A virtual reality therapeutic program reduces pain intensity after six months compared to a sham app, According to a published study JMIR.
The study was sponsored by AppliedVR and its RelieVRx system, formerly known as EaseVRx, have been used to evaluate its long-term effectiveness for people with chronic low back pain (CLBP). This follows previous research that analyzed the submerged eight-week program, comparing it to a 2D sham experience immediately after treatment.
The researchers sent the survey to 188 participants one, two, three and six months before, after and after treatment. Six months after treatment, they found an average change in pain intensity of -31.3% in the VR group, compared to -15.9% in the Sham group. More than half of the VR groups met the threshold for moderate clinical significance, whereas 25% of the SHAM group met that level.
Meanwhile, 38% of RelivRX cohorts have achieved substantial clinical significance, whereas only 13.2% of the Shyam group did.
Studies have also shown that VR interventions improve pain-related interventions with activity, stress, and sleep. Although the differences between the two groups were statistically significant for physical function and sleep disturbances, they were not clinically significant.
“Collectively, the results support the 6-month analgesic efficacy of a fully automated, 8-week, home-based VR program for CLBP,” the study authors wrote.
“Recent meta-analyzes of VR point to a lack of high-quality efficacy studies for chronic pain other than physical rehabilitation programs. To our knowledge, our investigations into the enhanced effectiveness of VR involve the first home-based pain management. Physical rehabilitation.”
Why it matters
The researchers noted some limitations with the study, including low levels of depressive symptoms among participants and reliance on self-reported outcomes. Although the study was double-blind, most participants assumed they belonged to a group, suggesting that blindness did not work.
The sample included mostly white female participants with some college education, so it may not apply to people from other backgrounds. However, researchers examined whether socioeconomic status (SES) affected participants’ engagement.
“While our experiments on the effects of SES on user engagement may be subject to preliminary and selective bias, we have found equivalence between EaseVRx and lower and higher SES individuals. These data potentially refute the notion that a high-tech digital treatment, As with VR, low SES may be unlikely in individuals and suggests that digital therapeutics, such as EaseVRx, present an opportunity to reach CLBP patients in historically underdeveloped areas, “he wrote.
VR applied CLBP received FDA De Novo clearance in November to market its VR system for treatment. The company announced $ 36 million in Series B funding in November after raising $ 29 million in Series A before 2021.
Other companies are focusing on using virtual reality to manage chronic pain. In July, XRHealth Launched a program aimed at tackling pain management. Japanese medical device maker Jolly Good announced late last year that they plan to study using VR for chronic pain. It also offers VR courses for medical training.