Sunday, August 29, 2010
Biofeedback Brain And Dr. Jock Biodude
Two years ago I went through two months of 3 times a week biofeedback training. I got really good at relaxing muscles, controlling breathing, learning to use visualization to increase control over autonomic functions. However for The Headache biofeedback really didn't work too well. Pain levels went too high too fast - zero to 100 in the space of a few minutes at times - and I couldn't go to my happy place when I was too overwhelmed. It did help some with keeping my breathing calm and my anxiety levels down so it was not a totally wasted effort. This was totally "monitored" biofeedback where I was hooked up to a computer during my sessions. I still use it when I feel overwhelmed physically.
The A-Team has psychologists on staff, and they seem to want everyone to practice biofeedback. I had my first session last Friday, and it didn't go so well. Number one, the office manager had spent a half hour of my time demonstrating the headicing machine which I told her would not work for me (too noisy, too big, and it seemed to be on the leaky side although it cooled and heated the recirculating water really well plus it had to be strapped to my head which bothers the supraorbital nerve pain I have), then some kind of migraine cap. I DON'T HAVE MIGRAINES ANYMORE I wanted to shout...I tried to explain that when I ice my head I use four (yes 4!) ice caps with ice and water in them to cover the area needed. She did suggest I create some ice caps by sewing some covers and filling them with unpopped popcorn and keeping them in the freezer which was a useful and thoughtful suggestion (but I think she could tell I was a hard sell on the other equipment).
After all the sales pitches I met the biofeedback dude [Dr. Jock Biodude]: he was very nice but he used sports analogies. One of my pet peeves is when people (mostly guys) cannot discuss anything unless they use sports analogies (going for the three pointer, you have to take the first step to win a marathon, touchdown! etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum) so unbeknownst to him this prejudice made it very difficult to hear what he was saying because the sports talk interferred with my concentration. I was in a bit of peevish mood by then. I'm sure he could tell by my body language when he started talking about how we have convinced our bodies we are sick and that biofeedback will stop the cycle that I was not into his brand of hoo hah.
I'm not a fan of magical thinking, whether it is "I will be good and God will be good to me" or "The proper mind set will cure you" or "taking this special supplement will fix everything". I'm a cynic by nature, an optimist by choice, and practical to the Nth degree. After the session of biofeedback with tinkly new age music and lowered lights, my temperature dropped instead of raising. You are expected to have a little thermometer taped to your finger to measure your temperature. Dr. Biodude said it was a sign I was not in tune with my feelings and living too much "in my head". I'm sure he should have been able to easily see me raise my eyebrows each time a tinny sports term popped into the biofeedback reading which made it very hard not to live too much "in my head", but the drop in temperature probably came from his super cold air conditioned office where he sat with an undershirt, shirt, and tie on and I had on a thin summer weight blouse.
I told him that I am like a rabbit in a steel trap. I will gnaw my foot off to escape the trap not idly sit by and accept the trap, feel the trap, and embrace the trap and then imagine the trap has disappeared while the hunter comes to dispatch my rabbity hide. It's not in my nature BUT I will do the biofeedback 2x a day for the next three weeks. I will try to embrace the moment and not live too much in my head: at least the recording he gave me doesn't have any sports terms on it so far. I will attempt to be more open minded about it. The other form of biofeedback training I had was much more guided and specific to me, so maybe I just prefer that method of teaching. Don't know, but I do know I don't have a lot of patience for nonsense so I am hoping I will see some positive results.
I have been more heavily drugging myself with clonazepam to get a full nights sleep per the A-Team's plan. I am supposed to titrate up every other night until I get past the night time pain and insomnia issues. There will be a limit there I will not go past either. I can take quite a bit of pain if the alternative is too many drugs for very little benefit.
Botox injections were mentioned, but after asking some people in my urticaria group (hives) there were no positive comments about botox for people with chronic hives like myself. Some had bad reactions, and no one had a positive experience. I'm going to save the Botox for some desparate future time. The A-Team is just going to have to get by with regular office visits, no extra sales of special equipment, and no big lots of biofeedback training fees. They seem to be used to persons that are at the melt down point there, which is very sad for the regular new patient who has not been receiving adequate care elsewhere, but it takes quite a bit to get me to that point. As long as I have a plan, I'm pretty well good to go. If they keep up the sports talk, I may get to a different type of melt down point and grab someone's tongue and pull out their belly by the roots. But maybe that's the menopause talking, eh??