Short-Term Psychological and Hormonal Effects of Virtual Reality Training on Chronic Low Back Pain in Soccer Players

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Objective: To find the short-term psychological and hormonal effects of virtual reality training on chronic low back pain in American soccer players. Design, Setting, Participants: The 3-block random sampling method was used on 54 university American soccer players with chronic low back pain, and they were allocated into 3 groups: virtual reality training (VRT; n = 18), combined physical rehabilitation (n = 18), and control (n = 18) groups at University Hospital. They underwent different balance training exercises for 4 weeks. The participants and the therapist who is assessing the outcomes were blinded. Psychological (pain intensity and kinesiophobia) and hormonal (glucose, insulin, Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance, growth hormone, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol) values were measured at baseline, after 4 weeks, and after 6 months. Results: The baseline demographic, psychological, and hormonal data between the VRT, combined physical rehabilitation, and control groups show no statistical difference (P ≥ .05). Four weeks following training, the VRT group shows more significant changes in pain intensity and kinesiophobia than the combined physical rehabilitation and control groups (P < .001), and the improvement was noted in the 6-month follow-up. All the hormonal variables (glucose, insulin, growth hormone, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol) show significant changes at 4-week training (P < .001), except for the Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (P = .075) between the 3 groups. At 6-month follow-up glucose, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol show more significant difference in the VRT group than the other 2 groups (P < .001). At the same time, insulin (P = .694), Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (P = .272), and growth hormone (P = .145) failed to show significant changes between the groups. Conclusion: Training through virtual reality is an effective treatment program when compared with conventional exercise training programs from a psychological and hormonal analysis perspective in American soccer players with chronic low back pain.

Nambi, Abdelbasset, Alsubaie, and Verma are with the Department of Physical Therapy and Health Rehabilitation, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia. Abdelbasset is also with the Department of Physical Therapy, Kasr Al-Aini Hospital, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt. Saleh is with the College of Medicine, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia; and the Orthopedic Department, Faculty of Medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. Abdelaziz is with the Department of Basic Medical Science, College of Medicine, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia; and the Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. Alkathiry is with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Majmaah University, Majmaah, Saudi Arabia.

Nambi (physio_gopal@rediffmail.com) is corresponding author.
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