Innovative Technology Using Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Pain: Does It Reduce Pain via Distraction, or Is There More to It?

These results demonstrate that in addition to distraction, there are novel mechanisms for Virtual reality treatment in pain, such as producing neurophysiologic changes related to conditioning and exposure therapies

Anita Gupta; Kevin Scott; Matthew Dukewich

2017

Scholarcy highlights

  • Virtual reality is a powerful technology, with just the name itself evoking infinite possibilities
  • These results demonstrate that in addition to distraction, there are novel mechanisms for VR treatment in pain, such as producing neurophysiologic changes related to conditioning and exposure therapies
  • We focus on studies that support, detract, or give evidence to mechanisms other than distraction by which VR leads to pain relief
  • The data was collected through a search of MEDLINE and Web of Science using the key words of “virtual reality” and “pain” or “distraction.” Specific articles were chosen based upon their ability to address factors that improve distraction with virtual reality or give insight into other mechanisms by which VR may interact with pain
  • The results showed significantly less procedural pain in the VR group vs the passive distraction group
  • The distraction created by VR was greater than with passive distraction, and this correlated with increased pain reduction
  • Many studies have looked at the ability of Virtual reality to elicit and reduce cravings in chronic alcohol and tobacco use disorder patients, reporting good results

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