Biofeedback is used for loss of bowel movement control (fecal incontinence), loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence), constipation, migraine, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Safety Safety definitions
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if biofeedback is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders: There is some concern that electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback might increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. If you have one of these conditions, don't use EEG biofeedback.
- Back pain. Some research shows that biofeedback can help to reduce chronic back pain in some people. Pain relief can last up to 12 months after sessions have finished.
- Constipation. There is evidence that biofeedback may help with a specific kind of constipation that involves poor coordination of the muscles around the abdomen and buttocks. Biofeedback seems to be more effective for this type of constipation than laxatives.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early research shows that a specific kind of biofeedback, known as neurofeedback, might be helpful for children with ADHD. It seems to reduce symptoms and help the children do better in school.
- Autism. Early research shows that biofeedback is not beneficial for children with autism.
- Teeth grinding (bruxism). Early research shows that biofeedback seems to reduce night-time teeth grinding by a small amount.
- Heart disease. Limited research shows that practicing biofeedback might reduce hospital admissions and visits to the emergency room in people with heart disease.
- Depression. Early research shows that controlling the heart rate with biofeedback might reduce symptoms of depression.
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Early research suggests that biofeedback does not reduce menstrual cramps.
- Loss of bowel movement control (fecal incontinence). Research results are mixed regarding whether biofeedback can help with this condition. The best research suggests that biofeedback might be helpful if it is used along with other treatments.
- Fibromyalgia. There is some early evidence that electromyography (EMG) biofeedback, a type of biofeedback that helps people control muscles, can reduce pain and tender points in people with fibromyalgia.
- Persistent heartburn. Early research shows that biofeedback might reduce the need for medications in people with this condition.
- High blood pressure. Some research suggests that biofeedback training for 12 weeks can lower blood pressure in people with mild high blood pressure. However, it is not clear if this is due to a "placebo effect".
- Insomnia. Early research shows that biofeedback does not help people sleep better if they are already using medications to help them sleep.
- Arthritis in children (juvenile idiopathic arthritis). Early research shows that adding biofeedback to physical therapy might improve pain, strength, and function in children with this condition.
- Migraine. Early research suggests that biofeedback might decrease symptoms of migraine headache.
- A type of anxiety marked by recurrent thoughts and repetitive behaviors (obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD). Early research shows that biofeedback might improve symptoms in some people with OCD.
- Overactive bladder. Early research in women with this condition shows that using a biofeedback device does not improve bladder control.
- Pain. Some research shows that using a biofeedback device might help reduce pain in people with chronic pain.
- Parkinson disease. Early research shows that biofeedback helps with balance in people with Parkinson disease. But it does not help them to walk faster or participate in activities.
- Recovery after surgery. Early research shows that using visual biofeedback along with physical therapy can improve walking in people who have had knee-replacement surgery.
- A type of anxiety that often develops after a terrifying event (post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD). Some research suggests that providing biofeedback training to soldiers before they are deployed might reduce symptoms of PTSD after deployment. It seems to work best in soldiers who are 30 years of age or older.
- Preterm birth. Early research shows that biofeedback does not reduce preterm birth.
- A condition that causes a person to bring food back up into the mouth (rumination syndrome). Early research shows that biofeedback might help to stop food coming back up in people with this condition.
- Shoulder pain. Early research shows that adding biofeedback to exercise does not seem to further reduce shoulder pain.
- Stress. Early research shows that biofeedback might help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in people that are in stressful situations.
- Stroke. Research shows that a special type of biofeedback, called electromyography (EMG), does not help patients to recover from a stroke. But using biofeedback while standing and walking might help some stroke patients with those activities.
- A group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle (temporomandibular disorders or TMD). Early research shows that biofeedback with cognitive therapy seems to improve pain, disability, and coping.
- Tourette syndrome. Early research shows that biofeedback might reduce the frequency of tics and improve well-being in people with this condition.
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). Some research shows that biofeedback might be helpful for men or women with this condition. But not all research agrees.
- A condition in which urine flows backwards from the bladder (vesicoureteral reflux). There is some early evidence that biofeedback may help some children with this condition.
- Cerebral palsy.
- Stopping smoking.
- Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
- Other conditions.
Dosing & administration
Interactions with pharmaceuticals
Medications that increase the chance of having a seizure (Seizure threshold lowering drugs)
Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
There is some concern that a form of biofeedback called electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback might increase the chance of seizure in some people. Combining this type of biofeedback with medications that also increase the chance of seizure might increase the risk of seizure even more.
Some drugs that lower the seizure threshold include anesthetics (propofol, others), antiarrhythmics (mexiletine), antibiotics (amphotericin, penicillin, cephalosporins, imipenem), antidepressants (bupropion, others), antihistamines (cyproheptadine, others), immunosuppressants (cyclosporine), narcotics (fentanyl, others), stimulants (methylphenidate), theophylline, and others.