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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul

IEEE Int Conf Rehabil Robot


Virtual Reality combined with Robotic facilitated movements for pain management and sensory stimulation of the upper limb following a Brachial Plexus injury: A case study.


Brachial Plexus injuries are complex in nature caused in large by high impact traffic accidents which can lead to additional complications such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and even lead to amputation or the need for further surgical intervention. Treatment options to help repair the brachial plexus initially involve surgical intervention and post-surgery rehabilitation with medication to help with ongoing pain. Pain treatments used for these types of injuries are limited and differ in effectiveness. Paradigms utilising multimodal systems such as the one described in this paper based on virtual reality and robotics could yield results that are non-invasive and provide better rehabilitation outcomes for the sufferers. In this paper we present a single case study exploring whether Virtual Reality plus Haptic feedback have any practical potential for reducing upper limb pain and improving function in patients with brachial plexus injuries. The case study is presented with long standing complex combination of phantom limb and neuropathic pain. A decrease in perceived levels of pain was reported which amounts to a 50% reduction in pain from baseline and an improved range of motion. An examination of the sensory phantom map on the stump seems to indicate an early establishment of the thumb representation on the stump close to the area being stimulated with potential implications for prosthesis use.