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Virtual Reality as a Tool for Rehabilitation

70% of pain sufferers are given opioids and stroke survivors need to do 3 hours of monotonous exercise per day.

When thinking about traditional rehabilitation, what does it come to mind? It’s boring, repetitive by nature, and these repetitions reduce patients’ motivation over time. Additionally, it requires (at least!) one therapist to work 1:1 with the patient, increasing the need for resources and therefore, the costs for the healthcare system. Moreover, it doesn’t provide objective data and the ability to monitor the portion of therapy patients complete at home.

VR-based therapy can provide a positive learning experience, and be engaging and motivating.

A study conducted by Stroke Outcome Research Canada stated that there was a 14.7% improvement in motor impairment and a 20.1% improvement in motor function after VR therapy.

Virtual reality can be used for different purposes in exercise therapy, including pain management, improved functional ability, increased range of motion, promoting muscular strength, increased motivation, and so on.

VR games are well suited for rehabilitation because they engage users, games can contain intelligent systems to adapt to the user’s progress, rehabilitation games can be used at the patient’s home.

Ideally, rehabilitation should be targeted to the individual needs of patients. Therefore, adapting to the patient capability and status is important within rehabilitation VR. Games that serve this purpose can adapt to the player's pathology and rehabilitation aims. The ability to dynamically adjust the difficulty of the simulation is a key benefit since in addition to offering a tailored solution that suits the patient's individual needs and also decreases the dependence on human therapists to monitor and provide similar solutions.

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