Neurofeedback Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Neurofeedback therapy helps to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia by altering the patterns of your brainwaves. It can be very helpful in treating chronic pain (fibromyalgia pain treatment) and depression caused by FMS.
Neurofeedback therapy ‘teaches’ a person to consciously change and control their brainwave patterns. This allows a person to remove the old bad brainwave patterns associated with fibromyalgia symptoms which lead to pain and replace them with new patterns which allow you to heal.
What happens in Neurofeedback Therapy?
When you undergo neurofeedback therapy, electrodes are attached to your ears and scalp at specific places. These electrodes feed your brainwave patterns to a computer. The computer then shows your brainwaves on a monitor which can be analyses by the therapist. The feedback for you can be form of vibrations, sound or video.
For enhancing the pattern of your brainwaves, the therapist will advise you to alter the vibration, sound or video by changing the pattern of your brainwaves. Once you have changed the patterns correctly, you are given a special sound or video as a ‘reward’ if you don’t perform the brainwaves correctly you are given another sound or video as a ‘punishment’. By repeating this process a number of times your brain learns how to correctly create the positive brainwave patterns as suggested by the therapist.
Neurofeedback therapy has been found effective for treating stress disorders, insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety and depression.
Most people start noticing differences in their fibromyalgia symptoms within the first 10-12 sessions.
Treating Fibromyalgia with Muscle Relaxants
These are medicines used by people who suffer with painful diseases like fibromyalgia to reduce their pain. Muscle relaxants help to relieve the tension in muscles and decreases muscles spasms thus giving relief from body pain to people with fibromyalgia.
Muscle relaxants usually work by influencing the nerves which carry pain signals from various parts of your body to your brain. They do not cure the actual underlying reason for the pain but simply block your brain’s capability to process pain. This allows you to get relief from pain and helps you relax.
Many different types of muscle relaxants are available in the market. The ones used most commonly include Flexeril, Norflex, Zanaflex and Soma.
Flexeril contains cyclobenzaprine which stops the pain signals being sent through the nerves from muscles to the brain. It is effective in treating muscle tightness and pain. It also helps improve sleep patterns. It must be taken only for short durations. Prolonged use may lead to addiction so check with your doctor before you start using it.
Norflex has orphenadrine citrate as the main component which also works by blocking pain signals. It is usually considered to be better than Flexeril and can be taken for longer durations. But it can have side effects so once again also start using after confirming with your doctor.
Zanaflex has tizanidine which has been known to be effective at decreasing muscle spasms related to fibromyalgia. It also increases muscle tone. It cannot be taken if you have kidney or liver problems or if you are taking birth control pills.
Soma contains carisoprodol which helps to relax tense muscle, ease discomfort and prevent muscle injury. It also decreases muscle spasms.
Almost all muscle relaxants have some kind of side effects even if they may be rare. They can be habit forming if taken over long durations. Always contact your doctor before you begin any new medication.
Healing Fibromyalgia with Electrical Muscle Stimulation Therapy
Electro muscle stimulation therapy or EMS is an effective and safe treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms like chronic pain and fatigue.
What is EMS?
During EMS therapy, small electric current pulses are delivered to a person’s nerve endings and muscles. These pulses cause the muscles to relax and contract. Treating the muscles with such electric pulses repeatedly makes the muscle stronger, more relaxed and decreases the pain.
EMS also improves the conduction of signals by nerves, increases blood circulation, and also increases the body’s ability to heal itself.
It can be thought of as one type of deep tissue massage. As the treatment progresses, you will experience more and more relief from your fibromyalgia symptoms.
3 Kinds of EMS
The three main types of EMS are as follows.
CES (Cranial Electrical Stimulation)
In CES, 2 electrodes are attached to your earlobes and an extremely small current is transmitted through your head back and forth. There is no discomfort or pain in this procedure.
CES decreases fibromyalgia pain symptoms and enhances your mood by influencing a part of your brain known as the hypothalamus. The electric stimulation causes your hypothalamus to release hormones which help to reduce pain.
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
TENS therapy involves delivering a small current to nerve endings and muscles which are producing the pain. The current makes these nerves relax and contract, and helps to make the muscle stronger. TENS therapy can help prevent fatigue and decrease pain.
You can buy portable TENS equipment to comfortably treat yourself in the privacy of your own home. The electrodes in the TENS device are fitted with pads made or felt or rubber. Apply these pads on the area of your body which hurts and switch on the device. The mild electric current given by the electrodes will stimulate the muscles and stop the pain signals from being delivered to your brain. Over time your pain will decrease significantly. You can use the device as often as needed to get fibromyalgia pain relief. Many insurance policies do cover the cost of the TENS equipment.
PENS (Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
PENS is a different form of TENS done using a probe with a needle instead of a rubber pad. Unlike TENS, PENS should only be performed by a trained doctor. The treatment can last up to half an hour. During PENS, the therapist or doctor inserts needles into the affected area a few centimeters into to skin and then electric current is delivered to the muscles through theses needles.
PENS can be much more effective than TENS and give faster results. This is possible because the electric current does not have to pass through the skin and reaches the muscles directly. PENS therapy is NOT painful and it doesn’t usually have any side effects.
Do not undergo any form of electrotherapy if you have a pacemaker or any other electrical devices implanted in your body.
Electrotherapy has been shown to produce as much as 70 percent decrease in fibromyalgia pain symptoms in many patients. Fibromyalgia sufferers who underwent TENS, CENS etc have also experience significant improvement in their sleep pattern and ability to perform daily activities.