It is alarming that an estimated 38 million Americans suffer from Migraine headaches according to the Migraine Research Foundation1. Migraines are a debilitating neurological syndrome that affects nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households. Costs to American employers is more than $13 billion each year in lost work days for sufferers, since more than 90% of those with a migraine attack are unable to function or work normally during these attacks. More than 100 drugs, surgical treatments, and devices used to prevent or treat migraine symptoms are prescribed and experimented with, often to no avail or with harmful side effects.
Families with loved ones who suffer with these debilitating headaches have likely searched for answers and relief from their doctors. Frequently, MRIs are ordered to rule out certain conditions, and drugs are prescribed, as most of these patients produce a normal MRI. The cause and treatment of Migraine headaches is poorly understood and often misdiagnosed. Most often a family is faced with a long path of trial and error.
There is hope for a new scientific approach to Migraine relief, rather than that long path of trial and error with little results. According to a study published in the scientific journal “Clinical EEG and Neuroscience” by Jonathan E. Walker2 , unlike MRIs, QEEG, (Quantitative EEG) is usually abnormal in patients with recurrent migraine. “In our experience, when neurofeedback is used to normalize the QEEG, the majority of patients become drug-free and no longer have headaches. Almost all other patients report a decrease in migraine frequency and severity” (when neurofeedback is used to normalize the QEEG). That is a noteworthy claim which most prescription drugs cannot make!
So, what is “QEEG” and “neurofeedback”? QEEG, is a measurement of brain wave activity and can be used to actually “map” out those patterns in your brain. Research for the past 50 years has determined what “normal” brainwave patterns are for those who are asymptomatic (without symptom), and what patterns point to particular symptoms as well. It has been shown that those who suffer with Migraine headaches often show improper elevated levels of high-frequency beta activity (21-30Hz) in several cortical areas of the brain.
Neurofeedback, is measuring that eeg signal of brainwave activity through delicate sensors, and using computer technology, teaching the brain how to change those patterns with visual and auditory “feedback”. When you give the brain information on what it’s doing, it can in fact change and respond to that information. Science shows that 20 sessions of neurofeedback creates new neural pathways and can help the brain better regulate itself, thus relieve common symptoms of migraine headaches.
According to Walker’s above referenced study, “…the majority of the patients experienced complete remission of migraines (54%). Most of the other patients experienced a significant reduction in migraine frequency (50% or greater in 39% and less than 50% in 4%). Only one patient did not experience a reduction in migraine frequency.
This is exciting news for Migraine sufferers and a glimpse into the bright future of brain training with QEEG and EEG biofeedback which is another term for neurofeedback. More studies have supported these findings as referenced in the journal article and more are being conducted.
To find out if BrainWave dysregulation may be causing your headaches and if you may be a good candidate for neurofeedback schedule a free initial consultation (30 mins) via this link meetme.so/DianneKosto
For more information www.braincoreofthelowcountry.com
2 Jonathan E. Walker,MD Neurotherapy Center of Dallas, “QEEG-guided neurofeedback for recurrent migraine headaches”
Clinical EEG and Neuroscience Vol 42 No.1 2011c