Not too long ago, the concept of virtual reality and virtual reality headsets were limited to just integrating it into the gaming industry and the idea of using it for medical purposes seemed like a futuristic dream.
But today, these advanced tools are used in hospitals around the world as a way to visualize. The scope of using virtual reality has no limits, from teaching and training new doctors to helping them examine their diagnoses more closely. In addition, this tool can now be used at home and help people mitigate their pain and improve their overall health.
In this article, we’ll look at what virtual reality headsets mean and how and for what purpose you can use them at home.
What Is Virtual Reality?
First and foremost, you need to know what VR is. The clue is in the name. It’s the experience of a world that doesn’t exist. We aren’t talking about getting lost in a book or daydreaming about something, even though these also include some form of virtual reality.
The virtual reality we’re talking about is one created by computers that allows you to experience and interact with a 3D world that isn’t real by putting on a headset and some form of input tracking.
The headset is usually split between your eyes, creating a stereoscopic 3D effect with stereo sound, and together with the technology and input tracking, it will create an immersive, believable experience, allowing you to explore the virtual world generated by your computer.
VR makes you feel that you are there mentally and physically. You turn your head and the world turns with you so the illusion created by what world you are in is never lost.
You might wonder whether virtual reality devices can be used in a home setting and improve outcomes. Below we look at how they can be used if they are safe and the diagnoses they can be used for.
VR For Physical Therapy
Many people need to receive regular physical therapy and making the trip to various rehabilitation centers might not always be easy, or comfortable. Therapy via a virtual reality headset is, therefore, an excellent solution and fun approach to staying engaged in your rehab program.
There are multiple instances where virtual reality headsets can be used and be a great motivation for patients to participate in physical therapy as they make the experience more enjoyable in one’s own living space.
People who suffer from neurological conditions may have impairments in the arms that make reaching attempts challenging, while impairments in lower extremities might make balance and walking difficult. This is why home use of VR therapy may be an effective and engaging way to improve coordination and balance in the lower extremities during physical therapy.
Different neurological diagnoses such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injuries, are likely to benefit from the use of VR in physical therapy, especially if performed in the comfort of your home.
Dizziness and instability can be caused by many different injuries and diseases of the balance system, which are common especially in older ages, and can significantly impair the individual’s function and quality of life.
Vestibular rehabilitation is movement training usually administered by physiotherapists to stimulate recovery mechanisms, reduce symptoms and improve balance function in patients.
Virtual reality headsets can help and be used at home can create situations to challenge your visual system while you’re in vestibular rehab. Various videos may be projected before your eyes while you’re working on maintaining upright balance which helps strengthen the necessary bonds between your vestibular organs and eye movements.
It’s tough to go through physical therapy and when it comes to children, this is usually done through play. Finding ways to incorporate play activities into rehab at home may be key when trying to achieve proper functional movement. By using VR technology, a child can be kept engaged in rehab while correcting movement impairments.
Cerebral palsy, autism, development coordination disorder are conditions that may benefit from VR use in children. When children have impairments that limit functional mobility, they may find it soothing to use a VR headset as a tool to be encouraged and fully engaged in physical therapy.
Home-based therapy via a virtual reality headset may be relatively new but its use and effectiveness can be praised as patients have found this approach extremely comforting and motivating.
Everyone is well aware that going through therapy can be tough and requires time, resources, and plenty of patience. Being at home and using a virtual reality headset can be a novel way to stay more engaged and positive about achieving therapy goals and improving mobility.