Virtual reality therapy for pain management

person wearing black vr box writing on white board
Photo by Eugene Capon on


Virtual reality therapy is a treatment that uses virtual reality technology to help people manage pain. The idea behind VR therapy is that it can help patients avoid or reduce their exposure to painful stimuli by immersing them in an alternate environment, which may be more pleasant or less painful than their physical surroundings.
Say’s Jasdeep Sidana, the benefits of VR therapy for pain management have been studied in several clinical trials over the past few years. These studies have shown that VR can be effective at reducing acute and chronic pain levels, as well as improving quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses like cancer or arthritis.

Types of VR Therapy

Virtual reality therapy is a type of treatment that uses virtual reality (VR) technology to help people with pain and other medical conditions. There are three main types of VR therapy:

  • Immersive virtual reality (IVR). This type of VR allows you to be fully immersed in an alternate world, where your surroundings look real and you can interact with them. Examples include games like “Minecraft” or “Superhot.”
  • Augmented reality (AR). With AR, you see elements overlaid on top of your real-world view that aren’t actually there–for example, if you’re playing the game “Pokémon Go,” it will show Pokémon characters appearing on top of trees or buildings as if they were really there.
  • Mixed reality (MR). MR combines elements from both IVR and AR; for example, if someone were playing an IVR game like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” while wearing glasses that have built-in cameras and projectors that display images onto their retinas so they can see them without having anything else in front of them

Benefits of VR Therapy for Pain Management

Virtual reality therapy for pain management is a new and exciting field of research. The benefits of VR therapy for pain management include:

  • Reduction in pain levels
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved physical health

Challenges of VR Therapy

While virtual reality therapy is still in its infancy, it has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against pain. Unfortunately, there are several challenges that stand between us and this future.
The first challenge is cost: VR headsets can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for something high-quality enough to use for medical purposes. If you don’t have access to one (or if your insurance won’t cover it), then it may not be worth pursuing this option at all.
The second challenge is accessibility: not everyone has an iPhone or Android phone with which they can download apps on their own time–and even if they do have smartphones, some people simply don’t know how or feel comfortable using them as part of their treatment plan (or both). As such, this method might not work well for those who aren’t tech savvy or who live far away from big cities where there are more resources available locally than elsewhere around the country/world/etcetera…
Finally comes research–or rather lack thereof! While some studies have been done on VR therapy’s effectiveness at treating chronic pain symptoms such as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), arthritis

Best Practices for VR Therapy

  • User experience:
  • Safety protocols:
  • Data security

Examples of VR Therapy for Pain Management

Virtual reality therapy for pain management is a relatively new field, but it’s growing fast. Here are some examples of VR therapies that have been used to help patients cope with chronic pain:

  • Chronic low back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Regulation of VR Therapy

  • Regulation of medical devices:
    The FDA regulates all medical devices, including VR headsets and accessories. If you’re planning to develop a new VR device for use in therapy, you’ll need to submit an application for premarket approval (PMA). The PMA process can be long and expensive–but it’s not impossible! In fact, we’ve already seen some promising results from early-stage studies involving VR therapy.
  • Regulation of clinical trials:
    Once you have your PMA approved, you’ll need to conduct clinical trials before bringing your product to market. These trials will help determine whether or not your product works as intended when used by patients with certain conditions or symptoms like chronic pain management problems associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Future of VR Therapy

The future of VR therapy is bright, with increased accessibility and personalized experiences.
The future of VR therapy is bright, with increased accessibility and personalized experiences. As technology advances, we’ll see more people using VR to manage their pain. It’s also likely that there will be a shift toward using virtual reality in addition to traditional treatments like medication or surgery–not instead of them. This would allow patients to receive personalized care based on their specific needs and preferences rather than relying on one-size-fits-all approaches that may not work for everyone equally well (or at all).

Ethical Concerns of VR Therapy

The use of virtual reality therapy for pain management raises ethical concerns. One of the most important considerations is data privacy, which can be compromised if virtual reality technology is used without adequate safeguards in place. For example, some VR applications allow users to create avatars that represent themselves or other people in their lives; these avatars can then interact with each other within the virtual space created by the application (e.g., playing games together). However, if this information were leaked out into the public domain (either intentionally or accidentally), it could have serious consequences for those involved in such interactions–especially if they were minors at the time of creation!
Another concern related to data privacy involves autonomy/responsibility: How much control should patients have over their own treatment plans? Should doctors be able to override patient preferences if those preferences don’t align with what’s medically recommended? If so then how much say should doctors have over which treatments patients receive? And finally how much do we trust ourselves when making decisions about our own health care needs versus trusting others who may know better than ourselves but still lack our unique perspective?


Virtual reality therapy is a promising new treatment for chronic pain. It’s not just a matter of relieving the symptoms, but can also help patients develop coping mechanisms and reduce the need for medication.
VR Therapy has been shown to be effective in treating phantom limb pain, which occurs when an amputated limb is still perceived as present by the brain. Patients who underwent VR therapy reported less intense pain than those who did not receive it.
Phantom limb pain can be caused by nerve damage or injury during surgery or trauma; it affects about 70% of amputees with an average onset time between 18 months and 5 years after amputation surgery (1). In addition to its psychological effects on patients’ quality of life, phantom limb syndrome can lead to increased risk of depression due to feelings of sadness over losing their body part(s) (2).

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