Morphine’s long-term efficacy and safety remains contentious. In studies, it has reduced pain by between one and three points on the numeric pain rating scale, so while it certainly has its place, more effective, safe analgesic therapies are desperately needed. Hope might come from an unexpected place: virtual reality software.
The Studies Supporting VR for Chronic Pain
In March 2017, researchers at Cedars Sinai Medical Center studied the effects of calming virtual reality content on 50 pain patients. They reported a 24% drop in pain—equal to that of morphine. Two dimensional video and music brought a 13.2% improvement.
Psychologist, Hunter Hoffman, tried out a different virtual reality environment called Snow World on burn victims during and after wound care. Patients reported 60% to 75% less pain during their sessions and 30% to 50% less afterwards.
The Brain Hijack
Researcher Brennan Spiegel thinks that virtual reality works as an “immersive distraction” that “hijacks the senses.” It keeps the brain from processing pain, an effect that still needs to be tested over longer periods of time. Spiegel has already begun a larger trial, which will look into how virtual environments affect the length of hospital stays.
Pain is a strange and stubborn creature. To endure it, you must use all your personal resources. Patients must alter their perceptions of what they feel and find optimism at a time when it’s least available. Many treatments support this difficult task.
Chronic pain constantly occupies a place in your brain, which leads to depression and insomnia. PainStop Clinic understands your suffering and will support you with a range of therapies that replace risky opioid-based medications.