Melbourne: Australian scientists are developing an interactive and pain-distracting way to treat neck pain by allowing patients to fly a digitised plane with the help of virtual-reality goggles.
University of Queensland (UQ) Whiplash Research Unit manager Julia Treleaven said the trial of physiotherapist Hilla Bahat's device for assessing and treating neck movement control was both novel and exciting.
"Training is in the form of three games designed to improve aspects of neck movement," Treleaven said.
The patient's head controls the pilot of a small red plane that has to fly into floating targets. It is fun, interactive, motivating, pain-distracting and functional.
People with neck pain tend to experience decreased smoothness, accuracy and speed of movement, affecting both pain levels and functionality.
The virtual reality goggles assess and treat neck movement control.
The UQ Whiplash Research Unit is now calling for volunteers aged 18 to 65 who have experienced neck pain or disability for two successive months to trial the device.
According to an official statement, volunteers can take the device home to work on improving neck movement in private and in their own time.
They can increase difficulty levels by standing with feet together, on a non-stable surface, or with one leg in front of the other.