Improving balance … what works better?

Real-world tasks or Virtual Reality games?


30 people with traumatic spinal cord injury were put into two groups to do training designed to improve balance. One group used virtual reality game-based training and the other used real-world task-specific training.


Balance training using virtual reality games

It turns out that virtual reality game-based training is significantly better in improving balance and functional performance.


While this study was with spinal cord injury participants, the findings may well be relevant to people with HSP.



Objective: To determine whether there is any difference between virtual reality game-based balance training and real-world task-specific balance training in improving sitting balance and functional performance in individuals with paraplegia.


Methods: The study was a pre-test – post-test experimental design. There were 30 participants (28 males, 2 females) with traumatic spinal cord injury randomly assigned to 2 groups (group A and B). The levels of spinal injury of the participants were between T6 and T12. The virtual reality game-based balance training and real-world task-specific balance training were used as interventions in groups A and B, respectively. The total duration of the intervention was 4 weeks, with a frequency of 5 times a week; each training session lasted 45 minutes. The outcome measures were modified Functional Reach Test (mFRT), t-shirt test, and the self-care component of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure-III (SCIM-III).


Results: There was a significant difference for time (p = .001) and Time × Group effect (p = .001) in mFRT scores, group effect (p = .05) in t-shirt test scores, and time effect (p = .001) in the self-care component of SCIM-III.


Conclusions: Virtual reality game-based training is better in improving balance and functional performance in individuals with paraplegia than real-world task-specific balance training.


SOURCE: Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2017 Summer;23(3):263-270. doi: 10.1310/sci16-00003. Epub 2017 May 4. PMID: 29339902 PMCID: PMC5562034 [Available on 2018-06-01]


Study on the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Game-Based Training on Balance and Functional Performance in Individuals with Paraplegia.


Khurana M1, Walia S1, Noohu MM2.

1 ISIC Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, New Delhi, India.

2 Centre for Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.


    1. Editor’s Note: Good question! I wonder if there is a community member out there prepared to do some googling and phone calling? Doctors, physios and exercise scientists in the rehab area are probably most likely to know if VR balance training games are available… and how well they work. If someone is up for this task, but wants some guidance or direction to get started, email us and we will do what we can to help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *