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VR provides hope for patients with nerve injuries experiencing chronic pain

We all experience physical pain in a variety of ways, but people with nerve damage often have a dysfunctional pain control system, which makes them particularly prone to discomfort.

Currently, researchers are investigating that virtual reality (VR) can reduce the types of pain commonly found in patients with nerve injuries, and that VR enhances the dysfunctional pain control system and plays games for people with chronic pain. We have discovered that we can give hope that can change.

Dr. Sam Hughes, a psychology lecturer at the University of Plymouth, led a study focused on conditional pain regulation (CPM), a human pain-suppressing pathway.

He and a colleague at Imperial College London previously published a study showing that seeing a soothing 360-degree scene in the Arctic Circle in virtual reality can help relieve the same pain symptoms that one experiences during a sunburn. ..

Current studies have shown that VR can also reduce pain symptoms, such as tingling and post-touch pain, which are common in patients with nerve damage.

We went one step further and measured the direct impact of VR on CPM. Because CPM is dysfunctional in patients with nerve damage, knowing what can enhance its action can help scientists stimulate the body’s natural pain-suppressing process.

Research published in Pain journalShowd that a 360-degree Arctic scene in virtual reality affected CPM efficiency, while a 2D version of the same scene (called “fake VR”) reduced CPM efficiency.

These results show more evidence that virtual reality can not only reduce the perception of pain in human models of chronic pain, but also provide insight into the mechanisms behind this effect. What I saw is wonderful. Of course, the next step is to do research with people who are experiencing chronic pain and see if it works for them.

If it works, it may really help form part of the ongoing pain management by helping to target the brain dysfunction that underpins chronic pain. “

Dr. Sam Hughes, Lecturer, Psychology, University of Plymouth


Journal reference:

Mehesz, E. , et al. (2021) Exposure to an immersive virtual reality environment can regulate the perceptual correlation between intrinsic analgesia and central sensitization in healthy volunteers. Journal of pain.

VR provides hope for patients with nerve injuries experiencing chronic pain

Source link VR provides hope for patients with nerve injuries experiencing chronic pain

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