Gamification of Cervical Spine Physiotherapy by Virtual Reality Software: Is This Real Rehabilitation?

Lilach Gavish*, Omer Weissberger, Yair Barzilay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Physical rehabilitation by virtual reality (VR) gamification is gaining acceptance. This study was designed to verify whether neck movements invoked by a fully immersive VR game environment may be physiotherapist-prescribed rehabilitation exercise. Methods: This was a single-visit prospective clinical trial (NCT03104647). Healthy participants put on VR headsets and entered a fully immersive game environment (VRPhysio, XRHealth, Tel Aviv, Israel) that prompted neck movement (flexion, extension, rotation, lateral bend, and combinations repeated twice in random order) accompanied by feedback encouraging correct performance. Four board-certified physiotherapists independently viewed videotapes recorded during the session, identified movements, and determined whether they were recommended as neck rehabilitation exercises. Results: Twenty (n = 20) participants (male–female ratio = 13:7; age = 38 – 14 years old) completed the training session (16 movements per participant). All movements were identified correctly and determined to be appropriate for neck rehabilitation. No adverse events were reported. Conclusions: The VRPhysio software invoked movements identified by board-certified physiotherapists as appropriate for neck rehabilitation. The potential advantage of home-based VR gamification of cervical spine rehabilitation programs over common practice in motivating patient adherence warrants evaluation by randomized controlled trials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)468-471
Number of pages4
JournalGames for health journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Cervical pain
  • Gamification
  • Neck injuries
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Virtual reality


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