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Raynaud's Disease

Raynaud's disease is a condition where the extremities of the body, primarily the fingers and toes experience a reaction to cold. When the symptoms appear without any underlying disease or associated problem, it is a case of primary Raynaud's or Renaud's Disease. But when the condition is due to another disease, it is referred to as Raynaud's syndrome. It is noticed more often among young women and especially people living in very cold climates. This disorder causes the blood vessels supplying blood to the skin to become narrow and thereby limit circulation. The fingers and toes become numb and change color. The skin turns white or blue. There is a prickly stinging pain when the weather warms up and the affected area turns red.


Diagnostic tests for Raynaud's disease include ANA test - a test for presence for antinuclear antibodies that are indicative of an autoimmune disorder. The condition is not serious and there is no cure. If the condition is due to any other underlying disease, it must be investigated. Raynaud's phenomenon can sometimes be indicative of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma. Smokers are at higher risk for Raynaud's disease since nicotine narrows blood vessels.


Medications can alleviate the discomfort. Calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine and amlodipine are prescribed to dilate the small blood vessels in the limbs. Creams containing vasodilators can be applied to soothe skin ulcers. It is essential to keep the hands and feet well protected with warm clothing during cold climate. Lotions and moisturizers are used to keep the fingertips moist.

Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback training is a process wherein the patient is trained to improve his/her health by using signals from his/her own body. It helps a person control physiological processes such as blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. These processes actually are involuntary but can be manipulated and controlled at will. Biofeedback therapy is used to treat conditions such as migraine headache, tension headache, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, chronic pain, etc.


The concept behind biofeedback training is very interesting. It utilizes the power of the mind to become aware of what is happening within the body. This awareness helps a person to gain more control over bodily functions, involuntary ones too. This therapy works wonders on people experiencing stress. Stress can cause fluctuations in blood pressure and biofeedback therapy aids in relaxation.


Electrodes are attached to the patient's skin, which sends information to the monitor. Based on the monitor reading, the therapist understands the mental activities of the patient. The parameters that are monitored include blood pressure, sweating, breathing rate, and muscle activity. If a patient is experiencing stress at a particular moment the above mentioned parameters may alter. Understanding this alteration can help understand which part of the body needs to relax.


Depending on the severity of the issue, the number of sessions may vary. A session may typically last from 30 minutes to one hour. Biofeedback therapy does not have any side effects or pose any risk and is a non-invasive procedure. To undertake a session in biofeedback therapy, it is advisable to work with a health care professional trained in biofeedback.


Biofeedback therapy uses

Biofeedback therapy can be used to treat:

Chronic pain: Helps in identifying tight muscles and relaxing them, relieves lower back pain, abdominal pain, etc. This therapy benefits people across all age groups.

Anxiety: Anxiety relief is one huge area wherein biofeedback therapy can be very helpful. The therapy helps understand the body's responses when a person is stressed and anxious. By understanding this, one can control body response using biofeedback therapy.

Urinary incontinence: People may have trouble in controlling the urge to urinate. This therapy, particularly in women helps in tightening the pelvic floor muscles that control the urge/feeling to urinate. It is helpful in treating kids who bed wet.

Headache: Stress and muscle tension can cause headaches like migraine and other types of headache. This therapy can help relax the muscles and reduce frequency as well as severity of the headache.


Other conditions that can be cured using biofeedback therapy include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), asthma, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), high blood pressure, etc. Different relaxation exercises used in biofeedback therapy:


  • Deep breathing

  • Guided imagery: Concentrating on a specific image and focusing on the image to make the person feel relaxed.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Alternately tightening and relaxing various muscle groups.

  • Mindfulness meditation: Focusing thoughts to let go of negative emotions.

Biofeedback therapy types

Neuro feedback: Used to measure brain wave feedback. Used to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

Thermal biofeedback: Used to measure skin temperature. Used to treat headache and Raynaud's disease.

Electromyography: Used to measure muscle activity and tension. Used to treat conditions such as headaches, back pain, anxiety disorder, incontinence, muscle retraining after injury.

Electrodermal activity: Used to measure sweating and can be used in pain and anxiety.



Buerger's Disease

Buerger's disease (thromboangitis obliterans) is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels in the legs. This leads to restricted blood flow. Over time it can lead to gangrene. Buerger's disease is usually noticed in men in the age group of 20 - 40 years. This condition has been strongly associated with smoking. Heavy smokers, especially those who have started at a young age are at higher risk.

What may begin as reduced blood supply to the limbs may later affect blood vessels in other parts of the body. There is decay in the tissues of the feet due to lack of blood. The limbs may turn white or blue as in the case of persons affected by Raynaud's disease. There may be numbness or tingling sensation in the limbs. There may be enlarged red surface veins. It is essential to treat Buerger's Disease promptly lest it lead to infection of the legs and gangrene. Patients suffering from Buerger's Disease must quit smoking.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 21, 2019