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Free Content Case Report: Pain Neuroscience Education Using Virtual Reality

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This case study describes the delivery of pain neuroscience education (PNE) in conjunction with breathing and mindfulness strategies using virtual reality (VR) for a patient suffering from chronic neck pain. The patient was an 18-year-old high school girl, following a motor vehicle collision 10 months ago. The patient has previously not responded to massage, exercise and therapeutic modalities (ultrasound and electrical stimulation). Baseline assessment revealed pain ratings of 5/10 for neck pain and 6/10 for upper back pain (Numeric Pain Rating Scale - NPRS); a pain catastrophization score of 31 (Pain Catastrophization Scale - PCS), indicating "high" levels of catastrophising and a neck disability score of 21 (Neck Disability Index - NDI) indicating moderate disability. She underwent three sessions of PNE using VR, in combination with breathing and/or mindfulness. Pre- to post-treatment measurements showed reductions in neck and upper back pain, pain catastrophization, and positive shifts in pressure pain thresholds of the lower back. Overall NDI scores improved 29%. This case study indicates that VR-delivered PNE provides comparable results to what might be expected with therapist-delivered PNE and this combined approach warrants further investigation as a means to make PNE more accessible.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • Pain and Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, Bi-annual journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association and special interest group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The journal comprises a range of different articles types from orignial articles to systematic reviews and letters around the topic of pain and rehabilitation. The journal is multidisciplinary in its focus and welcomes submissions from all professionals working in this multidisciplinary field. the abstract of all articles will be freely avilable online. Full text articles are available free online to members of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, and access to individual PDF articles can be purchased by non members.
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