Technology constitutes a relevant contribution also in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. Virtual reality offers interesting therapeutic possibilities in the clinical environment offering advantages to patients for the recovery of lost abilities and even to acquire new skills and abilities.
Advantages of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality allows providing a flexible environment adapting to the needs of the patient. Motivate and seek adherence in therapy thanks to features such as play and progress through levels. And, what is surprising is that, if the device allows it, you may even feel the touch. The use of this technology allows collecting objective data from the patient about his virtual evolution, a fact that allows knowing the progress in therapy. This type of virtual therapy is especially useful for patients with conditions, that have a neurological origin and that may affect some motor function.
Virtual reality, a complement for the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury
The Biomechanics and Technical Aids Unit of the National Hospital for Paraplegics, dependent on the Castilla-La Mancha Health Service, is developing specific games for the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury. Through the use of dynamic techniques and functions in non-recreational activities, therapy is facilitated by being a more striking system that motivates the patient, so it is a good complement to conventional therapy. This breaks the routine of activities carried out with the therapist. And it brings, we insist, motivation and wealth in the treatment.
These games are based on motion control called Leap Motion, which seeks interaction in virtual environments through hand movements to recover the loss of mobility. They are being tested in people affected by spinal cord injury. “Any patient with neurological pathology can do it, whether affected by stroke, multiple sclerosis or ALS,” explains Vicente Lozano, an occupational therapist at the Biomechanics and Technical Aids Unit of the National Hospital for Paraplegics who participates in the project.
Another positive factor is that you can opt for “telerehabilitation”, so the patient can perform the same exercises from home, without having to go to the hospital, and with the telematic supervision of the therapist. This seeks to offer a plus to rehabilitation, motivate the patient and facilitate their evolution. We will continue to pay attention to all these techniques.
Virtual reality is a relatively recent technology whose use is potentially proving very promising in interventions for people with neurological disabilities. In physiotherapy courses as well as in occupational therapy and training in the use of aids, experiences of introducing virtual reality are multiplied, as evidenced by a rich scientific production on this topic. The high degree of motivation and involvement obtainable through these technologies is amply attested by the literature.