Video games: your next prescription?

By: Games Archeologists

For: Gamers Pantheon


This article is going to be a bit personal but hopefully you can relate.  I have struggled with chronic pain for a little over six years after an accident at work left me injured and in severe chronic pain. Now six years and multiple surgeries latter including stem cell injections taken from my own bone marrow and including an implanted device to give me a little better quality of life.  It may come as a surprise to some that I consider video games to be a critical part of my treatment. Video games you may say, yes video games and I’m not alone in using this great hobby as a tool.  The Children’s National Medical Center in Washington  D.C. uses video games and even motion based video games such as the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect to ease the pain of suffering of children.

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Child smiles and temporarily forgets his troubles and his mind leaves the pain behind even but for a few brief moments

The Children’s National Hospital are not alone in this practice M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the world renowned Houston, Tx medical center employees much the same technique.  Scientists believe the joy you receive playing video games releases certain chemicals in the brain that help fight pain.  

There are many fronts and great organizations trying to help use video games as a tool.  One example of this was a game called Snow World which was a virtual reality based game that has helped burn victims at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood,
chronic-pain-management-video-games-in-hospitals Illinois one of a handful across the nation using this cutting edge technology to ease the suffering of these burn victims who endure terrible pain in their course of treatment. Doctors say it works by immersing the patient in a frozen winters wonderland with its immersive and  interactive and multisensory  features put patients in a deep freeze of relaxation and distraction from incoming pain signals.  These use of virtual reality and traditional videos games is very promising.

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Speaking from my own personal experience when my pain is at its highest if I play a game that requires my full attention it gives me a window where even for a few minutes the pain takes a back seat. Maybe you may say it’s just tricking your mind if that may be myself and many others who suffer from pain be it chronic or acute will gladly seek relief in our favorite pastime and the medicine that’s easiest to swallow….. video games.

Thank you for reading this article if you, or someone you know is struggling with chronic pain, let them know there are many great groups and resources available to them.

American Chronic Pain Association

Cancer Pain Support

Pediatric Pain Support

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