This week we are not going to discuss any obscured diagnosis or pain which plagues humanity, but rather we are going to discuss a rather unique rehabilitation technique which has wide spread application across the rehabilitation spectrum.
The technique is the use of video games for rehabilitation. Video games with movement capturing ability are extremely effective for rehabilitation of patients requiring balance, eye hand coordination, eye foot coordination and endurance. They can be applied in the elderly for balance and strength and even throw in a bit of fun for the rehabilitation client.
I know that there are much newer games, however, the one that I am most familiar with is the “wii” video game console. The “wii” has fun activities which employ balance and endurance including golf, baseball, tennis, and many many other sport related activities which require the user to move through the process of playing the game. This movement challenges balance and coordination, eye hand and eye/hand/foot coordination as well as challenges endurance, all of which can be beneficial to the user.
Many aging patients who once enjoyed golf can step onto a golf course and play once again even when limited to the confines of a skilled nursing facility thanks to modern technology. The golf game certainly employs eye hand coordination as well as balance and timing and requires a “touch” to be applied to send the ball further or less far depending on the shot desired. This is the exact reason that golf is fun in the first place….is that it is very challenging and this challenge can be applied in the elder population for example to prevent falls. What could be better than playing golf as a rehabilitation tool to prevent falls?
Rehabilitation using high tech games is not new, however, the games themselves have become more and more technical and more and more realistic over time which makes the challenge even more technical for player.
As you can see, neuromuscular re-education, balance, endurance and strength and overall coordination can be enhanced through the application of video games to the rehabilitation patient and should be incorporated whenever possible to enhance the quality and the fun factor in rehabilitative exercises. For more information on video games as a rehabilitative tool, do not hesitate the clinic.