rick’s definition: A very long and fancy word; difficult to say three times fast. It means your mind and your body are connected. When you treat one, you treat the other.

If we can reduce the fear and the tension we can change the pain.

What is Psychophysiology and Biofeedback?

Psychophysiology is a treatment approach to pain using the concept of mind/body medicine. The reality of experiencing pain is it is not just physical…it is emotional as well. Lingering physical pain causes stress of various types such as ongoing muscle spasms, sleep problems, worries about the future, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, etc. A Psychophysiologist doesn’t just focus on the “ouch” of pain. They focus on how you deal with the stress of the pain and if we can reduce the fear and tension, we can reduce the pain.

The main tools of a Psychophysiologist:

  • Education – With training in advanced anatomy, physiology, immunology, sleep disruption, stress related disorders and physical injury, a Psychophysiologist can explain the nature of why pain doesn’t and isn’t going away in common language. Knowledge is power! If you can understand your condition, you are more likely to learn how to control it.
  • Biofeedback – You know how it feels. But have you ever seen it on a computer? Biofeedback is the technique of attaching different sensors to measure on a computer what you feel. Once you see how your body is reacting to the pain, you can then become aware of how your mental state can increase or decrease the painful physical symptoms.
  • Treatment - Using the information from your history and from the biofeedback, the psychophysiologist makes suggestions such as how to hold your body in a different position, or breathe correctly, or imagine the flow of blood to a certain limb, and others. When you see the changes on the screen and feel how it changes your pain, then you are on your way!
  • Is this treatment right for you?

    Let’s start with this: there are no side effects. None of the sensors send electricity to you. None of the sensors irritate your condition. They only measure what is happening in your body. If you already experienced the frustrations of feeling pain and are searching for a new way to effectively treat it, this can help.

    A typical patient has a pain condition that has not been improving. Typical treatments of pharmaceuticals or surgery, or therapy have not been effective. Patients realize that they may have some pain for a long time, but they just don’t want it to get worse. They want to get better but no one has clearly explained to them why it is not happening and how they can change it.

    More on Mind Body Medicine

    Mind Body Medicine is a field emphasizing mental awareness or attention to the connection of your emotions to pain conditions. Most all Physicians recognize this connection as a significant factor contributing to either the success or lack of success to their treatments. But in those cases of non responding conditions, the Physician must refer out to specialists who are trained to use mind body techniques.