Virtual Reality Treatments Can Help Address the Physical and Mental Pain Car Crash Survivors Experience

A normal day can take a tragic turn when a routine drive to work or elsewhere results in a car accident. Surviving the accident with major injuries could mean extensive physical rehabilitation. A path to full recovery may be possible, but a tremendous amount of pain may be experienced during the healing period.  Mercifully, inroads in pain management have led to a very interesting new pain treatment process. Virtual reality technology is one new method being employed to assist recovery. In addition to helping alleviate physical pain, VR pain management might aid in reducing the psychological trauma common to car accident survivors.

Virtual Reality Treatment Sessions

At first glance, virtual reality pain management sessions look no different than a VR video gaming session. The patient wears an audio-visual helmet designed to take him/her to a new place. A session detailed in PC Magazine revealed a VR pain management session that immersed a patient in the imagery of an undersea environment. This resulted in increases in dopamine and serotonin levels, an increase that impacts mood. Potential benefits from this include:

  • Reducing Effects of Anxiety

The serious, lingering trauma of a car accident are sure to create emotional discord in a patient. Post-traumatic stress and other anxiety-oriented conditions are likely to haunt many survivors of major crashes. Per the National Institute of Health, the "emotional affective, emotion-based cognitive" approach associated with virtual reality treatment does more than just distract a patient from pain. The calming effect has the potential to reduce the mental agony associated with physical and mental pain.

  • Maintaining Enthusiasm towards Sessions

Pain management treatment does come with some stress. Patients who see their treatment sessions as chores might try and discontinue treatment far earlier than suggested. The unique and invigorating nature of VR treatment may instill and help maintain positive feelings about pain management treatment sessions. Continuing with pain management sessions increases the chances of living a life with less discomfort - if any. Mental outlook on the situation likely should improve.

  • Putting More Effort into Rehab

Discomfort makes it difficult to perform the rehabilitation exercises necessary to strengthen the body. The inability to restore the body to its proper physical state can lead to depression and despondency. The pain-distracting assistance of VR therapy could lead to better and more productive rehab sessions.

A Comprehensive Approach

VR pain management sessions alone won't be enough to arrive at the best results. Combining the sessions with physical treatments and psychotherapy probably would yield the best outcomes both physically and mentally. For more information, talk to doctors at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine about pain management.