Virtual reality has become a cure for chronic pain
Virtual reality has become a cure for chronic pain

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved virtual reality technology to treat chronic back pain. This treatment called EaseVRx has been added to the agency's approved list of digital therapy candidates for the past several years.

EaseVRx includes a VR headset and a device that amplifies the user's breathing to facilitate breathing exercises.

EaseVRx uses the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy to help people identify and understand different patterns of thought and emotions.

In a statement, the US Food and Drug Administration said the plan addresses pain by relaxing, distracting and increasing awareness of internal cues.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved EaseVRx based on data from an eight-week study of 179 patients with low back pain lasting six months or longer.

Half used EaseVRx and the other half participated in another 2D virtual reality program that did not use the CBT method.

About two-thirds of participants who used EaseVRx said their pain was reduced by 30%, while only 41% of people in the other group felt similar relief.

Analgesia persisted for up to three months after examining subjects in the EaseVRx group. However, this does not apply to other groups.

The VR system could be an alternative to opioids to treat back pain, Christopher Loftus, acting director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Neuromedical and Physical Devices, said in a statement.

Studies have shown that psychological techniques can be effective in treating chronic pain in some people. Proponents point out that pain targeting these components does not mean the pain is any less realistic.

However, behavioral pain treatment is sometimes controversial. Efforts to make it part of standard care have raised concerns that it could be used as an excuse to stop people from taking the medications they need. an immersive virtual reality system

Developed by AppliedVR, EaseVRx is also testing its platform for treating fibromyalgia, burning or pain during childbirth.

About a month after the US Food and Drug Administration approved another virtual reality treatment for visually impaired children, the treatment for back pain has been approved.

The agency has also approved a prescription video game called EndeavorRx to treat ADHD in children ages 8 to 12.

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