gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

Is Biofeedback an effective and scientific method for treatment of pain? A pilot study at the Medical University of Vienna

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Richard Crevenna - Department of PMR, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
  • Mohammad Keilani - Department of PMR, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
  • Martin Nuhr - Department of PMR, Medical University of Vienna, KLI for PMR Senftenberg, Vienna, Austria
  • Tanya Sedghi Komanadj - Department of PMR, KH Hietzing, Vienna, Austria
  • Fadime Cenik - Department of PMR, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
  • Christoph Krall - Section of Medical Statistics, Core Unit for Medical Statistics and Informatics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm190

doi: 10.3205/11esm190, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm1909

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Crevenna et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Biofeedback is known to be an effective psychophysiological method with the power to enhance self-competence, and has been reported in several high-impact journals to be an effective means in the treatment of bodily pain. Aim of this pilot study was to assess knowledge about biofeedback, and acceptance of biofeedback in an Austrian study population of medical students and doctors with background of the Medical University of Vienna.

Material/Methods: To answer this question, a pilot study in 142 subjects [medical students 72 (beginners=38, advanced =34), residents: n=9, seniors: n=61 (from whom pain experts=27)] all of them with background Medical University of Vienna was conducted. By using a questionnaire, knowledge about biofeedback (familiarity with the method, distinction between biofeedback and bioresonance) and if biofeedback is seen as scientific and effective method for treatment of pain was assessed.


  • Familiarity with biofeedback: medical students 47.2% (beginners=28.9%, advanced=67.6%), residents: n=77.8%, seniors: n=98.4% (pain experts=100%).
  • Distinction between biofeedback and bioresonance: medical students 33.3% (beginners=23.7%, advanced=44.1%), residents: n=66.7%, seniors: n=72.1% (pain experts=85.2%)
  • Acceptance of biofeedback as a method of scientific medicine: medical students 31.9% (beginners=23.7%, advanced=41.2%), residents: n=88.9%, seniors: n=86.9% (pain experts=92.6%)
  • Biofeedback seen as an effective method in scientific pain medicine: medical students 23.6% (beginners=10.5%, advanced=38.2%), residents: n=88.9%, seniors: n=90.2% (pain experts=96.3%)
  • Knowledge about indications for the application of biofeedback: medical students 22.6% (beginners=7.9%, advanced=38.2%), residents: n=77.8%, seniors: n=85.2% (pain experts=92.6%)

Conclusion: The results of this pilot study indicate that the knowledge about the method of biofeedback shows a strong dependency on expertise in the field of medicine. Furthermore, especially in the group of experts in the field of pain medicine, biofeedback is significantly more often is seen as an effective and scientific method. Further studies with higher sample sizes should be performed to confirm these results. Nevertheless, these results indicate effectiveness of biofeedback in pain treatment concepts, and the fact that pain experts – due their proven knowledge – are the most qualified group to prescribe biofeedback for these indications.