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Neurofeedback Research

Chronic Pain


Does Virtual Reality Feedback at Infra-Low Frequency Improve Centralized Pain With Comorbid Insomnia While Mitigating Risks for Sedative Use Disorder? A Case Report
by Nnamdi Orakpo, Chujun Yuan, Olanrewaju Olukitibi, Jeff Burdette, Kim Arrington

A case of insomnia secondary to chronic pain that saw quick resolution for both conditions with ILF neurofeedback has been described. A 30-year-old with a history of degenerative disc with left-sided lumbar radiculopathy presented with a 3-month history of sciatica with severe left-sided hip and leg pain with radiculopathy. Medication support included hydroxycodone/—acetaminophen, diazepam, high dose naproxen, and cyclobenzaprine. Insomnia severity index was in the ‘moderate-severe’ range at intake. At the midpoint of a twenty-session training sequence, pain levels had improved by 60%, and insomnia by 70%; the cyclobenzaprine was discontinued; the diazepam was discontinued at session 12. At 20 sessions, as well as at one-year follow-up, the insomnia score was zero. Pain levels had reduced by >80% at the end of training and was further improved at one-year follow-up. Significantly, use of all controlled substances had ended during the course of training, and was not resumed, as confirmed via the Prescription Monitoring Program. The results are shown in the Figure.

Symptom severity is indicated for the Pre-training, mid-training, and end of training status (20 sessions), as well as for one-year follow-up. Both pain intensity and pain-related insomnia resolved.

Front. Hum. Neurosci. 16:891924. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2022.891924

New Hope for Sufferers of Chronic Pain [pdf]
by Othmer S

Pain is one of several sensory systems that keep us apprised of the status of our bodies. As we hurry through our daily lives, we usually view pain at the very least as an inconvenience, if not a major disruption. It's fortunate that we have our pain sensors-they provide a valuable warning to us that we need to stop and take care of ourselves.

Research Papers

Neurofeedback Treatment for Pain Associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I [abs.]
by Jensen MP Ph.D., Grierson C R.N., Tracy-Smith V Ph.D., Bacigalupi SC M.A., Othmer SF Ph.D.

If an individual can learn to directly control activation of localized regions within the brain, this approach might provide control over the neurophysiological mechanisms that mediate behavior and cognition and could potentially provide a different route for treating disease.

Control Over Brain Activation and Pain Learned by Using Real-Time Functional MRI [pdf]
by deCharms RC, Maeda F, Glover GH, Ludlow D, Pauly JM, Soneji D, Gabrieli JD, Mackey SC

If an individual can learn to directly control activation of localized regions within the brain, this approach might provide control over the neurophysiological mechanisms that mediate behavior and cognition and could potentially provide a different route for treating disease.

Controlled EEG Alpha Feedback Training in Normals and Headache Patients (author's translation) [abs.]
by Lehmann D, Lang W, Debruyne P

Headache patients and healthy controls underwent alpha-EEG feedback training in 12 sessions. The present study does not support the literature which reports alpha increase by feedback training.

Case Study of Trigeminal Neuralgia Using Neurofeedback and Peripheral Biofeedback [pdf]
by Sime A, LCSW

Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by brief episodes of extremely intense facial pain often radiating down the jaw. These episodes can occur spontaneously or be triggered by light touch, chewing or changes in temperature.

A Retrospective, Follow-up Study of Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Therapy in Patients with Post-Traumatic Headache [abs.]
by Ham LP and Packard RC

Although biofeedback in the treatment of migraine and tension-type headache has been widely researched, there is little research examining biofeedback therapy in posttraumatic headache (PTH).

Treatment of Fibromyalgia Incorporating EEG-Driven Stimulation: A Clinical Outcomes Study [abs.]
by Mueller HH, Donaldson CC, Nelson DV, Layman M

Thirty patients from a private clinical practice who met the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) were followed prospectively through a brainwave-based intervention known as electroencephalograph (EEG)-driven stimulation or EDS.

Self-regulation of Slow Cortical Potentials in Children with Migraine: An Exploratory Study [abs.]
by Siniatchkin M, Hierundar A, Kropp P, Kuhnert R, Gerber WD, Stephani U

Migraine patients are characterized by increased amplitudes of slow cortical potentials (SCPs), representing pronounced excitability of cortical networks. The present study investigated the efficiency of biofeedback training of SCPs in young migraineurs.

Neurofeedback Training in Chronic Pain Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Affective Disturbance: A Case Study
by Ibric VL and Jacobs MS

Recent Research

Mind over chatter: Plastic up-regulation of the fMRI salience network directly after EEG neurofeedback.
Ros T, Théberge J, Frewen PA, Kluetsch R, Densmore M, Calhoun VD, and Lanius RA
NeuroImage, 65, 2013, pp 324-35

Improving Visual Perception through Neurofeedback.
Scharnowski F, Hutton C, Josephs O, Weiskopf N, and Rees G
Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2012, pp 17830-41

The effectiveness of neurofeedback training on EEG coherence and neuropsychological functions in children with reading disability.
Nazari MA, Mosanezhad E, Hashemi T, and Jahan A
Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43, 2012, pp 315-22

Self-regulation of brain oscillations as a treatment for aberrant brain connections in children with autism.
Pineda JA, Juavinett A, and Datko M
Medical Hypotheses, 79, 2012, pp 790-8

Evidence-based information on the clinical use of neurofeedback for ADHD.
Moriyama TS, Polanczyk G, Caye A, Banaschewski T, Brandeis D, and Rohde LA
Neurotherapeutics, 9, 2012, pp 588-98

Current status of neurofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Lofthouse N, Arnold LE, and Hurt E
Current Psychiatry Reports, 14, 2012, pp 536-42

Individual alpha neurofeedback training effect on short term memory.
Nan W, Rodrigues JP, Ma J, Qu X, Wan F, Mak PI, Mak PU, Vai MI, and Rosa A
International Journal of Psychophysiology, 86, 2012, pp 83-7

Neurotherapy of traumatic brain injury/posttraumatic stress symptoms in OEF/OIF veterans.
Nelson DV, and Esty ML
Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 24, 2012, pp 237-40

Schizophrenia and the efficacy of qEEG-guided neurofeedback treatment: a clinical case series.
Surmeli T, Ertem A, Eralp E, and Kos IH
Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43, 2012, pp 133-44

Which attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder children will be improved through neurofeedback therapy?
Ahmadlou M, Rostami R, and Sadeghi V
Neuroscience Letters, 516, 2012, pp 156-60

Neurofeedback in children with ADHD: validation and challenges.
Gevensleben H, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, and Heinrich H
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 12, 2012, pp 447-60

Taking back the brain: could neurofeedback training be effective for relieving distressing auditory verbal hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia?
McCarthy-Jones S
Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38, 2012, pp 678-82

A review of neurofeedback treatment for pediatric ADHD.
Lofthouse N, Arnold LE, Hersch S, Hurt E, and DeBeus R
Journal of Attention Disorders, 16, 2012, pp 351-72