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Back Pain? Pick Up That Controller...

Study Supports Use of Video Game Exercise for Older Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain

Researchers from the University of Sydney report encouraging results from the introduction of video games as therapy for chronic lower back pain. The authors write that their findings provide additional support for the use of video games as a treatment modality for back pain, which have previously been shown to be beneficial in musculoskeletal rehabilitation. In a randomized controlled trial, the study team instructed 30 patients aged 55 and above who suffered from chronic lower back pain in the use of the Wii Fit U exercise program. A control group of 30 more subjects continued their usual activities. The exercise routine was 1-hour duration, 3 times per week. The study was reported last month in the journal Physical Therapy.

At 6 months after initiation of exercise, participants in the exercise cohort reported significantly higher pain self-efficacy than members of the control group. Additionally, the exercise group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in pain and function and were more likely to continue to participate in flexibility exercises in comparison to the control group. Although adherence to home-based exercise routines is usually low, the researchers noted a 70.8% adherence rate to the Wii Fit U exercises which, the authors write, may be due to the inherently interactive nature of the video game medium, in which instruction and performance feedback are provided.

Read about the study. 

The journal abstract may be read here.

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