Are you still suffering from migraines even though you are taking medication?

Are you getting relief from migraine medication but concerned about the side effects?


If you answered “Yes” to either question, neurofeedback training may be right for you.


Although neurofeedback training can stop a migraine while it is occurring, stopping individual migraines is not the main goal. Training with neurofeedback can be very effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraines over the long term, providing real relief for people suffering from migraines.



News Coverage — Neurofeedback for Migraines


NBC and ABC news stories highlight neurofeedback training for migraine treatment.


The Washington, DC affiliates for both ABC and NBC News each presented news stories describing and explaining how neurofeedback is  viable option to help with migraines. Both focused on the work of  Deborah Stokes, Ph.D, a neurofeedback clinician in Alexandria, VA.  She published a study that showed significant improvement in migraines using neurofeedback.


The NBC news story focuses on one of her patients, Anedi Edelstein, who came to Dr. Stokes after a long history of medications for migraines. She had tried 10 different prescription drugs and was concerned about the side effects of drowsiness, which could affect driving with her young children. This story discusses how her migraines were impacted by neurofeedback training and reports that she is now migraine free.


Lynn Hertel, another of Dr. Stokes’ patients, is the focus of the ABC news story. Lynn, a flute teacher, was often unable to play music because of her migraines. The migraines were so debilitating that Lynn says, “I really didn’t have a life. I just survived between migraines.”

Before trying neurofeedback, she had been though “countless treatments.” After neurofeedback training, Lynn reports that her migraines are “practically non-existent”.


Neurofeedback, which tends to reduce the number and intensity of migraines, is typically used with patients like Anedi and Lynn who have already tried a number of other options, including medications, before finding neurofeedback. neurofeedback often gives them the relief they need when other options have only provided a band-aid or come with unsatisfactory side effects.




Case Examples


Janet: Relief from migraines after 25 years


Janet, a psychotherapist, had suffered from migraines for 25 years. Janet took an initial training course in neurofeedback to be able to offer neurofeedback as part of her practice, as well as to specifically try to help her sister who experienced frequent seizures. At that time, she was unaware that neurofeedback training could help with migraines. While in class, she experienced a significant migraine and asked to leave. During the lunch break, the neurofeedback instructor did a training session with her. Her migraine stopped right away, even though they typically would last for eight hours. After that success, she started training with neurofeedback on a regular basis. Over the course of the year, she was able to completely eliminate her migraines. Now 49-years-old, Janet has been migraine-free for four years.



Alex: A skeptical migraine sufferer gets results


At age 50, Alex had also suffered from migraines for 25 years, in addition to struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). His crippling migraines left him feeling tired all the time and unable to get things done. His elderly mother suggested he try neurofeedback. After a few neurofeedback sessions, he wanted to quit.  Since the results were not instant, he did not think neurofeedback was helping and did not want to continue. He was resistant and very unconvinced of success with this method. With his mother’s persuasion and the support of the clinician, Alex reluctantly continued neurofeedback training sessions.

Then, after the eighth neurofeedback training session, he noted mild improvement in his migraines and sleep. After 15 sessions, his migraines were consistently less frequent and less intense. Seeing significant results, Alex needed no more encouragement; he wanted to continue the neurofeedback sessions.

Alex stopped neurofeedback after 25 sessions because he was now working more due to his improved health. When his clinician followed up on his condition several months after finishing his neurofeedback training, Alex reported that he had not had any migraines in that period. He did have a few headaches, but explained, “They were normal headaches, like normal people have on occasion. I can handle them with no problem.”


As a side benefit, his problems with OCD were greatly reduced as well. Alex said, “I still have it, but it no longer gets in my way.” After his success with his migraines through neurofeedback, Alex remarked, “I cannot imagine why anyone would use medications once they learn about this.”




What Results Are Likely Using Neurofeedback?


Dr. Stokes’ work, highlighted above in the NBC and ABC news stories, is also published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Function in a compelling research study she co-authored with Martha S. Lappin entitled “Neurofeedback and biofeedback with 37 migraineurs: a clinical outcome study”. The study found that, with neurofeedback, 70% of migraine sufferers have a significant reduction in the frequency of their migraines.



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