Biofeedback (BFB) is an established intervention in the rehabilitation of headache and other pain disorders. Little is known about this treatment option for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The aim of the present review is to integrate and critically evaluate the evidence regarding the efficacy of biofeedback for FMS. Methods. We conducted a literature search using Pubmed, clinicaltrials.gov (National Institute of Health), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsycINFO, SCOPUS, and manual searches. The effect size estimates were calculated using a random-effects model. Results. The literature search produced 123 unique citations. One hundred sixteen records were excluded. The meta-analysis included seven studies (321 patients) on EEG-Biofeedback and EMG-Biofeedback. In comparison to control groups, biofeedback (BFB) significantly reduced pain intensity with a large effect size (g = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.22–1.36). Subgroup analyses revealed that only EMG-BFB and not EEG-BFB significantly reduced pain intensity in comparison to control groups (g = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.11–1.62). BFB did not reduce sleep problems, depression, fatigue, or health-related quality of life in comparison to a control group. Discussion. The interpretation of the results is limited because of a lack of studies on the long-term effects of EMG-BFB in FMS. Further research should focus on the long-term efficacy of BFB in fibromyalgia and on the identification of predictors of treatment response.
Contrary to the belief that schizophrenic patients will be unable to learn self control of electrocortical activity due to attentional and motivational deficits, the two studies which have investigated this, both involving operant conditioning of slow cortical potentials, have demonstrated that self regulation can take place. This was particularly true of a study of interhemispheric control. Learning difficulties were found to be more to do with sustaining motivation towards the end of sessions or training programs, rather than in initial learning. Schizotypical features in the normal population have in the case of anhedonia been associated with slower learning, while withdrawn introversion has been associated with faster learning. In view of the affirmative evidence and advances in understanding the functional significance of electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythms, the undertaking of therepeutic regimens with electrocortical operant conditioning is warranted in the schizophrenia spectrum.
We designed a randomized, rater blind study to assess the efficacy of EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback-NFB) in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Eighteen patients received twenty sessions of NFB-sensory motor rhythm (SMR) treatment (NFB group) during 4 weeks, and eighteen patients were given 10 mg per day escitalopram treatment (control group) for 8 weeks. Visual Analog Scales for pain and fatigue, Hamilton and Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventory Scales, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and Short Form 36 were used as outcome measures which were applied at baseline and 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, 24th weeks. Mean amplitudes of EEG rhythms (delta, theta, alpha, SMR, beta1 and beta2) and theta/SMR ratio were also measured in NFB group. All post-treatment measurements showed significant improvements in both of the groups (for all parameters p < 0.05). NFB group displayed greater benefits than controls (for all parameters p < 0.05). Therapeutic efficacy of NFB was found to begin at 2nd week and reached to a maximum effect at 4th week. On the other hand, the improvements in SSRI treatment were also detected to begin at 2nd week but reached to a maximum effect at 8th week. No statistically significant changes were noted regarding mean amplitudes of EEG rhythms (p > 0.05 for all). However, theta/SMR ratio showed a significant decrease at 4th week compared to baseline in the NFB group (p < 0.05). These data support the efficacy of NFB as a treatment for pain, psychological symptoms and impaired quality of life associated with fibromyalgia. Neurofeedback Intervention in Fibromyalgia Syndrome; A Randomized, Controlled, Rater Blind Clinical Trial [link]