Finding appropriate treatments for your fibromyalgia symptoms can be quite frustrating sometimes. Many sufferers of fibromyalgia syndrome go through dozens of medications and alternative therapies before they find one that finally helps their pain. A new technique called brain mapping may help you to find helpful treatments faster, saving you time, money, and months of suffering.
What is Brain Mapping?
Brain mapping is a special procedure used to find areas of abnormal electrical activity in your brain. This technique records and produces a color-coded map of the electrical brainwaves in various areas in your brain. Also called quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), brain mapping pinpoints specific areas within your brain that are acting abnormally. Once these areas of abnormal activity are found, the information can be used to help find appropriate treatments to reduce your symptoms of pain and fatigue.
What are Brainwaves?
Brainwaves are found in every person’s brain. They actually represent electrical activity which your brain produces while you are awake, asleep, and performing different activities. There are four types of brainwaves:
- Beta: Beta brainwaves are the fastest brainwaves produced by your brain. They are present when you carry out focused activities, like when you are at work or at school.
- Alpha: Alpha brainwaves are slightly slower than beta brainwaves. They are present when you are relaxed yet still alert.
- Theta: Theta brainwaves are even slower than alpha brainwaves. They can be found in your brain when you are sleepy and experiencing dreams.
- Delta: Delta brainwaves are the slowest type of brainwaves. They are found when you are in deep, dreamless sleep.
What is Brain Mapping Used For?
Cerebral brain mapping is used in a wide variety of applications. It is commonly used to detect and diagnose certain brain disorders, such as epilepsy, attention deficit disorder, and bipolar disorder. However, it is often used after brain surgery in order to determine that the brain is functioning normally.
Fibromyalgia and Brain Mapping
Microelectrode brain mapping is highly useful in determining areas of abnormal electrical activity in fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia is often characterized by over-stimulation in certain parts of the brain and under-stimulation in other parts of the brain. By creating a map of your brain, your health care provider can pinpoint specific areas of your brain, which may be causing your fibromyalgia symptoms. Once these areas are found, medications or therapies can be prescribed to normalize brain activity. Brain mapping can be used to diagnose various fibromyalgia symptoms, including:
The Brain Mapping Procedure
Creating a map of your brain’s electrical activity is actually fairly straightforward. It is also pain-free and completely non-invasive. Brain mapping is usually performed in hospital or in a clinic devoted to brain study. It usually takes between two and three hours.
Before your appointment, it is recommended that you avoid caffeine or any other stimulants for at least three hours. You should also refrain from using hair gels or hairspray. A special cap, much like a bathing cap, is placed on your head, directly over your hair. Electrodes are attached to certain areas of this cap; these electrodes are what measure your brain’s activity. Gel is inserted into the electrodes to promote better connections. Recordings are then taken while you are performing certain activities. Recordings may be taken:
- with your eyes closed
- with your eyes open
- while you perform spatial activities
- while you perform a math test
These recordings are then relayed to computers, which interpret the information and produce a color-coded map of your brain function.
After the Procedure
After your brain activity has been recorded, computers turn this information into numbers. These numbers are then correlated to certain colors, such as red, yellow, and blue, which are then placed on your brain map. Your health care provider can then take your color-coded brain map and compare it to a map of a normal-function brain. This allows him to pinpoint areas in your brain which may be related to your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Benefits of The Procedure
The QEEG human brain mapping procedure is highly advanced and can offer more information than the typical electroencephalogram (EEG). By having a QEEG done, your brain activity can be compared to a wide database of other "brains," helping to determine which, if any, of your brain functions is actually abnormal. QEEG is also helpful in determining which type of medications should be used. QEEG can help to diagnose specific conditions thereby indicating specific treatments. This can help save you time, money, and energy when trying to find helpful fibromyalgia treatments.