Biofeedback procedures are useful in managing back pain. The technique known as electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback alerts you to electrical activity from muscle tension, thus helping you control it and diminish the pain it causes.
In one innovative experiment, Herta Flor and her colleagues treated patients suffering from chronic back pain with 12 one-hour sessions of biofeedback. They were compared to a second group, who received the same amount of treatment but were given false feedback-the information they received came not from their own muscles, but from other patients'. The patients given accurate biofeedback reported at least a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity , and half of them experienced a drop of 75 percent; the other group reported no change. Following the biofeedback, patients were encouraged to practice relaxation at home on a regular basis. After two-and-a-half years, the first group's improvements still held.
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