Increasing in popularity and despite initial prototypes invented largely to provide a source of entertainment, virtual reality (VR) is now being harnessed to aid rehabilitation therapy.

VR simulation allows 3D construction of environments which immerses the user into the reactive scenario seen through an eye mask, computer screen or projected environment.

Virtual reality and rehabilitation

Research into Neurorehabilitation from the University of Birmingham has established a new wave of inpatient therapy using VR. The VR rehabilitation treatment can be used to aid the recovery process for minor and major injuries, even for those who are unable to move from their hospital bed.

“The research we do will help to develop more successful training and rehabilitation methods for disorders of movement and balance, thus improving quality of life more quickly,” commented Dr Michael Grey, senior lecturer in Neurorehabilitation at the University of Birmingham.

VR has even progressed to allow doctors to control and effectively manage rehabilitation of the most severe brain, spine and head injuries in a safe and comfortable environment, while simultaneously recording patient data to aid further research into VR rehabilitation treatments.

The Human Interface Technologies team at the University of Birmingham has been conducting tests from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital testing the effect of VR on patients rehab progress.

One of their success stories incorporates virtual cycling from the patient’s bed to boost recovery opportunities and ease the potential plateau of physical and mental recovery.

“This type of innovative virtual reality rehabilitation research offers hope to those who have been a victim of serious injuries, which often have longer and more challenging periods of recovery,” says David Stothard, managing director of MAPS Medical Reporting.

“Virtual reality and rehabilitation will ensure patients are given the most technologically-advanced opportunities to recover when it comes to a crucial part of the overall healing process after a serious injury.

“MAPS is fully conversant with the Rehabilitation Code and has specialist access to UK-wide treatments and a variety of expert rehabilitation services. Accessing the most advanced services available enables injury victims to achieve the best outcome possible for their recovery and through the legal claims process.”

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