For decades, video game enthusiasts have been warned about the risks of back pain as a result of overindulging in their pastime. But technology has brought us to such an advanced place that it’s now possible that the future of gaming could actually be good for our spines.
Researchers at an American university are using new Virtual Reality technology to help a group of back pain patients whose conditions have resulted in them becoming increasingly immobile.*
Our Fareham chiropractor recommends regular exercise and movement as part of back pain management and it is widely known that remaining active is one of the most effective ways to help back pain. But for many patients, pain can result in a debilitating fear of movement. This has led to researchers at Ohio University implementing Virtual Reality as a new method of helping those with back pain.
The researchers have come up with a Virtual Reality dodge ball game that holds patients so deeply engrossed in the game that they don’t think about their pain or fear as they dodge and duck to block the balls flying at them. It’s all about getting the patients to think about the game, rather than their pain.
In addition to the game itself (which includes a jam packed stadium and screaming fans) the system is able to cleverly detect the players’ joint movements. This will allow the research team to view an animated model of each patient during game play and work out the degree of movement in their spines and other joints.
Virtual dodge ball was apparently chosen due to its moderate difficulty level. The game can even be customised to each patient, with the aim to get them to progressively move more.
What will come of it? Only time will tell. But for now, our Fareham chiropractor still recommends the traditional way of exercising to help manage your back pain.
If you find that your back condition causes you anxiety about certain movements, contact a healthcare professional for advice. A good chiropractor will be able to reassure and advise you on what movements are safe for you.