What if someone tells you that playing video games can take away pain from you? Would you like to pick up the controller?
This is is a 21st-century question which the researchers at the University of Sydney asked. In their new study published in a journal named Physical Therapy, there are answers.
This study is indeed first of its kind. The researchers introduced the Nintendo’s Wii Fit U in some people. These people were unlikely to play video games on their own.
The participants of the study were adults of 55 years or more. All of the participants suffered from back pain. The researchers asked the participants to use the Wii Fit U program for at least 60 minutes. This practice was essential to repeat at least 3 times a week.
It is important to note here that scientists have previously used video games for musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
This research, on the other hand, shows the preliminary evidence that video games cure lower back pain.
Rising Cases of Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most debilitating musculoskeletal conditions in the world. More than 80 percent of the U.S. citizens tend to experience it in their lives.
Moreover, the management of this pain is extremely costly. In the United States alone, the costs related to it is more than $100 billion per year.
DPT, PT, and Keaton Ray attribute to the condition and costs to a sedentary society.
What’s worse, the incidence of lower back pain tends to increase as you age.
Physical therapists are of the viewpoint that aging causes the discs between your joints to shrink. As this happens, the disc winds up and puts pressure on other structures. This eventually leads to pain within your joints.
This pain can affect your daily activities and can inhibit the capacity to sleep and walk. It can even lead to psychological distress and malnutrition.
The incidence of chronic lower back pain is the highest among older adults. Yet, researchers do not normally include them in controlled trials on lower back pain.
Experts today believe that it is quite important to study the needs of these people.
Older adults require a lot more attention and focus. This is because they have other complications making their back pain even worse.
What did the Study Find?
Six months into the study, the participants using Wii Fit U reported higher pain self-efficacy. However, this pain efficacy was not reported immediately or up to three months of the study.
Moreover, the Wii Fit U users also experienced great improvements in function and pain. They had a greater tendency to continue flexibility exercises at least once a week. This tendency remained the same, even after six months of study.
Older adults tend to utilize at-home therapies for anything requiring them to travel, etc. Research has, however, depicted that adherence rates to home exercises were low.
The adherence in the current study was 70.8 which is extremely high. This is particularly comparable to studies where the participants exercise under no supervision.
This might be due to the medium that provided instruction. Video games tend to inherently require interaction. They also provide on-screen instructions as well as performance feedback. Therefore, people were able to choose them more often for exercises.
Experts consider this research as encouraging.
Anything that can keep people active and moving is a successful way to manage pain.
However, the researchers noticed that the Wii Fit U exercises are quite general. Recent research in the field of physical therapy for low back pain, however, requires it to be specific. Such exercises must be based on specific evaluations.
Other Ways to Treat Back Pain
There are different ways to treat low back pain at home. These do not require costly game systems or individualized treatment plans.
It is important for you to keep moving no matter how small it is. It is important to get up every 30 minutes, even it is for 5 seconds only.
The more you move your body despite the pain, the healthier you will be. This will also make the pain resolve more quickly.
Watch Your Posture
Even if you hold the perfect posture for hours, you would body would end up being painful. This is because your body is not designed to maintain a perfect posture for a long time.
However, this does not mean that you can adopt whatever posture you like. Bad postures can damage your body in the long run and it is important to avoid it.
Select the Right Chair
Experts recommend choosing furniture which supports the curves of your lower spine.
Firmer chairs with a good height are better because they do not let your body sink down. Experts also suggest moving the kitchen chair into the living room to watch TV. While this may not be as comfortable as a couch, it encourages you to adopt a better posture. This will help minimize the pain.
Experts caution that most of the exercises require supervision. However, one movement is allowed. Suck your belly button in your spine just like you are putting on pants that don’t fit. This will help stimulate your core muscles.
It is very important to breathe during this exercise. Otherwise, it may raise your blood pressure.
Use Topical Creams in a Proper Way
Topical creams are for mitigating the pain and allowing you to move. You must only use these methods in conjunction with regular movement.
One Last Word
The final words of advice of experts for those suffering from lower back pain are the same. The sooner you move, the more active you become in any way. This is going to make you feel a lot better.
The more sedentary you are, the more you will avoid these movements. This will make you linger to them for long.
The sooner you pay attention to this aspect, the better.