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Study: Certain video games can reduce chronic back pain by up to 30 percent

Study: Certain video games can reduce chronic back pain by up to 30 percent


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How do video games affect back pain?

Back pain is a common problem that affects many people around the world. Researchers have now found that certain video games can reduce chronic back pain by up to 30 percent.

In their latest research, scientists from the University of Sydney in Australia found that video games like Wii Fit can help reduce chronic back pain. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Physical Therapy".

Video game improved physical function and relieved pain

The experts examined the effects of physical video game exercises on people with back pain and found significant pain relief. The participants received a Nintendo Wii-Fit-U and were asked to do aerobic exercises three times a week for one hour. The results showed a 23 percent increase in physical function. A total of 60 participants aged 55 and over took part in the study. The average age of the participants was 67 years.

Are video games a good option for the elderly?

The study showed that playing video games at home is an effective treatment, explains study author Dr. Joshua Zadro of the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney in the English-language magazine "Daily Mail". Practicing such video games is a good option for older people who suffer from chronic back pain, since the participants have experienced a 27 percent pain reduction, the doctor adds.

Back pain in the lumbar region reduces functionality

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of self-directed exercises at home to solve back pain. Back pain is the most disabling and costly musculoskeletal disorder worldwide and is most common among older people. Back pain in the lumbar region (LBP) increases with age and can have a significant impact on physical functioning.

Which exercises did subjects have to complete?

Participants practiced flexibility, strengthening, and aerobics exercises at home three times a week for 60 minutes without the supervision of therapists. The effect of the eight-week video game program was comparable to training programs that were carried out under the supervision of a physiotherapist, explains Dr. Zadro. Structured training programs are recommended for the management of chronic low back pain in the lumbar region, but so far there have been poorer results in unattended home exercises.

Subjects participated in 85 percent of video game exercises

The current study, however, had a high success rate with video game exercises, with participants taking an average of 85 percent of the recommended sessions. The video game exercises were interactive and included video and audio instructions, provided feedback on a patient's technique, and rated their performance. The researchers say these traits are extremely motivating and likely explain why adherence to this program was much higher than doing homework in other studies.

Doctors see great potential in the exercises

These exercise programs could be a unique solution to increase the motivation of older people to manage their chronic low back pain in the lumbar region through exercise at home, says Dr. This home program has great potential because monitored physiotherapy visits can be costly and people living in remote or rural areas have difficulty accessing such services. This underlines the need for inexpensive and accessible treatments.

Exercises at home reduce health care costs

Given the huge global cost of chronic back pain, increasing an individual's ability to cope with their pain while reducing the need for therapist supervision should be a top priority, adds Professor Paulo Ferreira of the University's Faculty of Health Sciences of Sydney. Video game exercises at home could be a solution to this problem because they reduce dependency on the healthcare system and prevent high costs.

Exercises with video games can help older people effectively

Video game consoles are not very expensive and patients do not have to go to a clinic for treatment. This study highlights the potential cost-effectiveness of the new approach to back pain management, particularly as this type of treatment can be widely used for people in remote communities with limited access to treatment providers. Dr. Zadro added that this study shows a promising new direction in the treatment of older people with back pain. The study was conducted without financial support from Nintendo. (as)

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