Muscle Tension Biofeedback Shown To Be Effective For Urinary Incontinence

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The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), the professional association representing people who provide biofeedback based services, announced that a recent review of the scientific literature shows that muscle tension biofeedback from the pelvic floor is effective in treating muscle based stress.

The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), the professional association representing people who provide biofeedback based services, announced that a recent review of the scientific literature shows that muscle tension biofeedback from the pelvic floor is effective in treating muscle based stress and urge urinary incontinence among young athletic women, women who have had children, and older women. Double blind controlled studies and clinical studies showed that the treatment is as or more effective than other treatments such as medications and electrical stimulation.

Howard Glazer of Cornell University Medical School and Carolyn Laine of Saybrook Graduate School reviewed the medical literature on the treatment of urinary incontinence. They concluded that biofeedback can serve as an efficacious adjunct to the training of the pelvic floor musculature in order to enhance continence. Their review included twenty eight studies published in peer reviewed journals from 1975 to 2005 that were prospective, randomized studies with parametric statistical analyses, operationally defined patient selection criteria, treatment protocols and outcome measures. The overall mean treatment improvement for patients undergoing biofeedback for urinary incontinence was 72.61%. In 21 of 35 (60%) paired comparisons, biofeedback demonstrated superior symptomatic outcome to control or alternate treatment groups.

Richard Sherman and his team recorded women reporting urinary incontinence in their normal work environments and found that while their urinary systems and pelvic floor muscles were abnormal before biofeedback, their systems normalized afterwards to the extent each woman improved.

When questioned, he said that “over the course of three research studies, we found that young adults with urinary incontinence don’t want to admit to the problem. They would just rather avoid activities such as sports and lifting than tell their doctors about it. We found that about 1/3 of the healthy young women we surveyed anonymously had more leakage than they were comfortable with. When many of these women were given biofeedback, nearly all showed tremendous improvement within eight weeks. The women who didn’t improve showed no or minimal change in control of their pelvic floor muscles – and these were usually the ones who didn’t practice at home.”

Other recent reviews of the literature have shown that biofeedback is effective for ADHD, muscle related jaw pain / TMD, muscle tension headaches, anxiety, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, phantom limb pain, and many other problems. It is also used to help people perform better in the realms of sports, music, business, and education.

For more information, see AAPB’s web site http://www.aapb.org. Media contact: Annette Rogers, Director of Communications – arogers@resourcenter.com or call 800-477-8892.

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David Stumph
AAPB
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