Feasibility of a virtual mirror visual feedback intervention for Veterans with chroniclowback pain


The objective of this project is to develop a protocol, assess feasibility and collect pilot data for a larger grant to test the efficacy/effectiveness of a virtual reality/visual feedback intervention for Veterans with chronic back pain. Maladaptive movements and fear of movement (kinesiophobia) are both well-established causes and consequences of chronic back pain. Emerging research suggests that visual feedback and awareness of one’s own body, as provided through mirror therapy, can modulate pain perceptions. The addition of virtual reality assisted video feedback could further promote appropriate movement and reduce fear of movement and perceptions of movement-related pain. This type of approach may be especially important for areas of the body, such as the back, that are not easily viewable.
For this pilot study, we propose to recruit up to 15 Veterans who have been referred for physical therapy at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center for treatment of chronic low back pain.
As the objective of this study is primarily to assess feasibility and acceptability of the virtual mirror therapy our analysis will be generally descriptive in nature and focus on determining:
1) How well Veteran’s with chronic low back pain tolerate the use of virtual reality gear and the virtual mirror therapy.
2) Whether the virtual mirror system provides unimpeded 180 degrees view of lumbar spine motion.
3) The potential effect on pain levels, trunk motion, pain-related disability and interference as well as pain-related fear of movement.

Status: Ongoing
Funding: VA Center for Clinical Management Research
Category: Research