VR Therapy Application in Chronic Conditions

As a result of the constant evolution of technology, it is no secret that we are living in a digitalized world. New devices are emerging on the market every day, bringing lots of benefits to numerous fields.

Out of the many, the healthcare industry seems to have benefited the most from the revolution of technology. Physicians have now access to better equipment which helps them provide their patients with comprehensive care and treatments that increase their quality of life.

An innovation that has been used a lot lately in the healthcare sector is virtual therapy.

Although VR has a multitude of applications in this industry, the most popular one so far is using VR therapy for chronic conditions. People who suffer from chronic pain or anxiety can rely on immersive techniques to treat their conditions and improve their lifestyle even from the comfort of their homes.

Here are four chronic conditions that can be treated using VR therapy.

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Chronic pain

Pain is probably the most dreadful symptom anyone can suffer from. Whether it is low back pain or something even more complex such as nerve damage, virtual reality therapy may be worth looking into to ease down the symptoms.

The therapy works by capturing the mind’s attention and blocking any pain signals from reaching the brain. Patients wear a specialized VR headset that places them in an immersive, three-dimensional world that distracts their brain from thinking of the pain they are suffering from.

The aim is to convince the brain to think about other stuff which can be effectively done by overloading it with vision and sound from the VR environment.

Brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force, and the outcomes of such heavy blows to the head can lead to various physical and sensory symptoms as well cognitive, behavioral, and mental consequences on the individual such as memory and concentration issues, disorientation and mood swings.

One effective way of dealing with these issues is to turn to VR therapy. The virtual environment that patients are placed in through the specialized VR headset positively increases people’s cognitive and behavioral skills. This means that things like their memory, attention, behavior, and mood will be instantly improved after suffering a severe brain injury.

Psychiatric disorders

Unfortunately, psychiatric disorders are very common in people of all ages and they easily interfere with the ability to do day-to-day tasks. Whether it is anxiety, phobias, or PTSD, suffering from any type of psychiatric disorder can have major consequences on the overall well-being of any individual.

One way of dealing with such conditions is to try VR therapy. When people are placed in a virtual world, they are exposed to the things that are making them feel anxious or afraid, thus teaching them that the threats they are worried about are really not dangerous.

In fact, the aim is to train individuals to regain their sense of control and develop better-coping skills.

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Addiction is a complex condition that typically has harmful consequences on an individual with a lack of self-control and an increased desire for a particular substance or behavior being the most prominent ones. Although patients rely on medication and various therapeutic sessions to fight addiction, VR therapy has also proven to be effective in doing so.

When treating addiction using virtual reality, the individual is exposed to a stimulus in a safe and controlled environment so they can learn to control their reaction to it. Depending on the addiction the patient is fighting, the environment can be customized based on their needs so they can practice dealing with increasingly difficult challenges and cravings. 

Final thoughts

After making its debut in the video gaming industry, virtual reality is slowly becoming a huge part of the healthcare sector as well. With its improved hardware and software systems, it can place individuals in an immersive environment where they can face their fears and take their minds off of things that are interfering with their life. Whether it is chronic pain, mental illness or addiction, VR therapy can be of great assistance in treating various health issues.

For more information on this matter, keep our post nearby and learn about the use of VR therapy for chronic conditions.

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