Parents reprimand children for playing games in mobiles or other electronic gadgets. Couples keep complaining that their better half is constantly engaged with smartphones, older people feel disconnected with their family members as each is engrossed in his/her own media world and teachers advise parents to prohibit children from using electronic gadgets. Actually, virtual reality games show promising results as a treatment plan for pain and the aftermath of trauma.
A new study has found that this therapy can also help stroke patients recover some use of their arms and hands. Researchers say that making patients play these games was as effective as adding extra physical therapy to routine stroke rehabilitation. There is no question of choosing the better alternative, but the focus is on providing a variety of training alternatives to enable variation. In no given day can virtual reality replace physical therapy. It can be a motivation for the patients to undergo an extra treatment session.
Studies are ongoing on the different uses of virtual reality-right from pain reduction, controlling phobias to helping soldiers recover from post-traumatic stress disorders.
The patients were asked to join 16-hour long therapy sessions to routine rehabilitation over a month, where one group performed physical therapy and the other group played a virtual reality game. Games involved grasping an object, picking things or steering a car virtually, in different levels of difficulty.
50 patients in the physical therapy group and 52 patients in the other group completed the study and were evaluated after three months. Members from both the groups performed equally and there was similar improvement in hand and arm function. Patients who had severe hand weakness showed slight improvement, whereas patients who started with moderate or mildly impaired arm function showed improved good motor function.
Advantages of Rehabilitation Through Virtual Reality
The reach of virtual reality in rehabilitation is tremendous and can be advantageous to the stroke patients greatly. The staffs are also armed with the power of providing additional therapy sessions and therapy treatments that are otherwise impractical in rehabilitation settings. For instance, a patient can even practice risky activities such as crossing the street or driving. Stroke is a dangerous health hazard and it is better to prevent it with healthy lifestyle practices rather than curing it with therapies. To adapt yourself to a healthy lifestyle, get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.