Video game exercises help reduce back pain in trial


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Findings from a small trial suggest that home-based video-game exercises could reduce chronic low back pain (LBP) in older people. 

The first-of-its-kind study investigated the effectiveness of self-managed home-based video game exercises in individuals aged over 55 with chronic LBP using a Nintendo Wii-Fit-U. A total of 60 participants were randomised to eight weeks of home-based flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercises for 60 minutes three times per week or to continue their usual activities. 

Participants in the intervention group reported significantly higher Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (PSEQ) scores at six months compared to the control group (β=5.17; 95% CI 0.52-9.82; P=.03). Participants completing Wii-Fit-U exercises also demonstrated significantly greater improvements in pain (β=-1.07; 95% CI -2.11 to -0.03; P=.04) and function (β=1.21; 95% CI 0.10-2.33; P=.03) immediately post-intervention compared to the control group.

However, the authors said the clinical importance of these changes is questionable.

The intervention was not effective at improving care-seeking, physical activity, disability, fear of movement/re-injury or falls-efficacy. 

None the less, senior author, Dr Joshua Zadro from the University of Sydney School of Public Health in Australia said the study shows “a promising new direction” in the treatment of older people suffering LBP. 

The findings are published in Physical Therapy