The Effect of Virtual Reality on Motivation and Muscle Contraction During Shoulder Flexion

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Jenna Calvelage Anthony Miller Susan Kotowski


By Jenna Calvelage, Health Sciences; Anthony Miller, Health Sciences

Advisor: Susan Kotowski

Presentation ID: PM_B31

Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) has been previously used in a variety of rehabilitation settings, but mainly focusing on post-stroke patients and ways to get them back to their activities of daily living. VR could be the door into opening a new world of experiences for patients of any illness or condition, including, but not limited to, stroke. Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most common types of injuries seen in the therapy world and VR could possibly be used to increase the effectiveness of the therapy through greater patient engagement and therefore decrease the patient's recovery time. Using subjects at least 18 years of age, this project incorporated two different virtual reality scenarios (swatting at a fly on a wall and hitting a volleyball overhead) as an enhancement to a traditional repetitious overhead shoulder flexion exercise performed facing a wall. Subjects completed three different trials: the baseline shoulder flexion exercise against a plain wall, and the two additional trials where pre-recorded videos were viewed through VR goggles. Muscle activity in the shoulder region was measured using surface EMG sensors, while level of task engagement and motivation to complete the tasks was also assessed during each trial. Expected results are that subjects will be more engaged and motivated to perform the prescribed therapeutic exercises when utilizing virtual reality. It is also anticipated that the use of muscles in the area will be increased as compared to the average therapy session.

Article Details

PM Poster Session -- Great Hall -- B: Health & Body