Spine patients manage pain with virtual reality at North Carolina practice — 5 things to know

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

An outpatient physical therapy practice in North Carolina is helping spine surgery patients manage postoperative pain with a combination of virtual reality technology and physical therapy, local outlet WFMZ 69 News reports.

Five things to know:

1. BreakThrough Physical Therapy uses the combined treatment to cut down on postoperative opioid use, according to CEO and founder Jeff Hathaway.

"This is a game-changer," Mr. Hathaway told WFMZ. "We can see a complete elimination, or at least a reduction."

2. Patients are asked to rate their pain levels, concentrate on mindful meditation and undergo VR sessions before and after surgery.

3. Four months after undergoing a five-hour surgery to remove a benign tumor on her spinal cord, patient Mia Hrabec has used only three of the oxycodones she was prescribed, which she attributes to BreakThrough's pain management regimen.

4. BreakThrough found that the strategy lowered costs by 45 percent among post-surgical patients in the program for one year.

5. Insurance covers the VR sessions as part of physical therapy programs, but each session costs $90 without insurance.

More articles on orthopedics and spine:
Zimmer Biomet in 2019: 6 things to know
How Stryker plans to grow Mako — 4 insights from chief technology officer Robert Cohen
Medtronic Spine 2019: The year in review

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