Virtual Reality Goggles Can Help Decrease Neck Pain

oculus rift reduces pain vr

Study Shows Oculus HMD Eases Chronic Pain

Recent research study appeared in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicate that utilizing VR technology to trick the mind to believe how the far neck is turned may alter the way a person perceive pain. Past research suggest that elements such as cognitive sensory and emotional perceptions can significantly influence how pain is experienced.

 

In this experiment, researchers used virtual reality to investigate whether manipulating visual proprioceptive cues could alter movement-evoked pain in 24 people with neck pain.  The participants had experienced the chronic pain resulting from issues such as posture, tension, repeated strain, trauma, and scoliosis for an average of 11 years.

 

The hypothesis was that “pain would occur at a lesser degree of head rotation when visual feedback overstate/understated true rotation.” The result of the experiment was astonishing. “When vision overstated the amount of rotation, pain occurred at 7% less rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback, and when vision understated rotation, pain occurred at 6% greater rotation than under conditions of accurate visual feedback.”

 

vr pain treatment

 

University of South Australia, G. Lorimer Moseley, PT, PhD explains that the brain does not need specific pain message coming from the tissue of the body in order to produce pain in that body part. Sensable and reliable cues that predict impending pain are enough to produce the experience of pain.

 

During the experiment, the researchers asked participants to sit in a chair while wearing a VR goggles and head-mounted display.The HMD display indoor and outdoor scene while using gyroscope in unison to track participant’s head movements. The participants were asked to turn their head left or right until they experienced pain.

 

Participants were unaware that the researchers had altered the visual cues in the VR world on some trials, so that the visual cue did not accurately depict the degree the head was rotated. In some cases, the scene indicated that participants would under state of overstate the degree of rotation.

 

virtual reality help pain reduction

 

This finding indicates that visual cues played a prominent role in pinpointing whether the participants felt pain. When the display understated actual head turn, participants had a broader range of pain-free motion.

 

Additional Sources: 

http://www.hitl.washington.edu/projects/vrpain/

http://www.firsthand.com/portfolio/pain.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634811/

Virtual Reality Games That Relieves Pain And Increase Quality Of Life

DeepStream VR was one out of the 13 startups that received investments from Rothenberg Venture’s River Accelerator. DeepStream VR is pioneering virtual reality games to help relieve pain and improve your quality of life.

 

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DeepStream’s approach is backed by empirical science. Over a decade of research indicates immersive virtual reality can help relieve pain, reduce stress, and build resilience. fMRI images from studies reveal significant reduction in pain related brain activity while using VR.

 

Participants using VR also reported feeling less pain during the study, which corroborates the fMRI results.

 

The company is creating intelligent VR games with biofeedback to propel user to the optimum performance level, which can be used at home or professionally. Also, DeepStream VR games and applications can be played on any VR device.

 

The VR system is comprise of:

1. A Standard Gaming Computer

2. VR Display: DeepStream recommend a VR display with a wide field-of-view over 80 degrees to get the best experience and results, such as the Oculus Rift or DeepStream 3D Viewer. 

3. DeepStream 3D Viewer is a high-resolution panoramic 3D display that can be attached to any surface.

4. VR Game Controller: Wireless natural motion controllers such as Sixense STEM.

5. Biosensors: Future DeepStream VR games will connect to heart rate and other biosensors in mobile devices.

 

TEDMED 2014 talk featuring DeepStream VR CEO, Howard Rose

 

 

Moseley emphasizes the researchers were very surprised at how robust and predictable this pattern of results was. This finding may lead to future integrations of virtual reality in clinical treatment of pain, expanding VR into the VR health sector.

Author: VR Reporter

I am a hi-tech enthusiast, VR evangelist, and a Co-founder & Chief Director at Virtual Reality Reporter!

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