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VR to combat fatigue and general aches/pains

Zenbane
Level 16

Two days ago I received the first of the Moderna vaccination shots. I ended up suffering the more commonly reported side effects of: Arm pain, fatigue.

 

The arm pain was fairly straight forward. It was so bad that I pretty much couldn't use my arm for much of anything. Even lifting my arm to put on deodorant proved a daunting task! 

 

However, the fatigue is what was causing me the most disruption in my daily life. Trying to work and parent was rather grueling. My head was very cloudy and I had zero energy; causing me to have difficulties with physical activities and even the mental fortitude to engage in critical thinking. I was too tired to walk, too tired to eat, and too tired to think.

 

I would get a few bursts of energy throughout the day (kind of like that "second wind" feeling), but it would dissipate within 30-45 minutes. And the bursts only happened like 2-3 times per day.

 

Today, the cloudiness remains (albeit to a lesser degree) and the arm soreness has eased a bit. I still can't lift my arm above my head without feeling sharp pain, but at least it can move. Yet the fatigue was really hitting me hard a few short hours ago. I couldn't keep my eyes open no matter what. Both vanilla gaming and watching a TV Show or Film was pretty much acting as a lullaby, putting me to sleep within minutes. And trying to walk around to stay awake was difficult due to a complete lack of energy to keep my muscles activated.

 

Thus I decided to try an experiment...

 

I put my Quest 2 headset on and jumped in to VR. I purchased a new game, Swarm. Which is very similar to Windlands and the Spiderman experiences, mixed with arcade-style shooters like: Space Pirate Trainer, VR Invaders, and Serious Sam.

https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/3957610014306627/

 

I went through about an hour and my fatigue was completely eliminated. On top of which, I felt zero arm pain as I was throwing my hands/arms around like crazy; well above my head many times over.

 

After a solid hour, I paused to make this post. And of course, now that I'm out of VR, both my fatigue and arm pain have returned.

 

I find it very fascinating that VR's immersive factor can help the brain refrain from processing those fatigue and pain messages. So I figured I'd post my experience for anyone who encounters something similar. If you're ever tired or having muscle soreness (not counting serious injury), and you want to battle through it... then give VR a try. You can push through for 2 or more hours without feeling (or drastically reducing) the fatigue and aches/pains that impact you outside of VR. 

 

Also, if you are looking for a new game to challenge your ability to Spiderman-launch your way around a map while dual-wielding pew pew's to eliminate enemies coming at you ala Galaga-esque style... the Swarm may be right up your alley. Cheers!

18 REPLIES 18

Pixie40
Level 9

Other then being out of breath, it can be difficult sometimes in VR to recognize when your body has hit it's limit. It's why I've ended up stuck in bed because I hurt too much to move the next day on occasion. I finish my workout in Beat Saber, pull over a chair (using passthrough to see what I'm doing), then launch a web browser or load up Pluto TV for a bit while I cool off. Only to find myself jumping into Creed or Orbus VR for an hour or two. Neither of which are particularly easy on you, if you are as out of shape as I am. Or I'll go back into Beat Saber for another half hour to two hours of dancing with light sabers, even though 15 minutes or so really is my limit. And I don't realize I pushed things too far until I sign out and the ache hits me. Then the next morning I can't move.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

snowdog
Level 16

Yup, there was a video online where someone brought in a VR headset (might have been a Gear VR headset, can't remember now) and one of the kids said that their pain went from an 8 or 9 to a 3 or 4 whilst using it.

 

The side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are why we don't give them to the most vulnerable, we give them the Oxford jab over here.

"This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever

Pixie40
Level 9

Part of it might be that you become so distracted that you don't focus on the pain as much. It's still there, but you just aren't noticing it because something else has so much of your attention. After getting the first shot I didn't enter VR for a few days because my arm hurt too much to move it vigorously in Beat Saber. Didn't even occur to me that while in VR I might not notice the pain.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

I would imagine that "severity" plays a factor here. If someone's arm just broke then I doubt VR will numb that pain lol

 

But I recall something similar happening to a co-worker a few years back. He came to hang out at my place and tried VR for the first time. When I was setting him up in my Rift CV1, the first thing he said was that he slept wrong and had a neck pain. So he asked that I keep the experience "light." I put him in Spiderman, and he starting flinging a way, whipping his head every which way around without a notice of any pain. He immediately realized it after his VR sessions was over. 

 

Very fascinating how the mind works with this stuff.

Pixie40
Level 9

Of course one important thing to remember is you're merely delaying or ignoring the pain. And pain is there to warn you not to do something. So you might end up making things worse by using VR as a way to ignore the pain.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

Warbloke
Level 9

Fascinating.  Non VR related, but I nearly fell out the attic once.   I did hurt myself, and for a while I thought Id seriously damaged my sternum.  I felt a jagged pain when moving my left arm and stuff.

Went to the doctors, and to my surprise, he was quite blasé about it.  He checked me over and gave me some speech along the lines of, Im not as young as as used to be, it will take a while, as long as your heart and lungs are ok, thats what we care about, the rest should sort itself out after time.  He encouraged me to stretch my arms and move around more.  (Something id been avoiding doing)

Given his unconcerned attitude, I did move around and stretch more, and this pain Id be getting did seem to go quite quickly.

 

Been a while, but I remember how immersive VR is.  You forget whats going on in the real world, long enough to forget whats going on in the real world so, wait... nvm, so I think the distraction makes you move and stretch, and this can be good for many muscular related things.   

"You can't believe everything you read on the Internet " :- Abraham Lincoln 

Pixie40
Level 9

It can also be bad because it tricks you into not letting the muscles recover properly. My arms hurt now. And it's entirely because VR keeps distracting me from noticing I haven't quite recovered from my last Beat Saber session. Normally I'd do a 16 minute session in Beat Saber every other day. On days I'm not playing it, I walk laps around the building for 15 minutes or so. This gives my body a chance to recover between working each muscle group. This week though, well... I've played Beat Saber every day for the last six days (including today). And that's in addition to anything else I do in VR, plus doing laundry (which involves filling a bucket with water and carrying it into the bathroom to dump into my washing machine a total of 12 times per load).

 

If you're curious, my workout play list is $100, Breezer, Country Rounds, Escape, Be there For You, then capping it off with Natural by Imagine Dragons as a cooldown. I do each one on Normal difficulty.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

> So I'm gonna do a bit more research about everything I'll be able to use it for before spending that amount of money just to print a horror character for my son lol

 

First of all you need to print parts to build another 3D printer 😄

(or spare parts to own printer)

 

But next... btw. do you know that the sketchfab site has support for WebVR?

 

Anyway... what are the most useful things like home-goods?

I know only of 3D printing a .... bottle. 🙄

 (but it may leak...)


@Pixie40 wrote:

Of course one important thing to remember is you're merely delaying or ignoring the pain. And pain is there to warn you not to do something. So you might end up making things worse by using VR as a way to ignore the pain.


Yes, there needs to be some judgement here as well. But if it's just soreness and general fatigue, then pushing your limits is great. Athletes do this all the time. If I can continue a workout despite being sore, then that's a big win for the body. There are other ways to get rid of soreness faster, but they cost money! So using VR to do it is simply cost-effective.

 

I'm certainly not trying to give medical advice here. I'm referring to general aches and pains. And there's nothing wrong with trying to push beyond them. I mean hell... the only thing doctors do to remedy this is prescribe pain medication. Surely we can agree that VR is a better solution than taking pills.