Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Walton, David M.

Abstract

Neck pain is a major global public health concern and adds a significant financial burden to both the healthcare system as well as people suffering from it. Additionally, it presents measurement and evaluation challenges for clinicians as well as adherence challenges and treatment barriers for the patients. We have developed a virtual reality (VR)-based video game that can be used to capture outcomes that may aid in the assessment and treatment of neck pain. We investigated: (i) performance metrics of overall accuracy, accuracy based on movement difficulty, duration, and total envelope of movement; (ii) stability across sessions; (iii) accuracy across difficulty levels; (iv) association between gaming experience and performance; and (v) any adverse effects resulting from VR immersion in healthy people (N = 52). Results demonstrate poor stability across sessions, significantly higher accuracy in single-plane movements, no effect of prior gaming experience on performance, and no severe adverse effects of VR immersion. Results suggest that duration and single-plane accuracy demonstrate the potential for identifying people with neck pain or impaired mobility. Lack of association between prior gaming experiences coupled with no severe adverse symptoms suggests that VR may be a feasible tool to be used for neck rehabilitation.

Summary for Lay Audience

Neck pain is a major global public health concern and adds a significant financial burden to both the healthcare system as well as people suffering from it. Additionally, it presents measurement and evaluation challenges for clinicians as well as adherence challenges and treatment barriers for the patients. We have developed a virtual reality (VR)-based video game that can be used to capture outcomes that may aid in the assessment and treatment of neck pain. As it is indeed novel, safety and prudence dictated that we needed to first study the experience and performance of the new rehabilitation gaming platform in otherwise healthy people before implementing it in those with compromised necks who may be more vulnerable to symptom worsening or other adverse effects. Understanding ‘normal’ performance will also be critical for identifying ‘abnormal’ performance when we get to that point.

We investigated: (i) performance metrics of overall accuracy, accuracy based on movement difficulty, duration, and total envelope of movement; (ii) stability across sessions; (iii) accuracy across difficulty levels; (iv) association between gaming experience and performance; and (v) any adverse effects resulting from VR immersion in healthy people (N = 52). Results demonstrate poor consistency across sessions, better accuracy in single-plane movements, no effect of prior gaming experience on performance, and no severe adverse effects of VR immersion. These results suggest that duration and single-plane accuracy demonstrate the potential for identifying people with neck pain or impaired mobility. Lack of association between prior gaming experiences coupled with no severe adverse symptoms suggests that VR may be a feasible tool to be used for neck rehabilitation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, September 01, 2021

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