Using Neurofeedback to Help Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a debilitating condition in which nerves function improperly due to injury or disease. The most common symptoms are numbness tingling and pain ranging from mild to severe. There are also many different types of neuropathy affecting the brain, nervous system, extremities, optical nerves and more
Neuropathy has a variety of causes including diseases, injuries, infections, and even vitamin deficiency. The most common cause in America today is diabetes, but can also be caused by autoimmune disease, tumors/cancer, infections, alcoholism, an inherited genetic disorder, toxic exposure, and even drugs and medication.
The most common medical treatments today will include opioids for pain. But opioids are addictive and can lead to much bigger problems. But the bigger issue is that they don't treat the problem, they just relieve pain, leading to a lifetime reliance on them. As a result, many neuropathy patients are turning to alternative medicine.
Neurofeedback is one such alternative therapy that is showing promise. Last year a randomized, controlled pilot study by researchers at the University of Texas on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) observed “clinically and statistically significant reductions in peripheral neuropathy following neurofeedback techniques”. By the end of the study, the patients in the neurofeedback group had significantly reduced BPI scores for worst pain, activity interference, numbness, and tingling.
In another experiment researchers investigated the effects of neurofeedback training on central neuropathic pain (CNP) which affects spinal cord injury patients, as well as individuals with stroke, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. Reduction in pain levels are directly visible on the EEG, which persisted for at least 1 month following neurofeedback treatment. More research is needed, but the results look promising. When opioids are the primary tool being used today for treatment of pain related illness, it's only a matter of time before alternative options like neurofeedback become more mainstream.
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Posted In: Neurofeedback