Pain Management Using Mobile Technology in Veterans With PTSD and TBI
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government.
Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02237885
Recruitment Status :
First Posted : September 11, 2014
Last Update Posted : December 4, 2017
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Up to half of military veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) also suffer from co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both are linked to higher risk of chronic pain, one of the most common health complaints among U.S. veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). However, pain medications elevate risk of opioid abuse, and studies indicate that veterans perceive barriers to traditional mental health treatments. Little research exists regarding non-pharmacological, technology-based interventions designed to reduce pain in veterans with PTSD and TBI. Mobile technology used to implement neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) shows promise in providing a portable, low-cost intervention for reducing pain in veterans with co-occurring disorders. We aim to test the feasibility and effectiveness of using mobile neurofeedback devices for reducing pain symptoms in veterans with PTSD and TBI. Veterans with PTSD, TBI, and chronic pain will receive a NeuroSky headset (which reads EEG brain waves) and an iPod Touch with an app called Mobile Neurofeedback (which provides neurofeedback to induce relaxation). Veterans are taught how to use these together to do neurofeedback themselves at home for 12 weeks. Guided by existing research and preliminary data, we hypothesize that participants will show high levels of adherence to the NeuroSky + Mobile Neurofeedback intervention for the 3-month study duration and that participants will show statistically significant reduction in pain symptoms at 3 months compared to baseline. Given links between pain and other outcomes in veterans, we will also explore effects on drug abuse, violence, and suicidality. When the research is complete, the field will be changed because we will know whether new technology reading EEG brainwaves can be used to treat symptoms among individuals suffering from chronic pain. We will also know whether neurofeedback shows promise as an effective intervention for veterans with PTSD and TBI to reduce pain and related outcomes. If this program of research is successful, its impact will be to shift approaches to managing pain in clinical practice, for both veterans and civilians
Number of ten minute neurofeedback sessions completed on mobile platform [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
Per protocol, participants will be requested to complete 4 neurofeedback sessions per week for 12 weeks. This data will be collected on participants' mobile devices.
Secondary Outcome Measures :
Change in participant's self-reported pain score from 0-10, 0 least amount of pain, 10 highest [ Time Frame: Baseline, 3 months ]
Per protocol, participants are enrolled if they have chronic pain defined as self-reporting on the numeric rating scale a score of 4 or above lasting three months or more. The study will therefore ask participants to self report their level of pain (from 0-10, 0 least amount of pain, 10 being the most) following the three months of the neurofeedback sessions.
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.
Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:
18 Years and older (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
Military veteran who served during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and/or Operation New Dawn (OND)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
History of epilepsy, seizure disorder, or have ever had a seizure or epileptic fit