Josie Arant

The Effects of Virtual Reality delivery of Pain Neuroscience Education on Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain in Physical Therapy

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) cases are on the rise in the United States, with results leaving substantial physical and psychological effects on patients.1-2 Chronic low back pain is defined as pain in the low back that lasts more than twelve weeks consecutively continuing past usual healing time.3 CLBP causes are not clear, and there is a lack of efficacious treatment. Pain neuroscience education (PNE) provides a modern approach to treatment of CLBP and may help patients reconceptualize their pain experience while educating them on physiological and psychological processes.4 PNE decreases the extent of factors that follow chronic pain, such as self reported pain scales, characteristics of fear avoidance, and pain catastrophizing.4 This study focuses on the efficacy of PNE delivered through virtual reality (VR) on outcomes in CLBP patients. Two groups were utilized in this study, an intervention group that received traditional Physical Therapy (PT) and VR and a control group that received traditional PT. Statistical analyses were utilized to determine the efficacy of VR PNE on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the Neurophysiology of Pain Questionnaire (NPQ). There were no significant differences between treatment and control groups for the ODI and NPQ. Participants who received PT+VR did perform better on the NPQ, whereas the control group declined. For the ODI results, both group’s perceived disability improved but greater improvement was noted with the intervention group. However, these changes were not statistically significant. Further research is needed to investigate the efficacy of virtual reality PNE delivery on CLBP therapeutic outcomes.

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