Brain Neurorehabil.  2014 Mar;7(1):30-38. 10.12786/bn.2014.7.1.30.

Upper Extremity Rehabilitation using Virtual Reality after Stroke

  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Keimyung University, Korea.
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Eulji Hospital, Eulji University School of Medicine, Korea.


There is limited evidence regarding the use of virtual reality (VR) and interactive video gaming for improving arm function because there are few such commercial devices and little relevant research. However, evidence of the greater effectiveness of upper extremity VR training over that of conventional therapy after stroke has recently grown due to the adoption of various therapeutic devices. VR applications are novel and potent technologies for upper extremity rehabilitation after stroke because the interface technologies, augmented reality technologies, and various sensorimotor feedback techniques are rapidly advancing. Going forward, VR technology should be designed to provide the possibility of intense functional repetitive practice for patients. The combination of VR with robotic devices, neuromodulation, mirror therapy, and telerehabilitation may synergistically improve upper extremity function after stroke. In severely injured patients, robotic interfaces should be considered, the level of difficulty should be fitted appropriately to the severity of the deficits, and the fact that it is difficult to train patients repeatedly and effectively in a real-world environment should be considered. Further research should be conducted on the application of VR programs in larger populations, VR involving various training paradigms, VR at different exercise levels, and the long-term sustained effects of VR. In addition, synergistically enhanced effects of combining other treatments and feedback paradigms with well-designed interfaces should be investigated.


virtual reality; rehabilitation; upper extremity; stroke
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