Chronic Pain


Neurofeedback has proven to be very helpful for the remediation of chronic pain. This is a condition that can respond to treatment very quickly, requiring only a small number of sessions even with long-standing pain. This gives hope for an intervention that is an alternative to medication. Chronic pain is, in fact, a contributor to the epidemic of opioid addiction and opioid deaths in this country today.

We find that often times an injury will heal but the accompanying pain lingers on and can even get worse. A common dynamic is that as the pain continues over the long term the pain threshold may get lower and the perception of the pain may heighten. The brain has a central role in defining what is perceived as pain and can therefore, by virtue of its plasticity, lend itself receptive to neurofeedback. Thereby the threshold of the pain can be restored to normal and, in many cases, can render the person entirely pain-free. If the injury is one that requires a long length of time to repair, the pain can be greatly lessened.

There is a mutual relationship between chronic pain and depression. The depression can bring about lowering of the pain threshold, and conversely, the persistence of the pain can accompany a chronic state of depression especially with individuals who are prone to depression, perhaps as a result of an early childhood trauma. Neurofeedback can be effective in remediating both the emotional dysregulation as well as normalizing the pain threshold.

It has become very apparent to many of us who practice in the field of neurofeedback how joined together chronic pain and deep-seated emotional pain are. We feel it of the utmost importance that persons undergoing neurofeedback training for chronic pain should also engage concurrently in psychotherapy.