Back1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Register
 Login
 Main Page
 Back News
Feature Story
 Education Center
Conditions
Procedures
Diagnostics
Mary-Schatz-MD  Back
 Hero™

Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.:
Healing Back Pain with Yoga.
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion in  Our Forums
 Community
Back1 Forums
Patient Stories
 Reference
Anatomy
Online Resources
Video Library
advertisement
Search the Body1 Network
June 26, 2017  
BACK NEWS: Feature Story

  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Email this Article
  • Links/Reprints
  • A Dose of Virtual Reality for Back Pain

    A Dose of Virtual Reality for Back Pain


    March 04, 2005

    By: Diana Barnes-Brown for Back1

    Sufferers of lower back pain can all attest to its ability to compromise even the simplest day-to-day activities, at times making even chores as simple as checking the mail seem nearly impossible. Yet, with all the suffering it causes, lower back pain is still high on the list of pain causes in adults.

    Now, a new study led by Emory researchers and funded by the National Institute of Health is testing the efficacy of virtual reality in helping patients cope with this tough-to-beat pain.


    Learn More
    Chronic Back Pain Study

    If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you may be eligible to participate in a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. If eligible, you will receive free treatment including the use of virtual reality relaxation therapy.


    For more information, call (404) 634-3400 or e-mail [email protected]

    Many people think of virtual reality, or VR, as a video game-like technology, responsible for creating futuristic dreamscapes with the help of a pair of goggles and some motion-sensing garments. While this is partially true, the medical application of VR floods patients with voice recordings and images designed to promote true relaxation and a meditation-like state.

    "Living with pain means living with a lot of stress," noted co-principal investigator Barbara Rothbaum, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. Chronic pain “affects recreational activities, causes absence from work, and strains relationships," she explained.

    Back pain causes stress, and unfortunately, the relationship can go both ways: Stress can also exacerbate back pain by causing symptoms including muscle tension and changes in breathing and posture.

    Because of this connection, the Emory researchers and scientists at Virtually Better, the company responsible for manufacturing the VR equipment, hope to break the cycle by giving patients targeted relaxation therapy, which, if effective, may both reduce the causes of pain symptoms and increase patients’ ability to cope with what pain there is.

    The study, a randomized controlled clinical study, requires patients to participate in five sessions of VR relaxation therapy, each 50 minutes long. The first session will provide patients with information about the reasoning behind the treatment, as well as audiovisual breathing and muscle relaxation training. The remaining four will instruct patients to complete the relaxation exercises via a voiceover while hearing soothing sounds and viewing peaceful images such as flowers, a beach, or a forest.

    To participate in the study, patients must be 18 or older, have no history of back surgery, and suffer from chronic lower back pain, which is characterized as back pain lasting for at least six months.

    Previously, Rothbaum has worked with Virtually Better on VR projects to help patients cope with fear of public speaking and Vietnam-related post-traumatic stress disorder, and Emory research has also explored the applications of VR training for heart surgeons.

    Last updated: 04-Mar-05

    Comments

  • Add Comment
  •    
    Interact on Back1

    Discuss this topic with others.
     
    Feature Archives

    Spinal Discs Provide a Window into our Evolutionary Past

    Anti-Clotting Treatment Not Needed in Most Pediatric Spine Surgeries

    Increase in Patients Age 80 and Older Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery

    Young Athletes at Risk for Lower Back Injuries

    Longer daily wear of back braces is best to avoid surgery for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis

    Next 5 Features ...

    More Features ...
       
     
    Related Multimedia

    Yoga for Lower Back Pain with Tara Stiles

    Interview with Dr. Patel: The Reasons for Back Pain and Diagnostic Methods

    3D Medical Animation: Cervical Spine & Disc Anatomy

    More Features ...
     
    Related Content
    Acupuncture Sticks it to Low Back Pain

    “Taking the Waters” Makes for a Relaxed Back

    The Silent Destroyer – Part Three

    Massage Can Help Upper Back Pain Associated with Desk Jobs

    Self-Management Increases Physical, Mental Wellbeing in Lower Back Pain Patients

    More Features ...
     
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    advertisement
    © 2017 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.