Neuromodulatory Approaches for Chronic Pain Management: Research Findings and Clinical Implications

  • Mark P. Jensen
  • Leslie H. Sherlin
  • Shahin Hakimian
  • Felipe Fregni


Two lines of evidence provide preliminary support for the role that brain
state, measured via electroencephalogram (EEG), may play in chronic pain. First, research has identified a link between brain EEG activity and the experience of pain. Second, there are a number of published studies documenting the beneficial effects of interventions that impact the cortical activity associated with chronic pain. These interventions include neurobehavioral treatments such as neurofeedback and hypnosis as well as invasive and non-invasive brain stimulation. Preliminary data showing the efficacy of neuromodulatory strategies for treating pain provides compelling reason to examine how cortical activity (as measured by EEG) may underlie the experience of pain. Existing data already suggest specific approaches that neurofeedback clinicians might consider when treating patients with chronic pain. Reciprocally, observations by neurofeedback practitioners could provide important case data that could foster the design of more definitive randomized clinical trials using such strategies for the treatment of chronic pain.