Transcript of Mike Cohen’s audio interview with Amy, a migrainer who found significant help after doing neurofeedback.
Mike Cohen: Hi, this is Mike Cohen. I’m the director of the Center for Brain Training. I am interviewing Amy, and Amy has been dealing with migraines…
Amy: Since I was six.
Mike Cohen: So that was a lot of headaches. How bad were your migraines?
Amy: I missed school. I didn’t do things like running, which I love now. I love to run now cause I’m able to contend with the headaches thanks to neurofeedback. A lot of things triggered them. Bright lights. The weather. My neck. I had a car accident when I was 21 and it really messed up my neck. All of those have been eliminated.
Mike Cohen: How often were you having headaches over the years? Do you know?
Amy: I started recording them in 2005 when I started Topamax, which is a medication for epilepsy that they also have found helps with migraines. That helped a little bit, but I still had 105 headaches in 2005 while I was on Topamax.
Mike Cohen: So that’s like every three to four days.
Amy: Sometimes they’d last three days. I wouldn’t be able to eat very much. It was horrendous. Really bad.
Mike Cohen: So this affected your whole life?
Amy: Yeah, I couldn’t really make plans. So I started recording them in 2005 and I was getting fewer with the Topamax.
Mike Cohen: So 105 was fewer than normal for a year.
Amy: So last year I started neurofeedback in 2011 in April and it reduced my headaches to 78 that year, which was better. The first four months, first three months of the year, I didn’t have neurofeedback. So it was eight months of neurofeedback, but it’s still reduced. In 2012 I had 34, but in the last six months of the year I only had 10. And so far this year we’re in August. I’ve only had six.
Mike Cohen: Did you notice anything else when you started the neurofeedback, even though you were still having them? Did they change at all?
Amy: They were easier to get rid of. I wouldn’t always need to take the Maxalt. I could actually come in here and get rid of it, which has never happened with any other treatment. I’ve tried acupuncture. I’ve tried chiropractic. Now I took go to a chiropractor who helps my neck, but I’ve never been able to get rid of the headache once it started without medication until neurofeedback. It would, by the time I left, be gone. Before neurofeedback, as soon as I got the headache I would take a Maxalt, but now I can sometimes ride it out and then it’ll go away rather than waiting too long and nothing helping.
Amy: So it’s actually made a huge difference. I did neuromuscular massage, acupuncture, vitamin supplements, yoga, stretching, a whole bunch of physical therapy trying to strengthen my neck to see if that would help with some of the neck headaches and … this is effortless. I come in here, I sit for less than an hour and by the time I leave I’ll be really relaxed. I mean, I’m not anxious naturally, but I do find that I feel even better after I leave here. And then, I don’t get headaches anymore and it’s effortless. It really is amazing.
Mike Cohen: So what advice would you have for people who are considering as an option neurofeedback for their migraines?
Amy: I would tell them to give it a shot because it definitely can’t hurt. And if you stick it out like I did, and I was coming once a week for a while, I think I started with two times a week in the beginning.
But now I come every three weeks to a month and I can probably go longer. But I’m very happy not having headaches, so I always come and get a little tweak. So this is definitely the best thing that I’ve found.
Mike Cohen: Did any doctor or medical professional ever mention this?
Amy: No. And I asked my neurologist if he knew anything about biofeedback and he said absolutely not. I have no idea. I would love it if people could know more about it.
Mike Cohen: Great. Thank you so much.
Amy: You’re welcome. Thank you. You changed my life for the better. That’s great. I’m happy every day. I wake up happy every day because I know I can handle it. That’s really good.