Whether you're a competitive athlete, or you have recently undergone surgery, or you're just an average person hoping to rid yourself of back pain--physical therapy is a fantastic rehabilitation strategy to help heal and ward off injury. The goals of physical therapy focus on remediating injuries and impairments and promote muscular function and mobility. Rather than relying on drug and medication use, physical therapy empowers the patient to be the driver in their own proactive recovery.

Especially with chronic pain that prevents or disrupts movement, physical therapy is a fitting solution. Advocates of physical therapy recommend avoiding invasive surgery and drugs when possible, and instead relying on the body's natural sources of physical rehabilitation through therapy.

Traditionally, physical therapy has function similar to a hyper-focused workout. In this "workout," the goal is to work the muscles and areas specific to the areas that are injured. In doing so, the aim is to strengthen your muscles and joints so that they perform better. Traditional physical therapy has incorporated a variety of stretching, strengthening, aerobic training, and pain-relief exercises.

Recently, with the expansion of medical-related technology, a new type of physical therapy has arisen. For the first time ever, virtual reality is playing a role in the execution of physical therapy. Dr. Lev Kalika of New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy has started a new wave of physical therapy in NYC, helping to pioneer a system of virtual reality-based physical therapy. Recently, the use of virtual reality in physical therapy has become more and more popular. The use of virtual reality in physical therapy has yielded studies with some very encouraging results, demonstrating a clear link between the effectiveness that the duo might be able to provide. For patients recovering from strokes, surgeries, or injuries, virtual reality-augmented rehabilitation has shown hope for recovery.

One of Kalika's solutions, the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment, aims to treat patients with back pain, ortho, neuro, sports med, and walking disorders. The virtual reality techniques are used to manipulate the data and expedite the learning process in the real and virtual environments. Alongside this, the immersive environment works to enable the learning of the movement strategies, while simultaneously helping the patient unlearn the counterproductive older movement strategies. In doing so, and by focusing the patient's attention to the effects of their movements within their external focus, the patient comes closer to recovery.

Computer-based physical therapy systems are bringing a new wave of innovation and hope for patients everywhere. Among other benefits, these new system enable patients to have fun while stretching and strengthening their physical capacities. In many of these new systems, the program operates by projecting patient's current image onto a virtual environment presented on a screen. Then, the patient will perform a given set of exercises, prescribed by the physical therapist, which are aimed to ameliorate their physical issue. With their body working in correspondence with the video, this form of recovery usually omits the usage of weights or other tools. While traditional physical therapy is forced to work within strict physical confinements, a virtual reality-assisted system has the benefit of exploring other locations through the virtual video. In doing so, patients are able to strengthen not only their muscles by also their cognitive abilities.

Recently it has been shown that virtual reality therapy may help patients who have suffered from stroke. Over a series of studies, it was demonstrated that patients who took part in the new procedure experienced in increase in strength.

Whether the patient has had arthiritis, amputation, joint replacement, disc disease, bone injuries, whiplash, or osteaoporosis, virtual reality-based physical therapy can help to optimize and expedite the recovery process.

Published on: Nov 9, 2015