Biofeedback Therapy in Jacksonville, FL
Biofeedback is used in physical therapy to help patients move in specific movement patterns to help meet their functional goals. In other words, it is a tool to help you move better. Our physical therapists use biofeedback to help you get to know your body so you can learn how to move efficiently and effectively.
Biofeedback allows you to practice movements that are usually automatic, like contracting your pelvic floor muscles just before a sneeze. Touch, sound, and visual cues increase your awareness to help you develop more control over your muscles. With increased awareness, you’ll be able to repeatedly practice the movement until it becomes a natural and unconscious practice.
What can biofeedback treat?
Biofeedback measures muscle activity to help you perceive subtle body changes. Muscle activity is expressed visually or by sound so you can consciously connect and understand when your muscles are relaxed or contracted.
Biofeedback treats a variety of physical and mental health conditions. Our physical therapists use biofeedback to treat muscular dysfunction related to:
How Biofeedback Works
Physical, visual, or auditory signals help patients become more aware of what their muscles are doing and how their muscles move their bodies. Using biofeedback helps to establish patterns of movement that can help patients move optimally.
While moving, your muscles produce electrical activity, and electrodes pick up the signals while a computer interprets the reading. Smaller hand-held units are also available for patients to use at home after instruction from your clinician.
Most people associate biofeedback with computers, but it can be as simple as using your own hands. A computer can tell you how much you are moving, but tactile feedback can tell you how well you are moving by feeling your muscles with your hand.
Benefits of Biofeedback
Our physical therapists will assess you and provide the right tools for you to learn optimally. So, you may start with computer-assisted biofeedback but work towards independence by watching yourself move with verbal correction by your therapist and then move independently without outside assistance.
There are many benefits to biofeedback, including:
- It’s non-invasive.
- Minimal risk to use.
- A new way to learn how to use your body.
- Immediate feedback.
- You can avoid using medications.
- Enhance the effects of your current medications.
- You feel more in control of your health.
Biofeedback is not meant to be used alone to treat a condition, but instead as an adjunct treatment in combination with other therapeutic interventions. It enhances your therapy to help you reach your functional goals. Also, it is a great tool to feel more confident and begin working towards independence.
Biofeedback is not a solution, but it can help you reach your long-term goals quickly. Your ultimate goal is to become free from all external cues and rely on yourself to correct movement.
Biofeedback For Your Pelvic Floor
The combination of pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback therapy can improve your pelvic health and quality of life. Electrodes can target specific muscles, from your pelvic floor muscles to treat urinary incontinence to your external anal sphincter to treat fecal incontinence.
Applying biofeedback therapy to your pelvic floor can improve symptoms related to the following:
- Urinary incontinence
- Fecal incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
- Chronic pelvic pain
What To Expect During Biofeedback Therapy
When our physical therapists determine that biofeedback is an excellent adjunct to your treatment sessions, they will share information on how it improves your condition, any associated risk factors, and your application options.
You will need to expose your skin for the therapist to apply electrode pads. Electrode placement on your skin is performed in privacy with your modesty in mind. If electrodes are on your pelvic floor, you can put your clothes back once the electrodes are in place or remain covered with a sheet during a treatment session.
External electrodes are placed on your skin and held on by a sticky adhesive surface along specific body parts. The electrodes connect to a machine or hand-held device that will interpret electrical impulses created by your contracting muscles.
The information is given back to you through flashing lights or beeping sounds. Your physical therapist will tell you what these signals mean. Then you use this feedback to change your body’s behavior or reaction.
You may benefit more from using internal vaginal or rectal electrodes. These electrodes will provide more precise information as they touch the muscles you are learning to control.
The length of the biofeedback session will depend on your goals. You will spend less time using biofeedback as you learn how to control your physical responses. Then your physical therapist will progress you to exercising without using biofeedback to advance your rehabilitation program.