Virtual Reality Device to Help Chronic Pain Approved by FDA
By Andrew Parker - November 30, 2021

Chronic pain affects about 50 million adults living in the United States. Luckily, the FDA just approved a new device that can help those living with chronic pain on a day-to-day basis. The virtual reality headset, EaseVRx uses cognitive behavioral therapy which will help ease pain in adults. The virtual reality headset provides users with a treatment program, which includes 56 sessions that take place over a period of 8 weeks total. Beth Darnall, Ph.D. and the director of the Stanford Pain Relief Innovations Lab in California explained, “The inspiration behind the EaseVRx was to create a standardized, standalone, high quality behavioral intervention where people could acquire a critical skills set that has been shown through various different types of treatment modalities to both reduce pain and its impacts. But now they can receive it on demand in the comfort of their own home and in doing so, transcending so many barriers to effective pain care.”

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In a clinical study of the device, it was found that 66 percent of people who used EaseVRx experienced more than a 30 percent decrease in pain. Darnall said, “It’s not to say it will obviate the need for medication or other interventions, but it can nicely work alongside any other medical treatment that a physician or clinician will determine to be appropriate for any patient.” Lora L. Black, Ph.D., MPH, and a licensed psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Kansas Health System, explains that EaseVRx could be helpful in making access to treatment better. In a statement to Healthline, she said, “This appears to be a good use of technology to enhance self-regulatory techniques that have been shown to be helpful for chronic pain in multiple studies.”

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the psychological treatment that is beneficial in bettering one’s quality of life by making positive changes in the way one thinks, and it can also be used to change the ways in which people experience pain. Dr. Gene Tekmyster, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Keck Medicine of USC said, ”
Because pain changes your psychology, your stress levels, and actually changes your behaviors, not only do you have to change how people perceive the pain but also how it affects them and how they perceive it affects them.” Besides other treatments for chronic pain such as yoga, exercise, and acupuncture virtual reality is yet another option, which of course is home-based and on-demand care.