The Addictions Coach: Video Gaming for Pain Management?

 

The Addictions Coach: Video Gaming for Pain Management?

pain

For over two decades now we have been hearing all the research of just how “bad” video games are for our kids. We have been hearing researcher after researcher telling us all the harmful effects that video games are causing in our children. So what if I told you that there is new research that tells us video games may serve a helpful medical purpose in our lives. And, not only could they serve a helpful medical purpose in life, but video games may have the ability to sway the pendulum in the addiction world! That’s right, you heard me correctly, video games may have the ability to give us a better option for pain management than using opiates.

There are new studies showing very positive results where doctors allowed patients to enter into a virtual world of “pain-free bliss” while playing video games during painful medical procedures. Yes, you heard me right!

For example, there was a young 27-year-old chef in Vermont, who had a horrific kitchen spill with grease and was  severely burned on more than half his body. He started out getting his “scrub downs” a few times a day, which is where the medical team literally scrubs the dead skin from your burns to keep new skin from becoming infected and healing properly. This young chef admitted that on a pain scale of 1-10, that his scrubs were a 15. Wow!

Now, this was after taking some of the strongest opioid pain medication. Scott, as we will call him, felt himself becoming dependent on the opioids and after researching these drugs and the potential for opioid addiction, Scott decided to ask for an alternative pain management plan. And boy did he get one. Scott’s doctor had actually been researching the process of virtual reality shutting down the part of your brain that controls PAIN.

This is funny to me because I picture my Mom yelling at us when we were kids playing video games, to “PUT THOSE GAMES DOWN AND GO OUTSIDE”!!  She could have hit us with a paddle, broom or even thrown a chair at us and we would have never felt a thing! Well, in a comical way, this is the very same theory that Scott’s doctor was using.

Scott asked to try the virtual reality pain management and it “worked like charm.”  Scott entered a “snow world” of battling snowmen in a white winter wonderland in a video game supplied by his doctor. Scott actually played this game while having his burns scrubbed. Now, believe it or not, Scott knew he was being scrubbed and knew that this process should hurt but IT DID NOT!

So what was happening with Scott’s brain? Is the brain that powerful that it can shut off brain pain sensors while being stimulated virtually? If this is true and is really happening, this could and would have a HUGE positive impact on opioid addiction.

—written by Owen P.  Recovery Coach, TN

We here at Top Recovery Coaches and Life Coaching for Drug and Alcohol Addiction have reached out to medical teams using Virtual Pain Management and encourage anyone faced with opioid pain management to try the Virtual route first. It could save you from a life long struggle with opioid addiction!

Check out more on virtual pain management here:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr02/burn.aspx