Biofeedback with pain patients: Evidence for its effectiveness

Robert J. Gatchel, Richard C. Robinson, Carla Pulliam, Ann Matt Maddrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The present article reviews the history of biofeedback, with specific emphasis on the application of biofeedback procedures to the treatment of pain. Applications of biofeedback to different pain syndromes are discussed, as well as its effectiveness. As will be shown, although a great deal of past research has been somewhat mixed with regard to biofeedback's ability to decrease pain, the results of this therapeutic modality are promising within the context of a more comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain management. As will be emphasized, with the growing popularity of the biopsychosocial approach to pain, the importance of teaching pain patients self-regulatory techniques such as biofeedback will increase as an adjuvant to other treatment modalities. The biopsychosocial model of pain, which is now accepted as the most heuristic approach to the understanding and treatment of pain disorders, views physical disorders such as pain as the result of a complex and dynamic interaction among physiologic, psychologic, and social factors, which perpetuates and may even worsen the clinical presentation. Every individual experiences pain uniquely and, therefore, treatment regimens need to be individually tailored for each patient. For many patients, biofeedback serves as an important component of this comprehensive biopsychosocial care approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Pain Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Back pain
  • Biofeedback
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Interdisciplinary treatment
  • Pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder
  • Upper extremity disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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