I still remember the dread of taking my son to the dentist for his first filling, my mind full of flashbacks to the torment of my own childhood dental visits.
Imagine my surprise, when I was called back to pick him up only to find him sitting smiling in the dentist’s chair.
“Oh, he played video games the whole time” was the explanation I got for his calmness.
Well, now there is medical research that confirms what my son’s pediatric dentist knew >10 years ago, that playing video games can be more analgesic that taking pain medications.
Controlled experiments have consistently shown subjects who are distracted in a virtual reality world, such as a three-dimensional skiing adventure computer game, report less pain than their counterparts using drug-based pain therapy.
Burn doctors in Seattle have use a specially designed virtual reality video game, SnowWorld, where patients concentrate on throwing snowballs at penguins and mastodons to the music of Paul Simon, instead of focusing on the painful wound care happening at the same time.
Click here to watch a video news clip about how this project was used to help a young war veteran’s endure burn treatments.
The Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has a new pain care program that utilizes specially designed video games with motion to help distract the kids from their pain and target their bodies the same way a physical therapy session would. Doctors and physical therapists can monitor how the kids are doing and adjust their treatment program accordingly in real-time.
Find out more here.