Physical therapy is commonly used to improve voluntary responses in our bodies. For example, we may want to make our knee stronger after joint replacement surgery to aid in processes like walking or climbing up and down stairs. However, physical therapy can also be used to help control and regulate some involuntary bodily responses, like our heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. This is known as biofeedback physical therapy, and it can help with a number of different physical and mental issues. Below, we take a closer look at how biofeedback physical therapy is performed and the types of issues it can help treat.
What Is Biofeedback Physical Therapy?
During a standard biofeedback therapy session, you’ll likely be hooked up to electrical sensors that will record information about your body. Sensors placed on your head can detect certain brain signals, while sensors on your abdomen may analyze your heart rate or breathing patterns. These sensors can also detect how your body responds to different stressors and stimuli, and by interpreting this data, your physical therapist can come up with some different techniques to help regulate these seemingly involuntary actions.
Oftentimes these involuntary bodily responses are impacted by stress, so finding ways to calm the body and help it relax can help to regulate these responses. When you’re under stress, your body may respond by increasing your heart rate, tightening some muscle groups, shortening your breath or releasing different hormones, all of which can be tied to different health issues. For example, some patients may experience chronic headaches as a result of muscle tension in their head and neck that develops as a result of stress and involuntary bodily reactions to this stress. Physical therapists can then work to help a person control their response to stress to avoid this unwanted muscle tension and prevent headaches before they can develop.
In most instances, biofeedback physical therapy techniques will be unique to the individual, but the goal is typically to help the patient relax and find healthy outlets for stress to keep these involuntary bodily responses in check. A physical therapist may recommend the following techniques as part of a biofeedback therapy routine:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation exercises
- Mindfulness meditation
The Benefits Of Biofeedback Therapy
Biofeedback physical therapy is considered a great therapy technique for a number of reasons. For starters, it really helps patients feel more in control of their body. One of the most frustrating things about an injury or chronic health condition can be the lack of control a patient feels over the issue. Biofeedback helps patients regain some control by helping them regulate how their body responds to stress, which can make all the difference when it comes to treatment.
Other benefits of biofeedback PT include:
- It’s noninvasive.
- Doesn’t involve the need for medications.
- It’s another option for patients who can’t currently take certain medications, like children or pregnant women.
- Can help treat a wide variety of conditions directly tied to or made worse by stress.
If you’d like to learn more about biofeedback therapy, or if you believe you’d benefit from learning how to better control and regulate stressors that affect your brain and body, consider connecting with a physical therapy team that leans on biofeedback techniques to help patients overcome what’s bothering them. The team at OrthoRehab PT will be more than happy to help find a biofeedback treatment that’s right for you. For more information, or for help with a different physical condition, reach out to our team today at (612) 339-2041.